Julie Wrathall, Founder of Arty Heaven

A UK artist specialising in painting with hot wax 

If you’ve heard of encaustic wax painting, then you’re in a minority! It’s a ‘thing’ in the States and Canada, but not commonly known of here in the UK. The very first example I saw blew me away… I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but I thought: ‘Wow! I have to find out what that’s about!’ That beautiful, mesmerising swirl of blues, turquoises and silver changed my life forever…

I’d learned to repress the part of me that loved art back in high school; it wasn’t on the list of permitted O-Level options. (You can’t make money from it and cookery is more useful!)

Professionally, I went on to enter a very corporate environment – office work, logistics, customer service and project management; after I took maternity leave, I started running my husband’s office.

I had long forgotten the joy of applying pencil to paper; then in January 2011, I met a lady who ran a Friday morning art group, which quickly became the highlight of my week. By October that year I felt confident enough to enter pieces in an exhibition, which is where I had my epiphany with the special painting!

‘Encaustic’ is a Greek word meaning ‘to burn in’. I learned how to paint with hot fluid beeswax and did some open studio sessions; people were intrigued so I started delivering workshops, as well as selling my work and supplies.

Within a few years, I’d become a full-time artist. After my studio mate moved out in 2016, I stepped things up – determined to make it a viable business. I had to vacate myself in 2018 but after a miserable time working from home during a nightmare renovation project, I finally found my dream premises in Sarratt… my Arty Heaven.

A permanent studio means I can plan my year. I’ve safeguarded time to create and balanced it with teaching and VIP art retreats, which I love. My aim is to inform art collectors and artists about this beautiful stop-you-in-your-tracks medium, which deserves to be more widely recognised over here.

As an artist and businesswoman, I’d encourage you to ride the rollercoaster with a good team of support buddies who really ‘get it’.

Arty Heaven