If you’ve been meaning to buy your own encaustic wax equipment, but just not got around to it yet, this post is to let you know that most encaustic wax supplies are increasing, by around 20%...
A combination of reasons…
Arts Encaustic waxes are going through a rebranding exercise at the moment, as I understand, exactly the same products, but with a different box. Prices will be going up as a result of that rebrand, plus they are affected by increased import costs, but want to do one price increase, not two.
I can still buy the old stock at the same price, but only until stocks run out, so, if you’ve been thinking to get started with wax, I would recommend starting soon before the prices go up….!
R&F supplies have already gone up as a result of lower exchange rates and increased import costs since the Brexit announcement, so any new stock I buy in will be charged at the new prices…
HOWEVER, I still have a lot of materials here at the old pricing, so if you’ve just not got around to buying, now is your best time…!
Here is a list of encaustic products available to buy from me, and their prices today…. Simply e-mail your order through to me, or call, and we can talk it through on the phone if you want advice. I will send you an invoice with payment details on, and arrange shipment to you.
As an added incentive to help you get started, keeping with the 20% theme, I am offering a 20% discount on my online course ‘Painting with an Iron’, everything I teach in my four session workshop, but learn from the comfort of your own home, but only for the month of June, after that, it will go back up to full price. Enter JUNE-2017 into the coupon box, and ensure the discount is applied before paying.
(I am getting my new studio and tech sorted out slowly but surely, so will be back with updated video tutorials, painting with a stylus and beginners guide to R&F Encaustic Wax very soon.)
To buy, e-mail me your wax order to: firstname.lastname@example.org and click here for the 20% online course offer.
Did you know the origins of encaustic wax painting goes back to Egyptian Mummy Portraiture and Iconography, around 2,000 years ago...? (A couple of examples below)
I’ve always worked with wax in a pretty abstract way until now.
I had seen a few photographs of modern encaustic portraiture... one in particular by Lora Murphy that stopped me in my tracks... But, it was still a bit of a mystery as to how to create it myself.
To be honest, I’d never really tried, it was there as a 'thing to find out'… but as encaustic wax artists are pretty few and far between in the UK, it never moved too high up my to do list, and hours of experimental practice over the two or three years I’d been wanting to do it, never seemed to happen….
Imagine my delight earlier this year, when I saw that Lora Murphy was running an encaustic wax portraiture course in LONDON….!
It was the first one of it’s kind in the UK that I had been aware of.
I excitedly booked myself on, and waited for the course to come around.
Seven full days of encaustic wax portraiture. It was A LOT! The concentration left me whacked at times, and more than once I got back to my hotel room at six o clock, sat on the bed, only to wake up three hours later!
There were seven of us on the course, and I expected everyone to be fairly local… Nope… We were a real International bunch; only two of us from the UK, the others had travelled from Hungary, Ireland, Germany, Finland, and Eva from the Czech Republic… who did not speak a word of English, so brought her son to translate…!
It was amazing to spend that dedicated time creating, without all the other usual distractions… There was some outstanding talent there, (some of the others having already attended other classes of Lora's in other countries) and under Lora’s guidance, we created many individual pieces.
Days one and two were all a bit of a mystery to me… It was kind of coming together-ish in places, but not quite, and I really couldn’t see how the finished pieces would work… Lora promised it would all make sense soon…. with a deep furrowed brow, and a puzzled look on my face, I carried on, determined to work out the process.
I finished my first lady, who was looking a bit dark and scary in places, but it was an interesting process, and I was slowly beginning to understand.
I started drawing out my next portrait ready for day three, and went back to the hotel making a bit more sense of it all.
Day three’s portrait almost fell out onto the canvas… It was one of those moments where it all slotted into place… I found myself singing and humming to myself... happy as a sand-boy… (I apologise again to everyone there for my tuneless notes from day three onwards, I really couldn't help it...!)
Day four was the same… It all just clicked…
I went back to the hotel that night, then took myself out for a long walk. I needed some quiet processing time.
On my travels, I came across a perfect, quiet, wine bar, and took myself in for a sit down... Whilst sitting there reflecting, it dawned on me that these wax portraits were like a missing piece of a giant puzzle. It was all slotting into place.
I had seen, and dreamt, about those elusive skin tones created in encaustic wax...
I used to copy faces from magazines when I was a teenager, (some of my pictures from the 80's below!) I would spend hours up in my room, happily drawing away. I hadn’t done it in years.
