Arts & Entertainment

Hot wax painting featured this month at CBC exhibit

An ancient art called encaustic painting will debut this month at the Fred Esvelt Gallery at Columbia Basin College.

The art form, also known as hot wax painting, involves the use of heated beeswax with pigment added for color.

Western Washington artists Susan Narjarian and Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch are the creators of about 37 abstract works of encaustic paintings that will be in the show.

"Encaustic literally means 'to burn into,' " Seggebruch said. "In practice, it is painting with melted beeswax. I heat my wax in tins on a pancake griddle and paint with this hot paint."

Though some artists prefer to mix their colors directly on a hot palette and paint as if they're using a cold palette with oils or watercolor, Seggebruch prefers the hot paint.

"Because I am an abstract painter, this procedure works best for me," she added. "This is an ancient art form dating back to Trojan War days."

Seggebruch, a graduate of the University of Colorado, also teaches the encaustic technique and has written two books on it.

Narjarian, who holds a graphic design degree from California State University in Chico, incorporates photography when creating encaustic paintings. The photos are digitally manipulated and then transferred to a wood frame covered in encaustic wax.

As she explains on her website, the layers of wax suspend the photograph, altering the appearance to produce an ethereal, sometimes romantic, feeling of the medium.

The show opens Jan. 10 and runs through Feb. 3. There will be no artist reception. Gallery hours are from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays. Admission is free.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;