COVID-19 UPDATE: I am not currently publicising my art retreat weeks, or in person workshops due to the uncertainty around this virus.
I am happy to help with information, and open to discussions around whether these art events take place or not… it is a constantly evolving situation, and decisions will only be able to be taken nearer the time. In the meantime, I have a full suite of online courses and a new encaustic membership available to join… All your encaustic questions can still be answered…
But do read on… and whet your appetite for when this madness is over….!
Who is this retreat week for?
This course is for artists already familiar with dammar based encaustics. You don’t have to be a professional artist, or have years of experience to join us on this week, but you must have a sound understanding of the health and safety aspects of this medium, understand it’s general properties and the types of supports used etc.
If you are not sure, check out my alternative retreat week for beginners.
We explore many encaustic techniques, and I will invite two guest tutors into the studio during the week to ensure you leave bursting with new ideas.
Encaustic Wax medium is applied in multiple layers, fused, and pigmented in a variety of ways, to create interesting mixed media styles of work. We will work on some sculptural pieces, image transfers, and use shellac burn, amongst many others during the week.
Day 1: 9/10am – 4pm
Arrive at studio from 9am, we will start the week with tea, coffee and pastries, welcome, take a look around the studio and get to know each other a little better.
From 10am onwards, we will start properly, run through the supplies and materials available in the studio. We will start working together on some test pieces to get used to using the equipment available and to get an idea of the kind of work and styles we lean towards.
In the afternoon we will discuss…
- The more widely seen abstract encaustic pieces versus a more realistic style of painting using wax.
- Explore a variety of 3D sculptural surfaces that can be worked on.
- Shellac Burn techniques.
- Review alternative techniques that can be used during the final stages of a painting, including using PanPastels, Stencils, Oil Paints, Pigment Sticks and Gold Leaf.
I’m sure there will be some new techniques that you haven’t come across before to kick your week off with…
From here, during my sessions, we can expand, or reduce the time spent on techniques according to peoples expertise in different areas, there is a course outline, but it is also designed to be flexible as you will already be familiar with basic encaustic practice. (If you’re not sure, check the beginner’s retreat week here.)
Day 2: 10am – 4pm
– Guest tutor day. Sara Wickenden will be joining us…
Sara has almost twenty years experience of working with encaustic, she sun bleaches her own beeswax and has an extensive background in science, wildlife and theatre, and an interest in interior architecture, these all feature strongly in her work, which she exhibits regularly at The Espacio Gallery in London.
She began working with encaustic back in 2001 whilst working as a writer, completed a few R&F workshops in Norfolk 2004-5 and from there immersed herself in painting with wax. She went to New Mexico for a comprehensive advanced workshop with Paula Roland a few years later.
She loves to experiment, introduce other media and observe what happens.
Sara was involved at the National Maritime Museum in London, in initial research into George Stubbs ‘Dingo’ and ‘Kangaroo’ paintings, where she taught workshops including some of these techniques. You can see a really interesting report into their findings of the project here.
The morning will consist of a blend of beeswax and history, including….
- Methods of sun bleaching your own wax. You will make some encaustic medium ready for use in your own encaustic work later.
- Whilst the medium is melting away in the background, we will…
- Examine different types of waxes and mediums.
- Look at George Stubbs style of work, Sara will explain how she got involved with her work at The Maritime Museum.
- You will then learn how to create your own version of Stubbs ‘The Dingo’, or ‘The Kangaroo’, using an adapted, safer alternative of layered pastels and gampi paper.
After lunch, Sara will cover additional methods, including…
- Encaustic monotypes
- Drawing on wax
- Texturising your wax
- and creating a final smooth layer, using a freezer!
Personally, I’ve struggled to find anybody who’s been working with encaustic for this length of time, so to be able to tap into Sara’s expertise, and talk directly with her, about her experience of the archival qualities of different waxes and mediums over that length of time, will be fantastic.
Day 3: Free Morning to digest everything so far and explore some of the local area.
Optional brunch in the historic market town of Berkhamsted at 11.30am and time to explore my local art supply store, Berkhamsted Arts and Crafts shop. A family-run shop, stacked full of knowledgeable staff, and art supplies which work with encaustic beautifully… Your mind will be bursting with ideas by now, so here’s your chance to pick up additional embellishments, papers, stencils, etc. I always find something of interest, which sparks new project ideas off when I’m in here!
We will then head back to the studio for 1.30pm, ready for a 2pm – 6pm studio session, where we will:
- Explore embedding images into a painting.
- Techniques of printing onto papers.
- Different ways to apply them into and onto the wax.
You can use my printer to print your own images, experiment with different techniques, and incorporate any materials you picked up from our earlier art shop trip.
There is the option to stay on until 8pm, if you wish. I will be there, but not actively teaching during this later time.
Day 4: 10am – 4pm
Guest tutor day. Samantha Packer will be joining us…
Samantha has spent many years reviewing books, products and exhibitions, and has an extensive background of working in textiles and mixed media. She worked as Commissioning Editor for ‘Workshop on the Web’ and co-wrote ‘Cut, Shape, Stitch’ with Maggie Grey and Paula Watkins.
If you name a product, Sam has most likely worked with, reviewed it, or knows someone who has!
