Nanaimo artist Nixie Barton has gone from encaustic to acrylic for her upcoming exhibition at TOSH, which starts August 8. — Courtesy Nixie Barton

Qualicum Beach art exhibit: Scraping acrylic in the summer heat

Encaustic artist goes to paint for upcoming TOSH exhibition

Nanaimo-based encaustic artist Nixie Barton has made a return to acrylics for her upcoming exhibition at TOSH this month.

Barton, partner to Grant Leier and friend of Tammy Hudgeon who will all be showing new work at TOSH from Aug. 8 to Sept. 2, said it was the weather that pushed her back into acrylics for this latest show.

“I love encaustic. I love it, love it, love it,” she said of the medium that uses pigments in hot wax fixed on with heat. “But it was too stinking hot for me to do it for this show.”

Barton got her start in acrylics years ago, using moulding paste to create upraised work and then thin glazes of paint to stain the work.

“Then I thought, ‘Wow, this looks like encaustic to me.’”

After she and a girlfriend took an encaustic class in Duncan, Barton was hooked, creating layered still-life work featuring bright and dark colours, and strong design elements.

Working in acrylics for this show, she’s found ways to create much of that same style with the different medium.

Part of her work is scraping and gouging wax to create different textures and reveal layers.

She’s done that same thing with her new acrylic work, painting on wood and using thin paint so it can be sanded and scrubbed off. This recreates a burnt feel, which is created in encaustic work via torching each layer of wax.

She’s also using stamps and other techniques in her new acrylic work, which will feature landscape and still life work.

Barton will be showing 12 pieces in total.

Though Barton admitted to struggling a bit with this return to acrylic, she said she’s happy with her new work.

“I am very excited, because I think they’re kind of cool,” she said, adding that perhaps it could inspire others to try an encaustic style using acrylics as well.

Barton’s work can be seen at TOSH from Aug. 8 to Sept. 2, with an opening reception taking place Wednesday, August 9 starting at 2 p.m.

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