Waxing Poetic unveiled at Shatford

A variety of innovative wax works will be on display as part of an upcoming art show opening Sept. 25 at the Shatford Centre.

Encaustic artists Judy Byers

A variety of innovative wax works will be on display as part of an upcoming art show opening Sept. 25 at the Shatford Centre.

Waxing Poetic: Encaustic Art in the Okanagan is happening in co-operation with CanwaxWest, and features artists from throughout the area.

Local encaustic artists Judy Byer and Bethany Handfield said the event brings together encaustic creations that will represent the variety of what can be created by melting wax onto a canvas.

“The Okanagan is so lucky to have so many artist working in encaustic,” said Handfield, adding the show also provides a social element for artists and will allow them to share their skills and experiences about working with wax with others.

Byers talked about the unique characteristics of encaustic painting.

“I like the luminosity of wax,” she said. “You can get this enormous depth of colour.”

Both Handfield and Byers only began encaustic artwork a couple of years ago learning from Thea Haubrich, who died in 2013. Haubrich was first introduced to encaustic style in 1996, and when she and her husband moved to Penticton, she began holding workshops and teaching others.

Handfield said no one had heard of encaustic art before Haubrich introduced it and began promoting its uniqueness and versatility.

“Without Thea and her influence, it would not have happened the way it did,” said Byers.

“We’re definitely carrying forward the flame she ignited,” said Haubrich.

Both enjoy the supportive nature of encaustic painting, making reference to an “encaustic art circle” which allows painters to get together and share their ideas and techniques to help improve one another’s work. They also noted that compared to painting in oil or watercolour, encaustic has a faster learning curve.

Handfield and Byers were both painters before they began working with encaustic under Haubrich’s tutelage.

Byers has used photos she’s taken and included them in her paintings while Handfield has used a variety of “found items” such as keys, springs, fabric and old computer paper and incorporated them into her works.

“With encaustic art, you can bring whatever your style or practice is to your work,” said Handfield.

The event kicks off at the Shatford Centre at 6 p.m. It is followed by a talk with guest artist Shary Bartlett at 7 p.m.

A second artist talk with Tracy Proctor also happens at the Shatford on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.

Works will also be on display at the Shatford Centre, in Penticton city council chambers, Leir House and at Dogtown Coffee Co. in Okanagan Falls.

On Oct. 23 the winners will be recognized during the CanwaxWest Encaustic Arts awards presentation at the Shatford Centre starting at 7 p.m.