By Bob Groeneveld/Langley Advance Times
“Painting” with wax gave Nancy Crawford a way to combine all of her favourite artistic expressions together.
The internationally acclaimed artist and school teacher had worked in a variety of media.
It was about eight years before she died last September, said her husband Konrad Breuers, that she started developing her encaustic art, painting with molten wax and embedding other media in it.
“She was able to use everything she had done before and bring it together,” Breuers said.
She also combined the life of an artist with her life as a teacher, Breuers explained. She taught in Langley for 30 years, 24 of them at Langley Fine Arts School.
“Nancy constantly reinvented herself as an artist moving from painting and drawing to photography, collage and textile art, then finally bringing it all together in her encaustic painting,” he wrote for about his late wife for a presentation at a recent TEDX event.
She was also a “committed teacher,” he noted, referring to both her career at LFAS and the workshops she presented both locally and abroad, in Spain, France, the United States, and Australia.
It was after a workshop in Australia that Crawford started having “stroke-like” symptoms, said Breuers.
She died of brain cancer last Sept. 7, at the age of 53.
“It just came out of nowhere,” he said.
As Crawford’s 50th birthday approached, said Breuer, she felt she wanted to “give back to the people that had been most influential in her life.”
The result was her “With Love and Gratitude” project, he explained.
She created 100 small encaustic works and sent two each to 50 people, asking them to “keep one and place the other in a random location for a stranger to find.”
Each piece was labelled with a Facebook URL to connect everyone.
“The pieces ended up all over the world,” said Breuers, “and it was gratifying to hear back from many recipients.”
Now Breuers is using Crawford’s work to continue her giving.
He has been selling a number of her pieces to build a scholarship fund in her name, to provide post secondary stipends for students selected by senior visual arts teachers at LFAS.
Crawford’s encaustic work will be on display at the Fort Gallery, 9048 Glover Rd., from May 1t to May 26. There will be an opening reception on May 3 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Profits from sales of Crawford’s work will go toward the Nancy Crawford Memorial Scholarship fund to benefit an exceptional graduate of the visual art program at the Langley Fine Arts School.
Her sister Cindy Wilkers (also an artist who works in encaustic) will give an artist talk on Crawford’s work on May 23, from 7 tp 9 p.m., and there will be a closing reception in conjunction with the gallery’s 4th Friday art events on May 24.
Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.