Encaustic art makes a Connexion

Encaustic artist Louise Ducharme has her first showing at Studio Connexion in Nakusp

If you were to stop by Studio Connexion today, you’d see something quite different on the gallery walls: artwork made from beeswax, otherwise known as encaustics.


The art form, which was practised by Greek artists as far back as the fifth century BC, is also practised by New Denver artist Louise Ducharme.


She discovered the art form when searching for ideas when she taught art for grades 8-12.


“I like this medium because it’s exploratory and it’s playful, you don’t know what’s going to happen, so you’re making decisions as you go along about what it’s going to look like,” she said. “At the beginning, the only decision I could really make was my knowledge of colour theory. If I had the right colours, whatever would happen would at least look somewhat good because of colour theory.”


The showing marks the first time Studio Connexion has had a gallery of encaustic works.


“Every year I look for new artists and I like to present something new at the gallery, because otherwise you just have the same old thing over and over and over,” said curator Anne Beliveau.


All the pieces in the gallery were created specifically for the show.


“She produced a lot of material. She came in with all her material last Tuesday, and had a lot of different pieces,” said Beliveau.


“Some were a little less abstract than others and we decided which ones were going to stay in the show. Then you lay out how the show should look, and you have to link it together and it has to flow well.”


When creating encaustic art, you always work on wood because you don’t want the wax to bend or crack. The wax can also be a little tricky to work with.


“I have little pots of melted wax on a hot plate. I will take a brush of natural hairs, and I’ll put it onto my board, but as soon as it hits the board, it gets hard,” said Ducharme.


“Every time I want to add another cool or another layer I have to fuse it with a hot air gun or a propane torch so it all melts again.”


From the Melting Pot will be at Studio Connexion until Oct. 10.

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