Advanced Encaustic Workshop

November 2013 I attended a fantastic advanced encaustic workshop tutored by Shawna Moore, Shawna is from Whitefish, Montana, see her website, she has some great video’s to watch on youtube,

I thought it would be an interesting addition to my practice to see the diversivication of another well established encaustic artist from the states. Most australian encaustic artist’s are new to the medium over the last 10 years.

I travelled to Melbourne on a midnight flight to arrive at 5am, giving me enough time to have breaky at airport and catch shuttle bus to city and then train to my accomadation and then onto the first day workshop by 9.30am  when I arrived to start the first day I was pleased that I was not the only mad artist that flew to my destination that morning, granted that I was the only one from western australia, so had the longest flight. Others traveled from Sydney, Brisbane and country areas of Victoria but most of the other participants  were from Melbourne. We quickly made friends with each other on the first day and Shawna established with each of us individually, what our expectations were from this four day intensive workshop so she could make sure we were all catered for. My request was to extend my encaustic teaching knowledge and abilities on what I already have established in my present practice. My wish was granted and I came home fullfilled with the knowledge that I was on the right track and loving it.

Shawna and Daina

Shawna and Daina


Shawna Moore on the left and the lovely Daina on right who was our TA for the four days, Daina is a very accomplished artist in her own right and so knowledgable about all the tech stuff of art materials, she teaches Encaustics in Melbourne as well as many other classes in different mediums.

R & F Encaustic Paints

R & F Encaustic Paints

We were kept very busy everyday, experimenting with R & F Encaustic Paints, (they are the most luscious colours and so nice to use), learning new skills and extending our own individual styles.

our mess !! too busy creating.

our mess !! too busy creating.

I also got to use an allumimium pallette, which is great if you want to mix your colours on the hot pallette..

encaustic oil stick, encaustic paint on board

encaustic oil stick, encaustic paint on board

Two sample pieces of experimenting with transparent glazes and oil sticks.

Sutton Gallery in Melbourne

Sutton Gallery in Melbourne

I even found my gallery!!! how cool is that?


Traditional Gesso Recipe used for Encaustic

Traditional Gesso is used to prime boards prior to starting your Encaustic artwork piece. Commercial Encaustic Gesso is now available at art supply stores, but I find that making my own fulfills my need to help sustain mother earth.

It is important to understand that the acrylic gesso you find in art supply shops and on-line is not suitable for Encaustics.  This is because acrylic and encaustics are not compatible.  Using the acrylic gesso will lead to a poor outcome for your Encaustics piece so please ensure you use the right gesso or make your own Traditional Gesso

If you like to start with a white background for your encaustic artworks apply gesso, however it is not always necessary.

So here’s the recipe for making your own;

Traditional Gesso Recipe 

Rabbit Skin Glue

Whiting (Calcium Carbonate)

First make Rabbit Skin Glue (see recipe on blog)

The ratio for this is three parts glue to two parts whiting.

In a heatproof container add three parts warm rabbit skin glue and then two parts whiting, stir gentle as to not cause any bubbles to form, stir thoroughly.

Place heatproof container into a saucepan with water in saucepan half way up outside of container.

Gently heat until mixture thickens slightly, approx five to ten minutes.

Application of gesso to wooden boards

Using a durable brush eg, hog hair, apply gesso thinly to board, brushing in one direction until surface is covered.

Alternative layers should be applied in a different direction and make sure each layer is dry before applying the next

Approximately three to four layers are required to create a strong white background surface for your encaustic  artwork.

Rabbit Skin Glue Recipe

Rabbit Skin Glue Recipe

This is the  glue I use for the sealing of boards used for Encaustic.

Rabbit Skin Granules


Soak Rabbit Skin Granules overnight using a 1 – 13 dilution, eg; 1 teaspoon of Rabbit Skin granules to 13 teaspoons of water. If you are in a hurry soak at least two hours before next step. If you need a larger amount just keep the ratio 1 -13.

