Encaustic Open Studio Workshop to take place Saturday

Audrey Dwyer
Steamboat Springs Arts Council executive director, Kim Keith made an Encaustic painting with friends to demonstrate how this form of art is truly for anyone.
Courtesy Photo

— When the encaustic exhibit at the Depot Art Center was first hung, it was met with many questions from viewers.

“About 90 people walked in the door and said they had no idea what this medium was,” said Kim Keith, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. “It became clear that we needed a workshop that would offer an easy explanation.”

The Pointillism with Wax Open Studio Workshop became the answer. This workshop, taught by Keith and Sue Oehme, owner of Oehme Graphics, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center.

Open to all ages, participants will be guided through the process using melted wax on their individual boards. All supplies for the project will be provided, and the cost for nonmembers is $25 and $10 for members.

In short, Keith said the simple method to create encaustic work is done with beeswax sticks or “fancy crayons.”

This particular paint consists of finely ground pigments suspended in a medium of beeswax. Heat is used to keep the wax molten during the application and to fuse various layers of paint together. As a result, a hard shell of color and expression is created.

To look at an encaustic painting is to experience the sensation of light suspended on a 3-D surface, Keith said while referring to the nationally juried exhibition currently on display at the Depot.

“It has all the highlights of a great painting,” Keith said. “It’s vivid in color and texture and that luminosity created from the sheen of all the pigments together adds something so unique to it.”

The workshop is in correlation to three components each exhibition consists of throughout the month it is on display.

The first is the First Friday Artwalk reception when the exhibit is introduced to the community. Second, the Art Talk that takes place on a Tuesday afternoon with a happy hour type atmosphere, giving the artists an opportunity to speak about their work in a more relaxed setting. And lasty, an educational event that includes a demonstration, workshop or presentation — similar to the one that will take place this weekend.

“I have a real love to see people inspired from creating art and to see them explore new techniques,” Keith said.

After the encaustic exhibition, the Depot will host “Pallets: A taste for the arts” throughout February. This exhibit will engage the five senses simultaneously through various forms of art. The Steamboat Springs Arts Council invites local artists working in all medium to submit a piece. The deadline is Saturday.

The month of March will highlight agriculture with the help of the Community Agriculture Alliance. In April, it will be time for the annual show featuring Routt County youth art. The exhibit will include a wide variety of work created by students from all 13 schools within Routt County.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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