German artist Brigitte von Ahn came to the United States in 1990. Together with her husband, journalist and retired news anchor Gary Warner, she has made El Paso, Texas, her home since then. Brigitte and her husband own the Encaustic International Art Studio & Gallery
The museum has very limited hours, but special tours and showings can be arranged by calling the gallery in advance.
She has found the harsh desert landscape with all its surprising colors and elements is the main inspiration for her abstractions. Additionally fantasy guides her to paint thoughts and impressions. In 1997 a German friend introduced her to the encaustic medium. This ancient medium is known to be first used by the Greeks and Egyptians, and it is painting with bees wax.
Brigitte von Ahn is continuously exploring new ways how to make this flowing medium work for her. Her painting surfaces are different papers, canvas and include collages with oriental and handmade papers.
gallery specializes in encaustic artwork and shows the works of international
and local artists. Artists currently on display include Sally Avant, Gaetane
Dion, Jan Wisbrun Dreher, Jon Escandon, Ju-yi Fu, Monika Romer, Patricia
Siegelman, Joyce V. Stine, Eugene Thurston and Lori Wertz.
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, but there are several other recipes that can be
used—some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other
ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be used, though some mixtures use oil
paints or other forms of pigment.
Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it
cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has
cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other
methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have
to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder,
encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased
or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to stick
them to the surface.
For the artists that have re-discovered this art form, experimentation and
adaptation to new tools, nee media, has made for some very clever and
innovative advances. One should seriously consider a visit to this gallery,
because this is the cutting edge of the art form. The owner and primary artist
also has another gallery in Canada, so the art form is on the rise. For more information
on the art, artists, and are form, don’t hesitate to contact the gallery to schedule
a visit and to speak with the artist herself.
With all the variety in which art can be found, finding such a unique
opportunity in El Paso is a find indeed!