Friday, March 19, 2021

Second Try and Book Info

I found another guinea pig painting for my oil and cold wax experimentation. I'm painting over old unvarnished paintings. This one was painted in 2020 and though it achieved the goals I was after at the time, I knew I would want to loosen it up at some point so I didn't apply varnish. 

I began by mixing a more saturated version of the previous background color in oil with the addition of about 50% Dorland's Cold Wax Medium. After application tp the painting with a palette knife, I used the silicone bowl scraper to spread it out leaving some of the previous background color showing through. 

I would like to show you progress photos but once I start mixing color with wax I am aware that the wax begins drying and since I am not adding solvent such as OMS, I try to work quickly. I paint quickly anyway so the process suits me. I finished the painting yesterday and posted it on Instagram. Just before bed I took another look at it and this morning I made adjustments. Once again, a very fun process for me, painting without a brush. See book information below that many of you have requested. 

"Lo and Behold," oil and cold wax, 14 x 11 inches
©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Information from the publishers: More than just a technical guide, this 320-page, fully illustrated book provides comprehensive information for those who are new to cold wax, as well as technical expertise and inspiration to those already using the medium. The authors' advice and experience--along with the work and words of over 100 artists from around the world--will strengthen your work and studio practice, suggest exciting new directions, and support thoughtful self-critique. Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin feel strongly that the "why" of using cold wax medium is as important as the “how.” Many of the artists whose work appears in the book speak about collaboration, process, and experimentation. The authors include their own thoughts about these topics, and more. And because readers also want clear information and direction for working with cold wax, large sections of the book are devoted to important practical information, including: materials, detailed lists of supplies, studio setup, illustrated how-to sections, and in-depth discussion of procedures. Book purchasers will also have exclusive access to additional bonus material available online.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Painting with Joy via Bowl Scraper

"Pack Up All My Cares and Woe," oil and cold wax, 10x10 inches
©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Something just happened and I'm not sure I can even explain how it happened. My best guess is that I was open to the idea because the time was right. Now, who makes the right time - me or the Universe - is another question. Anyway...

I have had a jar of Dorland Wax Medium for at least 7 years. I moved it from my previous studio to this one. I used some a couple years ago to glaze a gouache painting so it could be framed without glass. Then, last week, I came across a video of an artist working in oil and cold wax. The work was abstract, I didn't have an instant rapport with the artist and I didn't watch the video to the end. But my notes from the video included info about a comprehensive book on cold wax medium. Rave reviews on the internet about the book. I ordered it. It is a tome, I doubt I will ever read all of it but it carefully and simply laid out information on supplies. I ordered a couple new tools to try the process of adding cold wax to my oil paint. 

Next came a video conversation between the two authors of the cold wax book and the introduction of something I didn't know I even thought about before. Texture. Texture - either visual or literal - as one of the design elements of a painting along with color, value, line and shape. 

In reflecting on my own work I realize I have intuitively been using texture. Paper texture played a major role in my colored pencil work. When I moved on to pastel, I spattered and used broken color to achieve texture both visual and literal as well as silicone tools for textural line work. In oil painting, all texture work has been visual rather than literal, based most likely on my reluctance to be generous with oil paint. But, unbeknownst to me, I was about to embark on an art-changing event by adding wax to my paint.

With no idea where to start or what to paint, I chose an unvarnished oil painting from my 2020 year of working with a mentor. I decided to use the still-life floral image as an underpainting and play around with  oil and cold wax. I read that I should put a little pile of wax on my palette and mix it 50/50 with oil paint using a palette knife. Apply some color to the painting with a palette knife.

OK. Did that. Then, just start painting and probably not with a brush. How about a silicone bowl scraper? It's like a big half circle. 

From that point on, I did everything with the Messermeister! Mixed paint, applied paint, removed paint, made lines, made texture, removed texture. No brush to make familiar marks. An all-new process. Oh so fun! A joy to learn something new. I am going through my inventory now for more old paintings that could use a shot of joyfulness.