Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used—some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be purchased and used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment. Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface.
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As with many construction jobs, those who successfully complete apprenticeships best-position themselves for successful painting careers. For painters, apprenticeships can last up to four years. Apprentices must have a high school diploma or its equivalent before they are eligible to complete the requisite 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training. Common lessons include aesthetics, such as how to adequately match colors, as well as using and caring for painting tools and equipment, safety practices, application techniques and wood finishing. Prospective painters may also choose to attend two-year technical schools that offer courses linked to union and contractor organization apprenticeships. Credits gained from apprenticeships typically count toward an associate degree.
Painters take care of the outside of buildings, city infrastructure and any kind of new architecture development. The handiwork of painters surrounds us at every turn. Ron Yarbrough, founder and president of Pro-Spec Painting Inc., says the painting profession's focus areas are endless – there's something for everyone. "I think there are tremendous opportunities for those that want to enter the painting trade. And I think that [the field] has so many different segments to it – all the way from infrastructure to new construction of commercial buildings and many types of decorative art and restoration." The will and patience to do the work is all it takes to succeed, he adds. "People who are really committed to learning the trade can do well at it. If they set their goals high, they can make a really good living at it." Painters commonly work for building finishing contractors or in the residential building construction industry. Unlike carpenters, painters typically don't build frameworks and structures; they apply paint, stain and coatings to them.
Water miscible oil paints (also called "water soluble" or "water-mixable") is a modern variety of oil paint engineered to be thinned and cleaned up with water, rather than having to use chemicals such as turpentine. It can be mixed and applied using the same techniques as traditional oil-based paint, but while still wet it can be effectively removed from brushes, palettes, and rags with ordinary soap and water. Its water solubility comes from the use of an oil medium in which one end of the molecule has been altered to bind loosely to water molecules, as in a solution.
"Having prior painting experience, I decided to enter the union. The job security and stability as well as the potential for advancement that the union atmosphere provided were things that I looked for when choosing a career. Throughout my apprenticeship experience, I have worked with highly competent and approachable instructors who have provided me with the tools necessary to become a successful painter."