Where Have I Been?

I'm so sorry I have been missing. Last year and this year has been a pursuit to explore and discover.  I have taken many classes some that you may have read about in my previous posts, with Melinda Cootsona and Martin Campos.  After taking the classes with Martin and Melinda, I took two eCourses with Pauline Agnew that included Pathways to Abstraction and Pathways to Abstraction The Figure.  Upon completing I took another class from Melinda on Six Approaches to Abstracting the Figure. I have been very fortunate to be able to take classes from teachers that are masters their field.

Needless to say I have been working very hard and have a lot of new work to share. The painting that I am showing above, "Red Wind" is one of my first larger paintings using Cold Wax Medium.  I love how it turned out and am very excited to present it to you.  It originally began upside down, but I felt an urge to turn it in the opposite direction during  the creation.  I do believe that we reverse images in our mind. I now discovered a wonderful image of what appeared to me as an island with a forest reflecting in the water.  The energy that swirls in the strokes is an added bonus, thus the name "Red Wind".  Cold Wax allows a transparency and texture that cannot be found with oil alone.  I love the depth created by using this medium.

The painting is available for sale.  Please contact me if you are interested at jvander51@gmail.com 

Cold Wax Part II Tools and Applications


Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.~Frank Borman


This is part two of my Cold Wax post covering tools and applications. Please read part one before continuing if you haven't done so.  We've talked about the supports and types of wax in my previous post.  Essentially, it is best to use a harder support if you want to use thicker layers of wax. Below are the lists of tools and mediums used with CWM.  

Tools for applying the wax:  Brayers (2",4" & 6" Speedball and Inovart ), brushes (all sizes, all types), Princeton Catalyst Blades, pallet knives,  Princeton Catalyst Silicone Wedge, Dough Scraper by Wilton 

Tools for drawing:  Charcoal, Graphite stick (preferably soft), oil sticks, oil bars, bamboo skewer, stencils, doily, Q-tips, oil pastels, beeswax crayons, knitting needles, pottery scraper, pottery carving tool, oil pen, stamps, the above Princeton Catalyst Blades and Wedges can also be used for marking.

Tools for creating texture:  Rubber basting brush, steel wool, yarn or string, plastic combs, pattern tracers, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, whisk broom, muslin, florist mesh, cheese cloth

Mediums: Following to thicken CW-Marble dust, lime, coffee, dirt, graphite powder, Gilder paste, sand; Citra Solve and Gamsol to remove layers of wax, Gamblin Solvent free Gel, Solvent free fluid and Liquin to thin mixture or glaze.

Application: Prior to putting down the first layer of CWM, prime your support with a solid color of oil paint of your choice.  Let the it dry throughly before laying down layers of CWM.  Take a large sheet of Reynolds Freezer Paper, tape it to a flat surface.  This will be your pallet.  Lay out your pallet of oil paint, take a dollop of oil paint and mix with pallet knife 30 to 50% of CWM.  Then take your brayer and roll into mixture on Freezer Paper. Roll the mixture on primed support.  Take another color and do the same, etc.  You can lay wet into wet if you have a light touch.  You can dry in between layers. 

It is advised that you work on more than one painting at a time to allow for drying time. You will have different drying times for different colors of oil paint

You can then build up by layering with larger amounts by applying it with pallet knife, squeegee, wedge etc. As the wax dries, you can start to scrape, revealing the layers below, or you can use any of your drawing tools. Drawing is much easier if the layers are somewhat dry.  It is easier to mark when it is tacky and not completely dry.  

There isn't one way to use CWM.  I noticed through my research that each artist creates their own style.  Some artist may create abstracts, while other may create landscapes, still life or figures. Some artists may prefer the squeegee, wedge, scraper or pallet knife to apply the cold wax and oil paint mixture rather than the roller or a combination of both.  

Experiment and have fun, discover your own way with CWM.

Below are a couple of videos using Cold Wax Medium.  