Place mixture in a heat proof container and then place into a saucepan, add water to saucepan approximately half way up outside of container.Can use a double boiler.

Heat gently over heat source until granules are dissolved and glue is liquefied.

Glue is now ready to use.

This glue is part of the process of making Traditional Gesso.

Busy Busy Bee Month

I have been such as busy bee and have been out of the studio for many weeks. This is what I’ve been up to;

First was the bi-annual City of Stirling Art Awards, were I was working closely beside the very experienced curator Pauline White and two other lovely artists Ruth Halbert and Jael Isley. It took five days to sort, collate and hang the 280 art works in the reception area of the Stirling council building ready for the official opening and presentations. Hope you were able to go and see the fantastic artworks of many West Australian artists, from emerging artists to well known artists.

Abstruse Encaustic on Board (Detail)

Encaustic on Board (Detail)

Then I taught the Encaustic Foundations Made Easy workshop which was part of the City of Stirlings ‘Mind Your Arts ‘ program. I had 12 eager participants that enjoyed spending the day playing with hot wax and learning the basic skills with some amazing results, everyone went home with four finished artworks.   Even though you’ve missed this workshop, check out my blog for upcoming workshops offered.

Two beautiful artworks from the "Mind Your Arts  Encaustic Workshop"

Two beautiful artworks from the “Mind Your Arts Encaustic Workshop”

Next was the culmination of the “Mysterium” exhibition, Over the last 12 months I have been on the exhibition committee of West Australian Fibre and Textile Association ( WAFTA ). This years members exhibition was named “Mysterium’ and is at this moment showing until Sat 16th November 2013 at Gallery Central, Aberdeen Street, Perth.   It’s well worth the trip to the city to see all 86 artworks everyone of them is fantastically made and visually pleasing.

My artwork is an encaustic piece about my Mum when she arrived in Australia in 1939 as a migrant Fairbridge child, this is the only image we have of her as a child.

Eco Dyed Silk, Oil Stick, Shellac and Encaustic on Board.

Eco Dyed Silk, Oil Stick, Shellac and Encaustic on Board. SOLD

During the week of helping to hang the Mysterium exhibition I had another exhibition to hang “LINKED” which is a shared exhibition of my own art works and my dear friend Kerrie Argent.  I have lived in Narrogin for 50 years and Kerrie lives in Lake Grace, approximately 1.5 hours drive away. Kerrie often dropped in when travelling through Narrogin. Our friendship developed in 1994 while attending a felting convergence in Bunbury. From there with the love of felting, paper, encaustic, textiles and recycling our friendship has continued. We studied together when completing our Fine Art Degrees from Curtin University. We have travelled together in the pursuit of furthering our knowledge and skills of our art practices and finally we decided to exhibit together. “Linked” will be showing until 16th November 2013, Gallery hours are Wed – Sat, 10 – 4.

Photo: The work of Lake Grace Artist Group member Kerrie Argent is on show at Nexis Gallery in Narrogin until November 17 (Wednesday - Sundays). Be sure to pop in for a look.

Encaustic and Bees

My  Encaustic studio is outside in my carport so I often have lovely bee visitors, especially when I’m making encaustic medium, they seem to get intoxicated with the aroma of the heating beeswax and get quite disorientated.

Recently my daughter took some pics of me working on my Encaustics, during which I had a visitor, Mr Bee, he was a bit confused and wanted to investigate – right up close eeekkkk!  the look on my face tells it all.

Hello there Mr Bee!!

Hello there Mr Bee!!

I have never been stung whilst painting encaustic, but one day I had to go inside as there was a few too many bees, about 30 frantically buzzing around trying to find the exact source of their desired aroma, I left them too it. Apparently bees have incredible sense of smell and get to know their own beekeepers smell and eventually become used to him/her. The queen bee tells her drones to stay calm when their beekeeper comes to the hive, so consequentially he/she does not get stung.  I always wondered why some beekeepers don’t wear the whole coverall to protect themselves.

