You can’t ‘do’ art… That’s just a hobby….

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I have decided to share a bit of my story around some of the fears I have had with my art.  I don’t normally share this kind of information, but think my story might resonate with you. 

I believe this issue affects more of us than we realise, so, hope it might just strike a chord with you

Do you intend to start art projects, but seem to procrastinate getting started? (I know I have.)

Do you get an overwhelming desire to do ANYTHING other than the creativity you were intending to start on?  (Yep, even down to deep cleaning the bathroom floor!)

Do you go into an art or stationery store, and drool over the look, touch and feel of EVERYTHING in there, and contentedly spend hours with your mind in overdrive at all the projects you could start?   (Yep!)

Do you then go home, and find that you often don’t actually START those projects…?    

Suddenly taken over by this irrational FEAR that you can’t quite put your finger on…?   (Oh Yes…. Been there and got the tee-shirt….!)

Well… I’ve been thinking about where this ridiculous fear comes from, and I think I’ve identified where it began for me…

I want to take you back to when I was a teenager, and give you an inside peek into my life.

You might be wondering ‘what does this have to do with me?‘, but hear me out, if any of the above resonated with you, you might see a similarity in my story.


Picture it: The ripe old age of thirteen, it’s time to take options for O Levels at school… (that’ll give you a clue to my age… the following year they became GCSE’s!)

Those words “What do you want to do…?”   Innocent enough… But to have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life at that age made me want to shudder.  It all felt so grown up, and something I just wasn’t ready for.

We took our best guess at options…  English, Maths, Geography, Biology and Home Economics… The two-year examination preparation began.

Despite wanting to take Art as an O Level option, it was an either / or with Home Economics.   It was decided that Home Ec would be a more practical life skill… and art of course, was really just a hobby….    

I quite liked cooking though, it gave me a great outlet for my creativity, and I have many happy memories of Friday afternoons spent concocting the latest meal plan, and lovingly designing project folders with hand drawn pictures of herbs and spices…!

Anyhow, I digress….

Two years on, after we got our mock exam results back, and were getting closer to the final exams, we were scheduled in to see the ‘Careers Officer…’

I had never met this man before, and I’ve never seen him since. He was solemn, and clearly very bored with the long string of pubescent teens he had to endure that day! He knew absolutely nothing about me, yet in our ten minute slot, he was to inform me of my potential career options…

I recall a selection of Index Card Boxes with my chosen subject choices… 1) Geography   2) Biology and on it went.  He listed potential jobs contained within each category…

Nurse…?   Secretary…?   Vet….? Nope, Nope… Nope…  We duly went through all options…. Each suggestion filled me with dread and nothing inspired me as a potential career choice.

“Good grief, surely there’s SOMETHING in one of these boxes that appeals to you…?!!!!  What DO you like doing….?” he demanded.

I was feeling quite inadequate at not having nailed my career choice down within the ten minutes we had been allocated, but managed to reply sheepishly “I like drawing,” eyeing the box labelled ‘ART’.

“Pft…!  Well… You’ve left it a bit late for THAT now, haven’t you…?!” he retorted…  

That was it… I’d missed the boat… I was fifteen years old, and I’d left it too late…

“You can’t do art”….  There for me, the fear was born.

It develops into the blank canvas syndrome, afraid to make that first mark, and you procrastinate getting started at all.   

I’ve concluded that this fear came from this quiet, underlying notion that…  I can’t. I shouldn’t…  It’s that closed box, that must not be opened…   I mustn’t get started, even if I do really really want to….

Fast forward a few years… and as you know…  I DID find my way back and ‘do art’…  

But, I know that much of my delay was from being ‘told’ that I couldn’t do it…

Having taken some time to think about my fear of getting started, it dawned on me.  I am not that teenage girl any more.   As an adult,  I CAN do art…! In fact, I can do whatever I bloomin’ well like…!

How many of us are not pursuing our passions based on other peoples passing comments?

School tells us, society tells us, everybody tells us that art is something you can only do once you’ve done all of your ‘proper’ jobs.  There’s no value in it.  What’s the point.  Well, I’m saying that creativity IS important!

Luckily, I’m filled with a good dose of stubbornness, and I’m recognising these self doubts ready to trip me up at every opportunity. I’m taking action.

Two things I love to do is to help people, and inspire people to tap into their creative side.  People often say that my enthusiasm gets them enthused….   I don’t know about that, I just know I love it when I’m sharing this wax with others, and get my greatest joy watching others implement what they’ve just learnt.    

If you’re not up for painting with wax, just get a biro out and doodle on an old envelope, bake a cake, draw pictures of herbs and spices, whatever scratches that creative itch – I’m sure you’ll feel better for it!

Lets take the fear out of creating… being afraid of making that first mark…  

Encaustic Wax provides instant rewarding results, and the process is so therapeutic.   You’ll be spreading colour around in no time, it’s great as a loosening up exercise.

It doesn’t matter what you create, what matters is that you are creating.

Perhaps you already have all the kit, maybe even been on a course with me, but need that push and reminder to start again.   

Finding a group who supported me was what I needed to actually start painting.  Sometimes we just need that extra bit of encouragement. 

Check out my ‘Painting with an Iron Encaustic Wax Course’ and join other like-minded waxers in Arty Heaven…!

You can view five of the videos right now for free, no sign up, just click play.  That will be enough to get you started.  If you want to take it further, sign up to the full course….

As a result of the tuition I provide, you will:

  • Be applying colour with an iron in minutes.

  • Create a variety of interesting, unique creations.

  • You can share your results in our friendly group.

  • Continue to receive encouragement.

  • Ask questions if you’re stuck.

  • Get over that fear of getting started.

  • Banish that Procrastination.


To find out more about the course, and to see my videos and style, head over here.

If you’ve already used encaustic and don’t need all the basics on getting started, I’ve got a shortened step by step fantasy landscape version. Perfect to refresh your memory and give you the motivation to get that wax kit out again.

If my story has resonated with you, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a similar story?  A fear around getting started?  Do you procrastinate? Start off raring to go, then go into freeze mode?!  You’re not alone, so lets support and encourage each other, and say ‘Yes, we CAN do art’ – It is allowed… We’ll all feel so much better for it!

Julie. x

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