Encaustic is an ancient form of painting, first used by the Greeks around 1 AD to coat the hulls of ships. Once it was discovered pigment could be added to the encaustic, the medium was used to create portraits. Encaustic is a mixture of beeswax, resin and pigment. Heat is used to melt the mixture, and the artist works in layers. Each layer is fused into the previous layer with heat. (Encaustic comes from the Greek word “enkaustikos” which means “to burn.”) The melting temperature of the paint is 150 degrees, so an encaustic painting should not be hung in a window that receives direct sunlight, or left in a hot car in the summer months. If the surface of the painting becomes cloudy, it can be buffed with a soft cloth or a nylon to bring back the lustrous sheen. Extreme cold can also cause the painting to crack, so it is best to avoid extreme temperatures. It is, however, a long-lasting form of painting, as evidenced by the Fayoum portraits, which were created between the 1st and the 3rd centuries AD and still survive to this day.