Suddenly all of those pencil drawings, and all of the encaustic wax abstract work I’d created... learning, and understanding the different application techniques... all made sense. I'd just never known how to marry the two.
It was quite a moment....
I raised a rather lovely glass of rose blush to myself and grinned like somebody who had just won the lottery...!
Thankfully one of the other girls joined me at this point, which made me look slightly less like a mad woman out on day release...!
The rest of the week turned into a blur, we used cold wax techniques, and different methods of making mediums, colours and media.
The week ended with a lovely lunch, some pink champagne to round the afternoon off, and lots of fond farewells. I'm sure we will all stay in touch.
My hubby very kindly came and picked me up, so I didn’t have to battle with my cases and newly painted art works on the hour and a half train and tube journey back across London. It was a beautiful warm, sunny April day. Just perfect. I smiled and sang all the way home.
(I left with a half finished painting, which I haven’t got back to since getting home… Never underestimate booking that creative time out!)
Special thanks to Lora and the other attendees for helping me to fill in those missing blanks.
I will be updating my next blog with more about the location, and what I got up to when I skipped class for a morning soon!
If you want to view these new portraits, I will be exhibiting these, and more during Bucks Open Studios, Thursday 15th - Monday 19th June 2017. 12noon-5pm daily. St John's Church, London Road, Bourne End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP1 2RU. Or contact me for more info.
The past few months have been turbulent to say the least… I've at times felt like I was in a washing machine on fast spin...!
Moving out of my studio at the end of March was a difficult decision, but I was unable to take advance bookings not knowing if the studio would be available for workshops, and marketing of open days etc. so my best decision was to leave.
I will always be very fond of my time there...
As it's always good to reflect on where you've been, I've added a few photographs of my time at the Stables Studios... I've enjoyed the trip down memory lane....
You can read a blog about when these pictures were taken, written on my two year anniversary, moving in day was quite an adventure in itself....
Luckily, we have recently been building an extension and loft conversion, so I have taken over what was to be a bit of a chill out room as a temporary studio space whilst I consider my next options.
Although we have this new space to move into, much of the building work is still not finished, so my equipment is all packed away, under dust sheets, which makes it interesting when doing demos and workshops, having to locate all of the items that I would normally just be able to put my hands on… But, everything is there, so do continue to get in touch for supplies and equipment.
I have a temporary little room I am currently painting in, on a fold up picnic table, so I haven't stopped painting, but as you can imagine, I can't wait to get this all sorted out very soon, as it's a bit cramped compared to what I'd been used to...!
So, this is where I'm currently at....
I have lots of ideas bubbling away in my head on my next steps, but my plan for now, is just to finish, and complete, many of the jobs that have been on my to do list for far too long…
New online courses, click and pay online, development of the Arty Heaven website and so on… oh and a new kitchen would be pretty handy too.............
Then and only then will I properly start scheming my next move…!
So, for now, occasional workshops will be held at external locations, and I will continue to show my work....
The next Exhibition will be for Bucks Open Studios from 15th - 19th June, at St John's Church Bourne End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 2RU.
and do continue to contact me for wax supplies, art and cards.
I had the privilege to be asked to repair two encaustic paintings in the autumn, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered yet.
Back in the summer, I was contacted by a lady from a company in London, who had two pieces of corporate art, which had sustained some damage and wear and tear, they needed tidying up, and could I do anything with them…?
After some communications establishing exactly what medium they were, and what damage was sustained, we reached the point I said I’d take a look at them, no promises, I’d see what I could do.
I had received the dimensions, so shouldn’t have been so surprised when two tall men from Oak Fine Art delivery service shuffled them up the pathway to my studio… In my head, I’d imagined them to be half the size they were… my error completely, at 183cm long, and 122cm wide, we got them up the stairs with a few inches to spare…!
After quite some deliberation about these extremely large paintings, what to do with them, and how to handle them; we leant them up against the table, opened one up, took a peek, and they left me to it…
These paintings were BEAUTIFUL… but I was massively nervous about them, kicking myself that I hadn’t thought about the size of them more carefully. They needed two people to move them, they were too big for my eight seater table, I'd have to lay them on the floor...
I was in the studio on my own, and I was left wondering if I’d bitten off a bit more than I could chew…!
