Cold Wax Painting
It’s a rare occurrence for one specific painting medium to have a whole genre of painting associated with it, but Cold Wax Medium is one such medium. Cold Wax Painting is unified by artists’ shared interest in experimentation, texture, and the physicality of paint layers.
Cold Wax Basics
The most significant difference between encaustic and cold wax is that, while with encaustic painting the wax must be molten to work with, and then reheated (fused) once it is applied to the surface, in cold wax painting there is no heat involved.
Cold Wax is an oil painting medium which is a buttery soft paste made of wax mixed with a small amount of solvent and resin. The cold wax paste is mixed with the oil paint on the palette. Cold wax adds body, transparency, and depth to the oil paint. It also speeds up drying time, increases the paint’s work ability, and does not require the special ventilation of encaustic.
What is Cold Wax?
The use of Cold Wax in art goes back thousands of years to cave painting where animal fat was combined with dry earth pigments such as reds and ochres and charcoal (for black)to create wall paintings. Turner was and avid user of beeswax in his large oil landscape.
Cold Wax Painting is any type of painting that heavily utilizes Cold Wax Medium into oil colors. In its own way, Cold Wax Painting blurs the line between oil painting and encaustic painting.
Cold Wax Painting is a style of oil painting in which the artist mixes a wax medium into the paint and uses the thickened body of paint to create a heavily textured surface. You can paint with a small amount of cold wax medium to make your paint matt instead of glossy and this would probably still be considered regular oil painting. But if you use a substantial amount of cold wax medium in your oil paint then most painters would call that ‘Cold Wax Painting’. Cold wax painters are often very experimental, as the medium leans itself to it.
Unlike encaustic painting where you must heat the wax to make it fluid enough to paint with, cold wax is made with wax and a solvent (and sometimes a resin or oil) so that it stays creamy and can be mixed with paint or pigment powders without heating.
How I use Cold Wax
After Ive laid out my oil paint on my glass plate, I add the cold wax paste onto a glass palette. I then mix the wax into the paint, varying the proportion of wax depending upon the amount of transparency I’m after.
Applying the cold wax and paint mixture is the exciting part. I use a variety of and any tool I can lay my hand on. Palette knives, squeegees, trowels, cabinet scrapers, old credit cards, rollers, cardboard, forks…
The paint has a creamy, buttery texture and spreads and layers beautifully. I often roll the paint first onto wax paper and then transfer the paint from the paper by blotting it onto the canvass. I also use oil sticks, wax crayons, charcoal, graphite, finger, back of the brush, whatever strikes my fancy.
After a day it can also be scraped away, revealing the underlying colors and creating more texture.
Insight Into the Artist
Thoughts on Art
[bctt tweet=”The creative spirit must acknowledge no limitations except that of the greatest creator of all…God. ”]
[bctt tweet=”Most people are predisposed to failure. Do you see the glass half empty or half full? Its the same glass. ”]
[bctt tweet=”In many cases the inability to start a painting (or anything) is the fear of failure. Real artists face their fear every day ”]
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