Encaustic Wax Paintings. Actually, these are layered mixtures of colored wax and oil paint. Encaustic wax is one of the oldest artistic mediums ever used, dating back at least as far as 5th century ancient Greece. The "encaustic" part of the name comes from the fact that the pigments in the wax are "burned in" as the wax is heated. You can get remarkably soft, continuous tones by applying general heat, or you can get contrast and texture by manipulating the wax with small, hot irons that were developed specifically for this purpose. I've experimented with wax paintings on canvas, wood and paper, and found that thick, absorbent paper gives the result I like best. I'm still experimenting . . .