I googled the artist, Hiro Yokose, and had a second minor breakdown, these were extremely valuable paintings, I had everything racing through my mind, from they won’t be covered by my insurance, to I could devalue them by even trying to repair them, (I had visions of the elderly lady who tried to restore 19th Century fresco with disastrous results!!)
Luckily good friend Sunil was in his studio, so I had a sounding board to do the “OH MY LIFE, YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT I'VE GOT MYSELF INTO” moments which I will treasure and chuckle about for many years to come I am sure…!!!
After regaining control of myself, I collected the children from school, went home and contacted the lady who had shipped them to me…
We arranged to speak the next morning. She was lovely, happy for me to proceed; aesthetics to enable them to be hung in their reception area was important for her, so I agreed to test a repair on a small inconspicuous area and let her know how it went.
Nothing prepared me for what I was met with upon arrival at my studio the next day… Breakdown number three…
Before I tell you what happened, you need to know a little background to these particular paintings…
They had been shipped some years earlier from the States to the UK in a container, and stored in a variety of unsuitable locations, over a course of thirteen years.
They had been painted on canvas, stretched taut over a wooden board, and finished off with clear beeswax.
(I create my work on solid supports, which does not allow the same movement of the wax as this stretched canvas did.)
They had been stored in bubble wrap over the course of the summer, something not really recommended for encaustic paintings.
Anyhow, all this movement over time, combined with sweating in bubble wrap over the summer, then encountering the autumnal night air in my studio, took its toll…
Much like a chip in a window screen when it turns icy, I arrived at my studio the next morning to find the painting had cracked in multiple places across the whole of the painting. YOU CAN IMAGINE MY REACTION…!
I was SO pleased I had been in touch the evening before the damage occurred. I broke the news of the additional damage over the phone… and after some lengthy discussion, we let the challenge of the repairs begin…
The shortened version ends here with this photo and feedback….
“I just want to say how pleased I am with the encaustic restoration work you carried out. The paintings are now framed and hanging in our reception and they look superb. Definitely worth the wait and the effort. I attach a photo of them now they are hung.”
and the expectation that my paintings could be getting A LOT bigger in 2017...! ;D
I had the privilege to be asked to repair two encaustic paintings in the autumn, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered yet. Read on here for the full story, and details of the repair process. For the background story to this blog, click here…
After lengthy discussions over the phone, we agreed a course of action and I would see what I could do.
I had to wait for someone to come in and help me lay the painting down flat, (two person job) then the attempted repairs began….!
These paintings had been created in a very different style to those I normally do, they had been painted in oil on canvas, then clear wax was painted, or poured over the top to give them an ethereal feel. Luckily, this made the repair slightly easier, as I didn’t have to worry about colour matching, however, it provided an alternative headache I hadn’t anticipated…
The clear wax, when heated, to re-fuse and repair the cracks and damage, turned completely white… I could not see anything of the painting underneath, so was in effect working completely blind. Only when the wax cooled and went clear again, about five - ten minutes later, and was buffed, could you tell if it had fused sufficiently according to how much of the crack / damage remained. Here are some consecutive pictures of the same cracked area...
Edge damage and crack quite visible...
First fuse - gently melted the wax, and it goes very cloudy in colour.
Wait for it to cool, you can see the long crack has started to repair, but edge damage needs more work.
Another fuse, gently manipulating wax, but without pushing too hard and doing more damage.
It's a waiting game, what's it going to look like... Yikes, will it EVER return to its correct colour...?!!!
Cooled and buffed, crack and edge damage gone... Yay....!
(The white area is light reflecting off the wax, really difficult to photograph)
Additionally, the canvas was not adhered to the wooden board underneath, therefore, as the wax was heated, the canvas would swell, rise and bubble up away from the support, so, working blind, with a moving painting, was not an easy job, and definitely not for the faint hearted. My nerves only allowed me to work a small section at a time…!Here's a short video I made for the owner, where I talk through the repair progress of the first painting...
It took quite some time to get them repaired, it was slow and painstaking work, and as suspected the second painting behaved in exactly the same way once unwrapped, but it was so rewarding watching them knit back together as I eliminated and repaired the cracks and dents, and buffed out the scratches on the surface.
As they were nearing completion, the subject of framing came into discussion. Here we hit another stumbling block, as none of my usual framing contacts were set up to handle paintings of this size, or, they could do them, but were on a turnaround of five+ weeks.
