Art Inspiration: Defying Gravity February 11 2016, 0 Comments

Today I am home sick on Day 3 of a terrible head cold.

Usually I am able to keep my chin up and have some fun with the free time for creativity. Not so this week. It was time to make the big change from Constant Contact to Mail Chimp that I had been dreading so there was a lot of kleenex, tears and "business stuff" that my poor sick brain did not want to deal with. All the joys of running your own small business. ;)

Trying to get back into the creative game, but nothing was happening.

Then I saw this amazing new video this morning by the band OK Go called "Upside Down & Inside Out" and it was just so filled with fun and color and creative choreography - it really lifted me up. It amazes me how far we can take our creative inspirations with onset of new technologies. It truly feels that there is no limit.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and that it brightens your day if you are feeling a little blue too.



March class at the Summerland Community Arts Council January 29 2016, 0 Comments

Exploring Encaustic: Intro to the Iron & Stylus 2 Day

Saturday and Sunday, March 19th & 20th, 10:30am to 4pm with 1/2 for lunch each day
Cost: $100 with $40 supply fee

Curious about painting with pigmented beeswax?



Please join me for this fun 2 day introductory course where you will learn the basics of working with the encaustic iron and stylus. We will cover safety, set up, and the basic  techniques with lots of time for creative exploration. We will explore painting on different types of paper, collage, and using mixed media with your work. Everyone will go home with a completed painting. 8 student maximum

Registration: Pre-payment is required for all art classes and workshops. If the art class or workshop is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment or for other unforeseen circumstances, the registered participant’s payment will be refunded or transferred to another workshop of choice. No refund will be given for an art class or workshop if notice of withdrawal is not received at least one week in advance of commencement. All refunds are subject to a $15.00 administration fee.

Sign up for any or all classes at the Summerland Community Arts Centre at 9908 Main Street, Summerland, BC, call  or email the gallery:

Exploring Encaustic march class in Summerland 2016

Making Medium, Custom Waxes & Sponge Sets January 21 2016, 0 Comments

I am in the studio tonight making some delicious medium!!

I will post the results tomorrow as I brought out some of my favorite shapes to play with.

Custom encaustic wax, encaustic medium & encaustic spongesCustom boxes of wax are flying out of the shop these days. I am so happy that folks are having fun with playing beyond the pre-set boxes and go wild making up their own custom color combinations of 16 blocks per set. Here is a new set that is going out tomorrow.

It is with a little bit of sadness that I have to report that the heat resistance sponges will soon no longer be in the shop. My supplier in the Netherlands is no longer able to source them. I have 8 left as of today and am hoping that they will find another source soon. They are so much fun to use!

Here is a video that Thea made using the heat resistant sponges

Spark Your Art Practice January 19 2016, 0 Comments

Winter can be long and dreary and sometimes your creative play can fall by the wayside.

Nicolas Wilton has some great advice on keeping a consistent studio practice over on his blog.

You can  see it here:

I love this playful new video from Michael Bossom on using the stylus. I find I don't always remember to use my stylus and this video got me very excited about taking it out and playing with some images of my own paintings to rework them in a new way. I will post those images soon.

Holiday Shipping, Bonus Samples & Holiday Cards December 10 2015, 0 Comments

Bonus samples in the month of December!

Every order in December will get one crimson and one gold wax block as a thank you for choosing Exploring Encaustic for your holiday shopping.

Plus 1 in every 10 orders will get an extra surprise gift!

There is still time to order before the holidays. We ship Expedited through Canada Post. Most items will arrive within 2-7 business days depending on where you live from BC.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about holiday ordering.

Here are some examples of super cute 
holiday cards made in my last class. 
These paintings were created using:
  • Encaustic painting iron
  • White and colored painting cards
  • Waxes from the Encaustic Art line
  • Stickers - solid and see through
  • Blank greeting cards that the paintings were stuck too
Happy Painting,

Giving Tuesday – Why Should Artists Participate? Because your world needs you. December 01 2015, 2 Comments

(What is Giving Tuesday? It is a global day of giving back after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.)

I have always said that having art in your life is a gift. Something you were either blessed with by birth and upbringing, or a special friend you were lucky enough to meet along the way. It is always there for you, ready to lift your spirits and take you on a new adventure. Someone to console you when times get tough and celebrate when life is amazing. Now, isn’t that friend you would like to share with others?

In my other hats I work at the South Okanagan Women in in Need Society (SOWINS) where I coordinate the marketing, events and volunteers and I also have a small national art supply business that imports encaustic paints and tools for Canada. Working in not-for profit + being a small business owner and an artist, in my life anyhow, means I don’t have a lot of 2 things: time and money.

