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)

IMG_1035         6th Century Encaustic Christ Icon

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...!

IMG_1693 IMG_1697 IMG_1701

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.


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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…!

If you are interested in learning encaustic wax techniques, check out my painting with an iron, and fantasy landscape online courses.

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...!


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Do you struggle to know what to buy people at Christmas...?

I know I do….! The heart sinks at the question…. “What do you want…..” I don’t want to be ungrateful, but in truth… what is there that I really need….?!! (Okay, art supplies, you can never have enough art supplies…!) This is where experiences come into play….   and online courses… I hear so many people say that they've got the encaustic kit, but just never use it… or don’t know how to use it… or haven’t got the confidence to use it… Well, here’s the perfect gift answer to their needs…  This online course ‘Painting with an Iron’ will give them step by step instructions on how to get started. There are oodles of projects within the videos to work on at their own pace from home. There’s a Facebook group as an optional resource, to pop some inspiration into their newsfeed, give them a spur to get their waxes out at home… and as a place for them to share their work with other like minded souls if they wish. If they just need some encouragement or inspiration, I’d love to help. I’ve created a special offer…. CHRISTMAS2016 – This will give you 25% off.  This code expires on 31stDecember. (Please make sure the discount has been applied before entering your payment details…) They will learn everything I cover in my studio course… but at their own leisure, from the comfort of their own home…. I have lots more online courses planned for 2017, and will ask for volunteers to test run each of my new courses to give me feedback prior to launch, for FREE.   Being in the course members group will give them FIRST DIBS on those free courses…! So, to cross another gift off the list, this is a present that will last well into the New Year and beyond! If buying for somebody else, contact me, we can arrange payment via invoice.  I can create a personal access code for them to use on Christmas Day… Gift Done…! Either have the code e-mailed to you, or I can post you an encaustic wax gift card with the code for £3.50. E-mail me, Julie@julieannsgallery.co.uk , or call me, 07976 700737 to arrange.(Leave a message if I'm unavailable, I will get back to you!) Finally, a reminder of dates for 2016 are… Studio Open Days: Wednesday 7th December Saturday 17th December 10am – 3pm. Studio 4, The Stables Studios, Pouchen End Lane, Bourne End, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 2SA. Drop into my studio, artwork, encaustic supplies, (including new R&F Pigment Sticks and Ampersand boards!) cards and gifts, and lots of arty inspiration...! I will have very limited availability after Wednesday 21st December, so please don't leave your requests to the last minute! Really hope we can make this a very creative Christmas. Julie.  Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

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How many of us were told we couldn’t ‘do’ art… YEP… HANDS UP… Perhaps you painted a picture you were really proud of, yet the teacher put a big cross through it…?   Everybody else in the class had their painting hung, but not yours…?   The art tutor told you, you would never make the grade…? These stories keep coming up time and time again with the people I speak to… This stuff is staying with us for decades…. One person has told us we can’t… and we believe it…. Well, I DON’T believe that…   I believe we can ALL get creative, we just need a bit of encouragement and direction… I want to inspire and encourage others to get creative themselves.   My art was nurtured at a fantastic art group a few years ago, and what has happened since has been amazing.   Now, it seems, it’s my turn to encourage others…. You don’t have to ‘do’ anything with your art, just to enjoy creating it for yourself is more than enough. If you’re in need of some inspiration, I’d love to help you get creative with my ‘Painting with an Iron course’, I’ve created a special offer to help the decision… BLACKFRIDAY2016 – Gives you 40% off the course cost, £97 down to £58.20    This offer expires on Sunday December 4th.     If you don’t make it in time for that offer, you can use CHRISTMAS2016 – This will give you 25% off, bringing down to £72.75   This code expires on 31st December. Please make sure the discount is applied before entering your payment details… **Reminder** DO NOT let ANYONE (especially yourself!) tell you, you can’t ‘do’ art…. You will learn everything I cover in my studio course… but at your own leisure, from the comfort of your own home…. Included in this price is access to our Course Members Facebook Page, where you can ask questions, post pictures, find encouragement and I share lots of other hints and tips too. I have lots more courses planned for 2017, and I’ll be asking for VOLUNTEERS to test out EACH of my new online courses for FREE, and give me feedback prior to launch, so being in this course members group will give you first dibs on those too…! This is a Christmas treat that will last well into the New Year and beyond. Lets BUST those old memories of… you can’t ‘do’ art for good… If you want to take advantage of this offer for somebody else…   Or perhaps you would like to do it, but want somebody else to pay it for you…! Contact me, I will send you an invoice with the discount amount applied, and will create a personal voucher code for them/ you to use on Christmas Day… E-mail me, julie@julieannsgallery.co.uk , or call me, 07976 700737 to arrange. If you’re still undecided, see what others are saying about painting with encaustic wax here... Don't forget, if you were doing this course in my studio, the cost would be £140... So this is a great value way to learn all these new skills, and join a band of fellow enthusiasts to encourage you every step of the way!   You can find all the Course info here. Really hope to see you on the inside.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

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Julie Ann's New Encaustic Painting with an Iron....?!!  Online Course...