The true method of knowledge is experiment. (William Blake)

Lately, I had the opportunity to take a Cold Wax Medium workshop with Melinda Cootsona.  It was a perfect compliment to my previous workshop I took with Martin Campos.  CWM has changed my perceived way of creating by lending a process in which artistic play and experimentation occurs. Cold wax effects are created by using many layers thick and thin, transparent and opaque, using brayers, squeegees, pallet knives, etc. Through scraping and scratching you are able to discover the underlying layers of colors and affects.  Adding to and taking away creates an intuitive process that allows the artist and art to reveal itself. Reduction becomes as important as adding to.  What is underneath becomes as important as what is on the surface. Isn't that true about our lives as well? 

Currently, I'm aware of three brands of Cold Wax Medium; Gamblin, Dorland and Evans. Evans also makes a Cold Wax Paint.  Gamblin's CWM is simply a pharmaceutical grade beeswax, Gamsol and a small amount of alkyd resin.  As the Gamsol evaporates out of the medium the soft wax harden, similar to the consistency of wax of a candle.  The difference between CWM and encaustic is that CWM can be malleable without heat; the Gamsol is the heat substitute. There is a special medium for encaustic. CWM should not be heated. And it is wise to not mix the different brands of CWM, since the brands have different ingredients.  The advantage to using Gamblin brand is that the mediums that they provide are compatible with the wax.

Detail CWM
Detail CWM

Cold Wax Medium can be mixed directly with oil paint; usually a mixture of 30% to 50% wax.  When using CWM in higher percentages on stretched canvas it is best to first add to the wax 25-50% Galkyd Gel, Solvent-Free Gel, or for a more fluid mixture, Galkyd.  These mediums aid in giving flexibility to the CWM.   The more medium added to the wax the faster the layer will dry and the more wax added the more translucent the layer.  When using on rigid supports you can use a higher amount of CWM.  Although the rigid supports help, the more wax used the softer more dissolvable the paint layer. Using some medium helps strengthen the wax.  If you prefer a gloss finish you can add Neo Meglip and Galkyd G-Gel by Gamblin to the CWM.  For texture marble dust, sand, coffee, graphite powder, powdered lime, coffee ground, powdered pigment, and even dirt can be added to mixture.  I'm sure there are other grounds you can explore. 

CWM allows you to have a variety of layers.  No longer is it necessary to have lean first you can mix the thickness of layers using different ratios of wax to paint and grounds. 

A variety of supports can be used with CWM, although the more flexibility the support the more fragile the painting will be.  It is recommended to use thinner layers of wax on canvas and paper.  The various supports are Arches Oil Paper (doesn't have to be gessoed) and comes in two sizes, other types of paper may be used but it must be gessoed, Gessoed Canvas, Gessoed Boards, canvas boards and cradled boards. When using Arches Oil Paper it should be mounted on board and it should be framed under glass.  Priming your support first with a solid color of oil paint is advantageous to prevent seeing white of support when scraping. Also, it may be better to be working on more than one support to account for drying time.

Detail CWM
Detail CWM

CWM is not necessarily new, but the ways in which it is being used are. Thus there are new avenues to explore and discover.  Nothing is written in stone yet.

Because there is so much information I decided to have a two-part post on Cold Wax Medium.  Next week's post will be about techniques and tools. 

Below are some links in the mean time I think you will find helpful.

Rebecca Crowell will be publishing a book on CWM "Cold Wax Medium: Technique, Concepts & Conversations" that will be out late 2016, but sorry to say the first edition has already been presold.  She did mention that there would be an additional release in 2017. 

In the meantime, I found "Wabi Sabi Painting with Cold Wax, Adding Body, Texture and Transparency to your Art" very helpful, especially in techniques. 

Oil and Wax Resources for Cold Wax Painting 

Step by Step CW Painting by Sherril Kahn  

If you have any questions please add them to comments below.  I will then answer them in the next post.  Thank you!