Anyway after returning to my outside studio, I found one bee had dived into the hot wax, off course that’s not too good, but at least it’s quick.

RIP Mr Bee

RIP Mr Bee

Exhibition and Studio delights

Strangers in my Palace

Helen Seiver

On saturday 17th August 2013, I visited a fantastic exhibition by Helen Seiver named “Strangers in my Palace” showing at Heathcote Museum and Gallery, Applecross WA. It was so interesting to listen to Helen’s artists talk of her individual artworks and how each piece connected to personal stories about her life

HOME SWEET HOME, 2013. Detail of installation 80 mixed media houses.

HOME SWEET HOME, 2013. Detail of installation 80 mixed media houses.

Helen Seiver has a fundamental belief in the strength and pow er of women that has been drawn from the everyday, civil and domestic experience.  Reflecting the essential part women have played in determining the nature, shape and structure of contemporary female roles and identity, the work in Strangers in my Palace functions as a review of social and cultural values. It also attempts to find processes which investigate and explore cultural issues from a female perspective.

I recommend you go and visit this exhibition, you will not regret taking the time to discover Helen’s new artworks.


About the event

Sunday 25th August. I was lucky enough to visit all the artists studio’s again this year, it’s such a privilege that the artists take the time and allow the public a little glimpse into their world, opening their doors and sharing and baring their very personal selves.

I can’t say I could choose my most favorite artist as they all have their own very special style and I am interested in them all, but I must congratulate Julie Hein who has the Front space, which is a gallery as well as her art studio space.  Julie is a dear friend of mine and her artworks are just beautiful, she is a very clever and witty artist who makes the most exquisite books, paintings, drawings and can even turn your loved ones into cartoon characters – read her interview

Other artists at midland are Denise Brown, Melanie Diss, Robert Dorizzi, Marita Finnegan, Libby Guj, Elwyn Marren, Graeme McCullagh, Carolyn McIntosh, Ben Mitchell, Jennie Nayton, Janet Pfeiffer, Shelley Piang-Nee, Marisa Tindall, Vanessa Wallace, Bill Wernham.

See more at: and

EncaustiCamp Australia & Bali

Encaustic really has hit Australia with intense enthusiasm, After the Western Australian, Hot Wax Great Southern Encaustic Retreat in Albany earlier this year 2013 and the last two years of an Encaustic class at the Contextart in the Blue Mountains NSW Australia.  I would like to announce that Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch has decided that we need more complete avenues of experiences into Encaustic, so Patricia’s EncaustiCampUS is now coming to Australia in 2014 as EncaustiCampAU.

Kiama N.S.W. Australia

I Julia Sutton have been invited and quickly accepted, to be one of the tutors for  EncaustiCampAU 2014. I feel honoured and very excited to be part of the Encaustic world and feel privileged to rub shoulders with four International Encaustic artists from the USA, Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, Sue Stover, Michelle Belto, Judy Wise and one of our own well know Australian Encaustic artists Mo Godbeer.  To see more info  

Click on image for a youtube photo journey through the venue, nearby rice patties and Ubud!

Not only Australia but EncaustiCamp goes to Bali too.

Bali inspirations

Bali inspirations

Bali artist come in all shapes and forms

Bali artists come in all shapes and forms

Encaustic workshop

Yesterday, 11 August 2013 at Wafta (Craft House) was a fantastic day of learning Encaustic Foundations Made Easy. I would like to thank all the participants, lovely ladies that came with heaps of enthusiasm. This class was the beginning of a love affair for many and yes, Encaustic’s is addictive.  It was great to see everyone just playing, experimenting and enjoying  the day, with the creation of many beautiful pieces of artworks completed to take home.