Many of the framers operate in large busy warehouse conditions, not heated at night, and frankly, I was getting twitchy at the thought of potential sub zero winter temperatures.
All these communications were rolling from days into weeks, I had open days, workshops and birthday parties booked at my studio, just the sheer size and presence of them was enough to have me pleading... "Please don't go near those...!"
They had kind of become my babies; they were in my charge. I’d invested many hours, and had many a sleepless night over them, and I wouldn’t be happy until I knew they were safely returned from my ‘watch’… I wanted them framed, and back, in their nice warm office, hanging safely on the wall out of harms way…!
Discussing my framing dilemma with my husband one evening, he reminded me of a data cabling job he had done at an art framing company, called ‘John Jones’ in London a few months earlier, he had said at the time that I’d have LOVED it there.
Hurrah for serendipity… John Jones were GREAT… Here’s a link to their site. Their client base is second to none, they specialise in museum standard fine art framing, and I’d definitely use them again for complex jobs such as this.
Anyhow, the paintings left my studio at the end of November, and although I knew I’d kept my end of the bargain up, I kept wondering over Christmas how they were getting on, what was the framing job like, was my client happy with the result, would I have been happy with the result…? As I said, I’d become a little bit attached…!
You can imagine how pleased I was when I received the following photo and e-mail in the New Year…
“I just want to say how pleased I am with the encaustic restoration work you carried out. The paintings are now framed and hanging in our reception and they look superb. Definitely worth the wait and the effort. I attach a photo of them now they are hung.”YAHOO…!!! Closure… Next time I’m in London, I might just pop in and take a peek…!
The thing I love most about teaching how to paint with encaustic wax is…. The quiet hush…
If you had told me five years ago, that I’d be teaching people how to paint I’d have said you were off your rocker…!
In 2012, I discovered a new medium called “Encaustic Wax”… and it captured me like no other… You know that moment that a piece of art just stops you in your tracks… and ‘speaks’ to you… I knew at that moment, I had to find out how it worked….
It was around that time I began doing Herts Open Studios, showing my work, just to show it, and if I sold a piece or two to cover some costs, that was a bonus.
I discovered that others seemed to be intrigued by encaustic as well… I had so much interest in the process that by the end of that Open Studio period, I put an A4 sheet of paper out, saying if anyone was interested in learning how to paint with wax to leave their details, I might run a workshop next year… I was blown away by the amount of names and addresses I was left with… and then felt obliged to do something about it…!
My first ‘workshop’ was in a friends kitchen, she was so enthusiastic about it, she went out and bought the kit immediately, her friend wrote me the most beautiful card to say how much she had enjoyed the afternoon too… After the initial fear of saying I would do it, I discovered that I loved teaching these skills…
Since that afternoon in my friends’ kitchen, I’ve lost track of how many workshops, and demos I’ve done, but every one has a common theme…. I get very enthusiastic, sharing as much technique info as I can (normally leaving people with a glazed or astonished look!) However, at some point during the session, once they start putting it into practice, there is a hush… A moment of quiet… where all you can hear is the sound of concentration…
This is the part I LOVE… These people have taken the information of how to apply the wax, and have lost themselves in the process of creativity… entirely.
I sit back and watch them, and smile… I get the greatest joy from seeing them so engrossed, and simply lost in their creativity… They rarely want to stop, they look up and can’t believe what time it is…!
As I write this, I am watching a Norwegian lady, Lisbet, who has been with me for a week, learning 1-1 how to paint with wax… We have covered fusing, layering, dripping, drizzling, colouring, scraping back, inlaying images, setting fire with shellac, oh my, the list goes on, I have tried to impart as many skills as I can. We have got on like a house on fire, and I will totally miss her next week…!
Anyhow, right now, she is sitting in absolute silence, totally immersed in the process, seeing what works, and what doesn’t. That quiet hush….
Lisbet is an established artist, there are currently no encaustic courses or supplies in Norway, hence travelling to the UK to learn…. She is planning a big exhibition in the Spring, now including encaustic wax, I can’t wait to hear how it goes.... You can follow and view her work here.
The encaustic web continues to expand into new countries….
You just never know what you might be doing five years from now…!
Hit reply to sign up to my newsletter for 2017 workshop dates, which will be starting in March, or come and visit me in my studio. (Please check opening times!) All of those dates to follow soon...!