Exhibit of encaustic art opens Sunday in Worthington
WORTHINGTON — Featured for the month of July at the Nobles County Art Center is the artwork of Sharon Sadusky, a farm wife, mother and grandmother who resides in Jackson.
Sadusky’s encaustic art gallery unveils on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., and will be displayed through July.
Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface — usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax.
“I’ve been doing encaustic for about two and a half years and all the pieces in my gallery have been done during that time,” Sadusky said.
Sadusky explained the process she does in creating all of her pieces.
“I order the beeswax by the pound and I color it with oil color paint, and it’s kept at about 275 degrees on a griddle,” Sadusky explained. “You keep it in the liquid form at that temperature, but when you dip your brush in and go to the hardboard panels, it’s setting up immediately.
“I use a heat gun to melt the surface, and in my process my first step is to lay down the wax, melt it completely smooth and let the colors move and go together,” she added. “Then I build on top of that, so you work in layers.”
Sadusky was inspired to try her hand at encaustic paintings from a trip to Egypt.
“When I went to Egypt, I saw these death masks that were from the fourth to the sixth century,” she explained. “They all looked the same, but I heard they were all created in likeness to whomever died. I was just amazed that they were 2,000 years old and still had so much color, and I would think of wax as being very fragile, but it really isn’t.”
Sadusky said one of her pieces featured in the gallery, in which she created a painting of a Viking, was her first attempt at portrait work.
“It’s very hard to do portrait work because you have to melt everything and it flows together, which makes it hard to hold the line,” Sadusky said. “So that was my one and only attempt at portrait work.”
When she heats her wax, Sadusky described, it lends toward the abstract type of art, rather than realism.
“You can achieve some resemblance of realism,” she said. “For example, I have a few pieces that are paintings of flowers, and you can tell the different types of flowers that are in there.”
Sadusky said the results of encaustic paintings are only limited by what thoughts and ideas pop into the artist’s head.
“I find the medium fascinating and tend to work in layers until I feel the piece is finished,” she said. “The surface can be altered in many ways. Texture and objects can also be added for a personal touch.”
While encaustic paintings has been her choice of art for nearly three years, Sadusky has experience in various mediums of art. She ran a ceramics shop out of her home on the farm located south of Jackson for 25 years.
“Being a farm wife was my main job, but I liked running the shop so I could be home when the kids were back from school,” she said. “But I had a brush in my hand those 25 years.”
Sadusky explained that she poured her own molds for the ceramics, but developed rheumatoid arthritis. That prompted her to try different mediums of art.
“The molds were so heavy and when I was diagnosed with arthritis, I couldn’t pour the molds anymore,” she said. “After that is when I moved toward the fine arts.”
Since then, Sadusky has taken classes at Minnesota West Community and Technical College’s Worthington campus and participated in many offerings and workshops around the state.
“I have favorite mediums for different types of art,” she said. “If I’m going to paint flowers, I tend to pick water colors. If I’m going to do landscapes, I generally will do acrylic.”
While she has enjoyed doing encaustics, Sadusky is ready to move on.
“I think I’d like to get back to doing landscapes,” she said. “I may come back to encaustics later on, though.”
Sadusky’s gallery will open at the Nobles County Art Center from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and will be on display throughout the whole month of July from 2 to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, contact the Nobles County Art Center at 372-8245.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.