We talked about one of my favorite Iconic Australian Encaustic artists, Jenny Sages. Please see images and links below for information about Jenny. Below are two of Jenny’s most heartwarming paintings, one of her beloved husband of 55 years named My Jack and a self portrait named After Jack.

Jenny Sages My Jack Encaustic, oil and pigment on board 120 x 170cm Artists Collection

Jenny Sages
My Jack
Encaustic, oil and pigment on board
120 x 170cm
Artists Collection


Paths to Portraiture, a short film featuring interviews with Jenny Sages, her husband Jack Sages, author Helen Garner and National Portrait Gallery Historian, Sarah Engledow. Produced and directed by Catherine Hunter, this film provides insights into Jenny’s life, her inspirations and her approach to painting portraits.

Jenny Sages After Jack Encaustic and pigment on board 120 x 190cm Artists Collection

Jenny Sages
After Jack
Encaustic and pigment on board
120 x 190cm
Artists Collection


Inspiration is something an artist relies on to create. I find it is all around in many forms, it can be seeing something for the first time, hearing a catchy song on the radio, observing people on the street, watching a film, little everyday things that catch your eye, it’s about building up a scrapbook of these little ideas, I’m often scribbling down fragments that later act like trigger-points for paintings. Spending time in your own head is important too.

Finding our inspiration is as individual as we are as individual artists. Many artists find whilst creating  an artwork they find inspiration from the work itself, from the process of actually doing something, something new and different happens, like a guide or vision for the next step or for another project. As my University Lecturer Judy Drury always used to say, ‘start the work and the work will happen’ and yes, she was right that elusive inspiration hits and it does happen.

One big inspiration in many artists lives is nature. Whilst out walking I often collect leaves, sticks, rocks and seed pods, their pure beauty is just so enticing I want to absorb it into my DNA.



I love the forms of a flower petal, a wiggly stick, new plant growth or the crinkled surface of the trunk of a tree and the way plants are allowed to just grow, however they like.


Random Spots

My Heart, My Heart

My Heart, My Heart

Make A Wish

Make A Wish



Insects are also a fascination to many, watching them go about their daily life gives me that ‘living in the moment’ time to reflect on the little important things in ones life.

Trumpets and Bees

Trumpets and Bees

Petal Delight

Petal Delight

Close your eyes and think about what inspires you, it may be so subtle that you may miss it.




1. an inspiring or animating action or influence.
2. something inspired, as an idea.
3. a result of inspired activity.
4. a thing or person that inspires.
5. Theology .

a. a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
b. the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.

My mind is a buzz with ideas of creating the next Encaustic artworks.

Jasper Johns – Modern Master Of Encaustic

In my last blog post I shared with you a little history about Encaustic and I also told you about Jasper Johns, an artist who in the 1950’s worked with Encaustics.

If you would like to see a Jasper Johns painting, there is one at the West Australian Art Gallery in the current exhibition featuring works from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York, ‘Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond’. Which I must say is very different. It’s named ‘Painting Bitten by a Man’ 1961 apparently he folded the painting in half and bit into the heavily built up yellow-grey mixture. The blurb beside the painting says, Jasper was examining the correlation between gustatory and aesthetic taste and reflects on the transformative relationship between action and object.

Jasper Johns +Painting Bitten by a Man

Jasper Johns

Painting Bitten by a Man


Encaustic on canvas mounted on type plate

Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)  New York

This week I want to tell you about another very interesting encaustic artist her name is Willow Bader 

Willow works a little differently with encaustics, as she was an oil painter before she discovered encaustics she wanted to work in a similar way, so she mixes her paints directly on the hot pallette and her painting board is in an upright position. Willow is also a lover of dancing the Tango and enjoying live instrumental music, which leads her to painting many scenes of dancers and musicians. Take a look at her website 

Encaustic - ARS POETICA - THE PAINTED POEM - Artwork

Willow Bader


32 x 50 inches