  Been thinking about this 'Painting with an Iron' online course...?   Quite fancy it, but not too sure about the process...?    Heck, it's new to me, so definitely going to be new to you too... To help you avoid some of the pitfalls I've experienced, here is a 'Step by Step' guide to viewing the course content, Promo Video, and five free videos... Step 1)   Click here  to open the course in a new tab, then come back and follow the explanatory steps in this blog post...! step-by-step-online-course-instruction-1 Watch the Promo Video and scroll down to read all the blurb....   Step 2)  As you scroll down you will reach the Class Curriculum... View these five videos to get a feel for the style of my content and teaching... **Spoiler Alert** It's not perfect...  But then, it's not TOO bad either...! step-by-step-online-course-instruction-2   Step 3)   There's lots of information to read as you scroll through... Don't miss the part about the Facebook Group, your place to ask for feedback, or shout if you're struggling with techniques...   It also includes a FAQ's section, which I've shown here... step-by-step-online-course-instructions-3 Step 4)   If you like what you see, and want to join us, scroll down to this section... step-by-step-online-course-instruction-4   Step 5)  You will need to register if you are not already a student on Teachable....  (or Log In if you are!) step-by-step-online-course-instruction-5   Step 6)  Now PAY ATTENTION HERE...!!!  >>>  This is where a couple of people have not had their discount applied.........   IF you are lucky enough to have a voucher code, hit 'Redeem Coupon'..... step-by-step-online-course-instruction-6   Step 7)  Enter the Coupon details... You MUST go through the step of 'Redeeming the Coupon' for the discount to be applied.    If you continue at this point, and enter your payment details, you will be charged the full price. step-by-step-online-course-instruction-7   Step 8)   After 'Redeeming your Coupon' you should see a 'Review Your Order' page... Double check the discount has been applied correctly, and THEN enter your payment details...!  🙂 step-by-steo-online-course-instruction-8   **This 50% discount INTRO-OFFER is valid on this course until 30th September 2016... This is a one off discount to celebrate the launch of my first course, so won't be discounted this heavily again...!** What next...?  Step 9)   CLICK HERE to view the course, and take a look for yourself....! I hope you enjoy, do let me know what you think.    If you are confused about the Arty Heaven v Julie Ann's Gallery name, read a recent blog I wrote here!    Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

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It's funny how things turn out sometimes...  it's been a bit quiet on social media around here, with a very good Arty Heaven reason why… Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 18.54.35   I am building a new website… It’s pretty clever… I’ve had a new site installed as a ‘Quick Start Kit’, and following on-line tutorials, which shows me step by step how to add pictures, fonts, videos, e-commerce, etc… There are a group of us working on our own sites, with a Facebook group for asking questions, and helping each other out… Although time consuming, it keeps the cost down considerably, and really helps with the thought process of what you’re setting up… I think, it’s pretty nifty… or at least I’m hoping it will be once it’s finished…!   (If you’re interested in the details, message me and I’ll be happy to share info.) I’ve said for a while that I would be updating my site, however, it has morphed into a little more than that… If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re interested in the story… So I’ll give you a little background…. I’ve had people saying “I hear you’ve got a gallery?” and even had a couple of calls asking if people could put ‘Their Art’ in ‘My Gallery’… That is not what I am all about, it doesn't fit with my encaustic wax workshops, and sharing knowledge around the medium, so decided it might be time to tweak my name around… I tried every combination, of Julie Ann, Julie Ann’s Art, nothing was working, mostly the domains were already taken, which is pretty key!   I didn’t want to tie myself into Encaustic Beeswax Art, as I didn’t want to eliminate any flexibility in the future. Eventually, I settled upon JulieAnnArtist.com … and away I went reasonably happy with my choice…. Until I started testing out my updates on the newly installed website, where, as soon as I typed julieannart…. The web browser pointed to JulieAnnArt.com; a lady who appears very well established, with a super glossy website. I realized I didn’t want to be sending my people to her site, and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be happy with the confusion at her end either…. So, I was kind of stuck… Unsure which way to go next… So, I sat… And I pondered…. Then, out of the blue… ‘Arty Heaven’ came into my head…     I’ve always joked and said I’m in ‘Arty Heaven’ when I’m creating up in my studio, I leave all of my troubles at the door, and find it a little oasis…. ‘Arty Heaven’ totally fits with the sumptuous, fluidity of painting with encaustic wax and gives me enough flexibility to do other things in the future. (and between you and me, works with my ultimate dream of having a full on art retreat centre one day!) Poo Poo-ing the idea that it would be available, I double-checked anyway… There are lots of #artyheaven hashtags in use, but to my amazement, ArtyHeaven.com / co.uk were both available, and not only that… practically every other social media name was too... INCLUDING an online school, which I've been wanting to get set up for AGES!! I double checked my sanity, and googled how to spell Heaven, incase I’d had a mad moment and spelt it wrong… (I’m having more and more of those these days!) I ran it by Nicky, who helps me out, she too couldn’t believe it was available, and also asked if I’d spelt it correctly…! So... We agreed it HAD to be the right way to go…. I am now the proud owner of a stash of Arty Heaven social media sites, a variety of domain names, and an online school... Yikes! The new website wording is mostly sorted, and I've uploaded quite a few wax tutorials… but I’m currently enjoying a great step-by-step tutorial on branding (which came with the website package), which is a whole project in itself. There are lots of hours going into this, being worked in around keeping the house running, children organized, etc… (plus we’ve just started digging the footings for a house extension, but that’s another story!) However...   I’m determined to come out on the other side as soon as possible…! My existing website will continue to run… But, you can check out my new ‘Arty Heaven’ site here, and sign up for the newsletter to be the first to hear when it’s live! Otherwise, you can continue to contact me through my existing channels, or feel free to send any e-mails of encouragement at Julie@artyheaven.com   I need every bit I can get! 😉 Everything else continues as is… Still doing my two ‘Open Days’ every month, next ones are Weds 3rd & Sat 20th August 10am – 3pm… Then I will be taking part in ‘Herts Open Studios’ again in September, amongst a few other upcoming events too. Hope you’ll join me somewhere along the ride…!  Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

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