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From Teacher to Painter

Retired school teacher Peg Lee Bachenheimer ’66 turns her love of painting into a joyful second career

by Jane Falla

Peg Bachenheimer

Peg Lee Bachenheimer ’66’s mixed media and encaustic paintings offer such inviting and reflective titles as Warm Glow at the End of the Day and Walk in the Winter Woods. The encaustic technique involves heating beeswax, sometimes mixed with pigment, and applying it to a surface, such as a wood panel. Bachenheimer explains, “It’s possible to scrape and incise the wax, as well as to collage materials into it, and to paint on it with oil paints. Layers are built up and fused, scraped back, and incised and built up again.” She says the technique, which dates back to ancient Greece, “has a mystery, a luminosity, and an organic quality that give the final pieces a spiritual feeling.”

Here Bachenheimer shares more about her artwork.

Becoming an artist
I began painting toward the end of my career as a public school second-grade teacher and mom of two children and two stepchildren. I took all the classes I could at our local arts center and went to the Penland School of Crafts during the summers to learn more.

Why encaustic?
I first saw this medium when I visited my daughter, Celia, at Penland, where she was a student. I was immediately drawn to it. The luminescent quality of the beeswax and the unanticipated effects that are a part of the encaustic painting process intrigued me. The more I work in this medium, the more I discover about it.

Out in the world
I will be in an exhibition at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, in September 2012. I am also represented by two galleries:  the FRANK Gallery in Chapel Hill, NC, an artists’ collective; and the Craven Allen Gallery in Durham, NC.

Pursuing her passion
When I retired, we built a studio onto our house, and I have been painting daily ever since. I love my second career.

Jane Falla is an assistant editor in College Relations.