Damar is a hard natural resin that comes from a family of deciduous trees that grow in the East Indies. Damar crystals are yellow and irregularly shaped with a dusty appearance. How to Dissolve Damar Crystals
Damar can be used in oil paint mediums to speed drying and add gloss. While traditionally used as a final picture varnish, it will yellow over time and become brittle and difficult to remove, so is less favored by conservators for these reasons. Damar varnish is also available in a solution ready to dilute. Learn more about using Damar in your oil painting medium from Canadian artist David Langevin
Damar is recommended to be used for hardening Beeswax (makes it more resistant to marring) and raising it’s melting temperature when used in Encaustic applications (painting with melted wax). Damar in combination with beeswax also produces a wax paint with a higher index of refraction. This is what causes Encaustic colors to appear so luminous.
To make your own Encaustic medium the Damar must be melted with the Beeswax and strained to remove any impurities. A common mix is 5-8 parts beeswax to 1 part Damar; experiment a little because every artist has their preference. Then this medium can be mixed with dry pigments to make your own Encaustic paints or used to thin ready made Encaustic wax paints. Heat below smoking temperature. Use in well ventilated area.