Sam’s interest predominantly lies in pattern, imagery and shape and she has taught mixed media workshops on these themes, on her guest tutor day we will be exploring how these translate into Encaustic Art.
The day will consist of..
Using Gelli plates, stamps and stencils to print patterns on a variety of alternative surfaces such as: Teabag Paper, Abaca Tissue and Tissue Paper which will then be incorporated the Encaustic Surface.
Love Letters – create a postcard, envelope or scrolls using layers and collage, mark-making techniques, using cola can pens, walnut and india ink and image transfer, using different techniques to those of yesterdays session.
Die-Cutting shapes and alphabet letters from fabric and paper for collage and dimensional 3D flower work.
Incorporating Sams textile and mixed media expertise into encaustic is going to be a fascinating exploration.
Day 5: Excursion Day… Fun Day Friday…!
At 9.30am we will take a taxi to London and head to The British Museum, to take in the splendour of this historic building and see some of the Fayum Mummy panels on display there, there will be some free time to explore the building, before we move onto visit Cornelissen & Son, an old fashioned art supply store, a few doors down the road, with old fashioned drawers and cupboards crammed full of pigments, it is sumptuous, and an experience not to be missed!
From there, after a quick bite of lunch, we will take the short trip to The Petrie Museum, which will provide a welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle of the British Museum, a quiet peaceful space, where we will be welcomed, learn a little more about the museum, and view the Fayum Panels, and treasure trove of Egyptian artefacts on display there.
From here, once we’ve gathered our thoughts, it’s a taxi back home, or stay on in London for the evening if you wish. (at your own expense!)
We will be right in the heart of London, close to theatres, Chinatown, Covent Garden and Embankment, so plenty of choice available if your feet are up to it… just bring comfy shoes!
Day 6: 10am – 4pm
Last day at the studio. Finish off pieces, pack up work ready to go home, buy any additional wax supplies needed, sit, journal, reflect and enjoy the last few moments before heading home.
Maximum of four students, based in my studio in Sarratt.
This retreat week is for encaustic artists who have a good understanding of working with beeswax and dammar resin.
It’s an opportunity to learn new techniques and simply share time with other encaustic artists. People who ‘get it’, which most don’t, or certainly not in the UK…!
Included in the price:
- All basic encaustic materials and tools, including some supports. (Additional supports may be bought from me at the studio during the week.)
- Brunch on day three.
- Lunch in London on day five, and return Taxi. If you wish to stay on in London travel back later is at your own expense.
- Tea, coffee, biscuits and pastries throughout the week.
Additional Encaustic Wax materials are available to purchase directly from my studio, or we can order in any supplies you think you might want.
Any supplies bought from the art shops we visit are at your own expense.
Lunch on the remaining days is not included, catering for individual dietary needs at the studio isn’t possible, so either bring a packed lunch, or there is a local shop which normally has a good selection of sandwiches a short drive away, or a cafe we can telephone an order through to.
Please note, I may switch the days around if I am aware of any travel issues, planned delays etc. although the core content of the week will remain the same.
My aim is to structure this week as an opportunity for like-minded artists to come together, with plenty of opportunities to learn new skills, leverage from Sara, Sam and my experience and knowledge, but also to take time for yourself, and to explore in your own style using the techniques shown.
This is where my joy lies, and why I love doing what I do… I love to share this time with people. Here is a blog I did a few years ago about how I came to be doing what I do… the quiet sound of creativity...
Still not sure…?
Check out the testimonials from people who have been on my courses in previous years.
Here are a couple from my most recent courses this year:
“Just to let you know I loved spending time with you in your studio, very relaxing, inspirational and informative…”
“It really is great to learn about encaustic… really enjoyed it… Thank you for another wonderful day… it was great fun…”
“I really like your teaching style. Lots of information, delivered in a relaxing way, but with scope to put my own twist on it.”
I want you to get the most out of your time in my studio. For me, it’s not about bombarding you with constant information… I believe it’s important to consolidate what you’ve learnt, so if you want to sit quietly outside, or wander the local footpaths for half an hour, you will have the space to do that. It’s your time to escape, listen to the inner you and encapsulate that in wax!
That said, if you want to spend every available minute working in the studio, that’s fine too! I am there for you throughout, so questions, techniques you want to cover, just ask… I don’t claim to know everything, but if I don’t know, I can usually find out…
If you need any help with where to stay etc… There are countless pubs, hostelries and hotels nearby, ranging from very affordable through to 5 Star options. I have a lovely travel consultant who will be happy to help you with flights, accommodation, taxis, local area, etc. if required.
This is a Six-day VIP week, using beeswax and dammar resin, with mixed media.
Monday 22nd – Saturday 27th June 2020. £1,080.
There is a Payment Plan available if needed. Total cost for payment plan option = £1,200.
£600 deposit to reserve your space can be booked online above, with the final payment to be received no later than 31st May 2020.
After booking, I will contact you via e-mail to arrange the remaining payment schedule, which can be made by BACS, Paypal, Cheque or Cash.
I have done a series of Facebook Lives, which covers what we will do day by day. I have linked them up onto a blog here.
If you have any questions that I’ve not covered here, please do get in touch, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org