FEAR (False evidence that appears real)



How much fear have you built into your life?  Some fears are obvious threats and some are so subtle you don’t realize that you have them.  As of now, we have a definite outside threat.  How odd, being isolated forces us to come to grips with our values and lifestyle.

I have just realized that not only has my fear escalated, because of the coronavirus it, has also made me aware of the small fears that I live with daily that consume me.  The virus has forced me to face my daily fears and ask “why must I have these”?  Are these fears forced upon myself, or are the actually valid.

How often are we faced with going into our studio looking at the blank canvas and recognizing that we are afraid?  Why?  Rationally, it doesn’t make sense that we would be afraid of a benign canvas.  The canvas isn’t going to jump out at you and attack you. It does though, bring up our vulnerability to being judged not only by ourselves, but also the fear of other's criticisms.  We may feel that we are not worthy as well, or afraid that our visions cannot come to fruition.  

So many fears we have developed over the years and the news and advertising industry has not helped the situation.  We have become brainwashed and believe things that are not true.

We also have forgotten how powerful we are as an individual and look too much for others to solve our problems.  

I do believe for me that this pandemic has forced me to come to grips with my fears and also discover my strengths.  All of a sudden, believing I am gluten sensitive becomes a hoax I developed in my mind.  How many other things have I caused myself to believe that are not true? 

What we once thought was important isn’t as important anymore.  I only hope that after this is all over that I remember what I have learned and don’t back to things as usual.  This is a time to reevaluate what is true and what isn’t, what is of value and what isn’t, and what should continue in our lives and what needs to be thrown away. [recent max=1 template=caption/]

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!




Martin Campos "Untying the Knots"

Some people can cross your path and change your whole direction~Anonymous 

I had the great opportunity to recently attend a workshop by Martin Campos, PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) instructor, artist and philosopher offered by Melinda Cootsona. My intention prior to going to the workshop was not to learn how to paint the figure, which Martin excels in but to learn how to paint outside the lines.  He did not disappoint. 

I am finding even at my age the desire to learn is powerful and perhaps to unlearn is just as important; "untying the knots that have been tied".


Martin Campos was influenced by his teacher Alex Kanevsky, who gives us permission to destroy and resurrect.  The destruction becomes the jewels through transformation; bits and pieces left as signs of their existence.

Martin beckons us to "dialogue with painting, by eradicating and bringing it back.  You have to be willing to let something fall apart to discover what is there."


Martin goes to the canvas not knowing what is going to happen. This can be a fearful place for me.  This is totally against my process.  Although, I allow the painting to tell me what it needs, in the beginning I usually tend to know where I am going or where I prefer to go.  Now after taking this workshop, I feel lost, but also exhilarated to discover a side of my creativity untouched.  Instead of controlling the paint, I will allow it to control me.

Anytime I experience a teacher of this magnitude with such revolutionary thoughts, it causes me to sit and ponder, to wonder where my art will be taking me now.  But, I guess that's the point; "I DON'T KNOW". What a fearful and exciting place to be! 



Is Art Purposeful?


"Camden" 36" x 36" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas
"Camden" 36" x 36" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas


The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.~Pablo Picasso

Being an artist can be very difficult, especially if you are looking at it in a purposeful sort of way.  Just being alive is purposeful and certainly taking care of my son with Down’s, although humbling at times, is purposeful.  But, I have to ask myself is creating art “purposeful”?

 Here are some of the responses from my artist friends:

"I often think of how all of the arts have influenced me, taught me, enlightened and delighted me. I would suggest that if just one person is moved to tears, or made more aware of the human condition, or is able to see oneself or the world in a new way, then yes, making art is purposeful to humanity. I bought an abstract painting of water by a local artist, Peter Carolin, and had it hanging in my living room for several years. One day I was standing on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. I found myself looking at a patch of water and noticed the layers and elliptical patches of color intermingling to make a moving tapestry, reflections of the blue sky, white clouds, and the transparent patches that saw through to the yellow sand, and inexplicable patches of green water. I was amazed - it was like Peter's painting. Although I grew up by the water, I never saw it like this before. I understood at that moment that Peter's abstract painting had taught me - literally - how to see the world that was so familiar to me in a brand new way. "~Jim Carpenter

"I believe that art serves several purposes beneficial to humanity. First, it is a visceral form of communication. More important, I think, is that art can inspire, invigorate, even calm both viewers and creators. Artists are essential because we are exploring our universe and sharing our explorations in unique ways that can inspire each of us to (hopefully) positive action. There's also nothing wrong in simply adding more beauty to the world."~Patricia Vener

"Art has the power:

To give voice to a community

To transcend traditional communication processes

To express community issues and cultural values

To document history

To effect change

To open hearts and minds

To inspire, to motivate, to heal the spirit

To increase economic development

To create and maintain legacies"

Col Mitchell~ said the above so eloquently from a mission statement from Huntsville Art Society

"Art is an articulation of our interaction with nature and one another. Without art, the creative process, which involves both the act of creating and the process of participating (intellectually and emotionally) in the artist's vision, we would lose our humanity. At its deepest level, art is an expression of both our spirituality and our place in the universe."~Charles van Heck

 Joseph Campbell believed that the artist is a mystic with a craft that enables the truth to be brought to consciousness.

 Artists are the image-makers, the seers, the prophets, they create new vision and enlighten.  Artists can build-up the human spirit and in turn our culture.

 What is your answer? How is art purposeful for you?

*ART20K footage completed 15,078 square inches

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email jvander51@msn.com or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!