Working at SOWINS however, I saw the need for something that I could give: the gift of myself through all of these skillsets I had above – artist, marketer, and event planner. I put together a program called Healing Mondays and brought in artist friends and holistic practitioner friends to volunteer their time to share what they love with the women that SOWIN’s serves. This was in 2013. We brought this friend, this ally, this gift to the women of SOWINS who were fleeing and/ or overcoming the effects of abuse.  We shared our gifts with around 60 women that year.

All kinds of painting and crafting, meditation, yoga, reiki – if someone was willing to offer their time I would find a room and make an event poster. Over 2014-2015 we shared our gifts with around 80 women – we were definitely getting repeat participants at this point.

Now heading into 2016 our program is at the level that we are receiving grant funding and support- The Hamber Foundation, The Penticton & District Community Arts Counsel, The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan, and the Penticton Art Gallery. With any luck we will be able to get a Gaming Grant and grow the program even more. The program has changed names and become partnered with other programs that SOWINS was offering and is called WE with three branches:

WE: Inspire - Arts & Crafts, yoga, meditation – just for fun / for the spirit

WE: Create – Sewing & Making – life skill building

WE: Nourish – Cooking, canning, menus on a budget – more life skills

In 2016 our goal is to bring these types of classes to over 800 women. And now it is not just about art. Art is still part of it, but the program has grown to become fully holistic, embracing the gifts of all members of our community to share with others. Reaching out to our elders and learning life skills from them. Reaching out to the mothers and giving them a place to rest, recharge and learn new things to share with their children.

So why should artists participate in Giving Tuesday? Because we have an amazing gift to share and you never know what it will lead to. Thank you to all of the participants of all the WE Programs, to SOWINS, our community partners and all of the artists and facilitators who have joined on this journey of sharing what you love.

(All artwork in this post was created by women in the WE: Inspire art classes)


My CanwaxWest Weekend October 22 2015, 0 Comments

Friends, Fun & Wax!

Last weekend was 3 days of encaustic fun. I got to hang with my tribe, meet old friends in person for the first time and learn some new techniques. A banner time was had by all!

Angela Hansen and her artFriday night was Lake Country artist Angela Hansen’s talk “Finding My Voice in Wax: the progression of personal imagery while exploring the encaustic medium”. A graduate of Emily Carr and an art teacher for high school and private practice students, Angela shared her journey with us and spoke to the deep connection and meaning that she places into her paintings. It was a very inspiring and open heartfelt talk.

Angela was also the instructor for the 2 day CanwaxWest annual course that was held at the Shatford Centre in Penticton, BC. The topic – Extreme Texture!


Our group comprised local members from our CanwaxWest chapter and also some out of town friends. I was so excited to share my table with Anita Bidulka and Irene Gut from Cecil Lake, BC. Anita and I have known each other for years through emails with Encaustic Supply Canada, but had never met in person. It was a very touching time as it was through Thea Haubrich that we first met. Anita sells encaustic supplies and Irene teaches in their hometown. 

Anita, Bethany, Irene & Karen

I had met Irene at the previous 2 CanwaxWest events and was so happy to have her back again. Rounding out our table was the lovely Karen Griggs of the famous Bead Trails! If you ever come to the Okanagan you must go on the Bead Trail!

CanwaxWest AGM 2015

At the CanwaxWest Annual General Meeting a new batch of volunteers stepped up to continue this great adventure. Judy Byer and I were stepping down and passing the torch after many years of service. I can remember when CanwaxWest was first conceived at the 2011 IEA conference in Portland with Thea & Shary Bartlett at the helm. It is amazing to see how far this group has come along – and it is all to the dedication of volunteers. Encaustic artists are a wonderful bunch. Chris Cornett of Photography by Chris also came to speak with us about photographing our work.


I have to tell you we had an absolute blast in this class working with extreme texture. It always amazes me how given the same tools and materials everyone can come out with something so different. Angela was a fabulous teacher – keeping us laughing, inspired and providing great constructive feedback.

Extreme Textures class

My favorite new tool is the Ronson Tech Torch. It has a gentle fusing attachment that lets you get in close to small areas to fuse with a very light touch. Everyone working with encaustic should have one in their tool kit.

Oh! And did I mention the swag bag??? So many goodies from R&F Paints, Enkaustikos, Kama Pigments, Planet Bee, Fabricland and Encaustic Supply Canada/Exploring Encaustic! Check these out. Can’t wait for next year xoxo

swag bag






Halloween Treats!!! (and upcoming classes) October 17 2015, 0 Comments

Every order between today and October 31st gets one free Jack O' Lantern medium puck with every order!

