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Andrea Lyle will demonstrate encaustic techniques at Art in the Garden

Andrea Lyle, longtime Pagosa Springs resident, published author and artist, will be one of the participating artists at Art in the Garden on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Lyle has attended the event in the past, and is excited about being more than just an enthusiastic observer this year.

She will be exhibiting and demonstrating “encaustic art,” an art form she discovered only a year ago.

Encaustic is an ancient art form dating back to Greco-Roman Egypt where it was widely used to painting mummy portraits from the first century BC through the second century AD. The word encaustic is derived from the Greek word “encaustikos” which means “to burn in.” In this art form Lyle uses hot, pigmented beeswax to create beautiful luminescent works of art. Encaustic art can last for thousands of years without losing its brilliance and color as long as it is kept away from extreme temperatures.

Andrea is a nurse by profession, an artist by passion. She took art classes in high school, then taught herself oil painting at age 19. She happened upon an encaustic art piece at a show in Madrid, N.M., just last year and was stunned by the art form with its multiple layers and translucence. She immediately went online to learn more about this form, bought a little kit, and watched videos. These outlets led her to workshops in an art studio outside Santa Fe.

She has since exhibited at the juried Fine Arts Festival in Farmington (February, 2011) , and in an encaustic juried art show in Tubac, Ariz., (March-May, 2011). She is also a member of the Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe where she has participated in shows.

As a base or “ground” for her art, she generally uses plywood. Then her creativeness begins. She uses a little oil paint, with a lot of “application, wiping and rubbing.” From here the opportunities are endless. In addition to applications of hot beeswax, she incorporates embellishments such as copper wire, Japanese papers, rice papers, horsehair, and other natural fibers. She envisions more three-dimensional pieces that may involve carving, collages and embedded photographs.

Certain traditional art elements such as light and color are necessary in this art form. Andrea uses oils for meticulous details, and then her creativity begins and her pieces become personal. She is stifled by preconceived ideas. She goes into her work each day with no set expectations. She is driven by her own emotional state and energies. The colors she chooses and the textures she selects begin to come together. She is excited about this medium because it is so personal.

Just a photo of an encaustic art cannot begin to do it justice. To see Andrea at work and to fully appreciate her art, plan to attend Art in the Garden from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20. This year’s event, “Memories of the Old West” will take place in Chris Mountain Estates, just west of Pagosa Blvd. off U.S. 160. Tickets ($40 each) are now available at Nello’s, at The Chamber of Commerce, and online at

Your admission ticket will provide you with an opportunity to visit personally with all the artists and to view and purchase their work. You will be entertained by a different musical group every half hour. There will be gourmet appetizers, roasted cabrito, brisket, and cobblers in the style of the old West. This year, a home tour featuring early western American family antiques will be included as well. As always, proceeds from this event will benefit the local Community Assistance Fund.

If you have questions, contact Creative Outreach Charitable Organization at

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