Just type HALLOWEEN in the notes section.

The 2 day Intro to Encaustic class is next weekend. This 2 day class is a great way to get the basics on working with encaustic using the hotplate as a palette. You will learn about studio safety, workplace set up, fusing, painting with medium and pigmented beeswax, and have lots of fun!

2 day encaustic workshop with Bethany Handfield

I am offering a 1 day Christmas Cards workshop using the painting iron and mixed media techniques plus a special bonus lesson! This fun class takes place on Nov 21st so you will still have time to send out your cards. (Cookies included) 

Nov 21 Christmas Card encaustic class with Bethany Handfield

Bethany in Portland Part 2: Karl Kaiser’s Studio October 15 2015, 2 Comments

Part 2 of a 3 part series

An Amazing Place to Visit

Linda Robertson Karl Kaiser and Bethany Handfield

I was super excited to get a peek at the studio of Karl Kaiser. A past student of Linda Robertson, Karl is a very exciting artist who has been working in encaustic for many years and is widely recognized for his unique sculptural paintings that can be hundreds of layers thick. He carves into the paintings revealing striking bands of color which creates his signature look. Check out this video by Marc Shoop, filmed in the studio, where Karl discusses his process.

One of the first things that struck me about Karl’s studio was – okay it was the bunny! Karl has an adorable studio bunny named Willie. How cute is that? It was also neat to see the easy back and forth between Linda and Karl as they discussed his process and upcoming commissions.

Karl Linda Willie and studio in Portland

Okay, back to what my artist eye was also drawn to – the organization! Everything was so neatly organized and laid out. The studio has three sections: gallery, sitting area, and working studio. From his brushes and paint to the presentation of his finished work and paintings displayed for sale; everything is lined up and ready to go. His work area is immaculately set out with a venting hood situated right over the paints that vents to the outside.  

Karl keeps all of the wax that he excavates from his paintings and either turns them into lovely decorative orbs or adds them to other paintings to great effect.

Karl Kaiser - balls of wax

He was very generous with his time and I was happy to go home with an original painting that he made ready to hang on the spot.

If you would like to visit Karl’s studio it is open this weekend as part of the Portland Open Studios event October 17th & 18th. This annual event is a great way to meet artists you have been curious about and to discover new artists as well.


Be sure to visit Karl’s website to see more of his lovely paintings or to contact him regarding purchasing. (A huge thank you as well to Karl's wife Sam who let us delay their dinner time and for helping with photos.)

In Part 3 we go back to Linda Robertson's studio for a class on transfers!


Painting Sale! October 07 2015, 2 Comments

I was so excited while at work today to be contacted by the 557 Artist Block gallery in Penticton that one of my little Quail's Egg paintings had sold and was heading out to Newfoundland! That is always such an amazing feeling. Especially as art sales have been a little slow for 2015. The 557 is a great gallery and the owner, Vaelei Walken-Brown, works hard to promote artists in the Okanagan.

Quail's Egg III by Bethany Handfield (Encaustic & Mixed Media)I had some personal doubts at the end of summer - as most artists do - about what I was doing ? Should I be showing? What is going on with my art? We all know that feeling. I was thinking of leaving the gallery. Leaving the art sale game all together. Gathering in all of my art work that was out for sale in the world and hiding it at home. It just didn't feel good enough or I was good enough or that anyone liked it or me. Seriously - these are thoughts that I have had about my work and I know other artists do as well from time to time. They are not easy thought to have, but they will either propel you into something new, or derail you from doing anything.

Vaelei was really great about reminding me about sticking with it and keeping the faith. Yes, not everyone is going to love everything that I do. In fact, some folks might be turned off by it. But others will love it, and love me, and want to see more of what I create. So I stayed. And I thought about what I was doing. And I started doing something new. Working in new ways with new materials. Stretching myself. Stretching the tools and the medium.

I also started giving back through the WE: Inspire program. I work part-time at a not for profit and I brought my skills in to share with the women that take services there. I shared, they shared, we played and it was awesome. Nothing to do with sales, critiques or meaning - pure fun being in the flow of creativity.

SOWINS WE:Inspire project










We all have ups and downs as artists. Be sure and surround your self with quality people and mentors who can look at what you are doing objectively and give you constructive feedback about what you are doing. And maybe not take it so seriously. Sales are fabulous and I would love more of them for sure - being happy in my process and being able to share it with others - that is priceless.

Keep the Faith & Happy Painting :)


Gallery Info:

557 Artist Block

+587 988 8567