March 11,2018

Well here we are back at the old BLOG.  This past week I have been testing a new medium for me.  This stuff’s been around probably as long as artists have been using Encaustic (wax medium).  Painting with wax has been kind of scary to me because of it’s inherent volatility.  I mean it’s wax right?  That can’t be safe for archival purposes right?  Jasper Johns would probably beg to differ.  (see Flag series).

I want my stuff to be looked at 1000 years from now when they pull it out of some bunker after a nuclear holocaust.  After all , Global Warming would have long since melted the color right off any wax based Artworks.  Despite all this dreary future for paintings many artists have embraced Encaustic with new vigor.  Art supply companies in their infinite wisdom have seized the day on this and swiftly moved to invent new products and reinvent old ones to meet the consumer need.  Why those cave artists from back in the 1960s were fine with their muffin tins sitting on top of a hot plate and melting wax with pigment and damar resin.  They even stooped to melting crayons to paint with.  How pedestrian.  Nowadays we have multi adjustable warming palettes, special brushes, special boards to apply the paint to as well as a multitude of waxes and pigments to make wax painting a new science. Maybe my Art could withstand a zombie apocalypse.

Still a bit nervous about it, I decided to try Cold Wax.  A pricey little product you add directly to oil paints and, when done correctly, can give that heavy slathered on paint look of the thick encaustic.  It’s about the consistency of Crisco shortening.  According to Gamblin, the name brand I bought, you add about 10% to your paints.  According to those crazy artists on YouTube, some add as much as 50% to their paint.  I was a bit skeptical as I watched videos on “How To” use the medium when I noticed that most just use the stuff to create very texture rich non-objective abstract artworks.  Artists were putting it on with plastic trowels and brayers.  Saying things like they love the way they can go back in and scratch the surface down to the initial colors.  Hmmm.

I’m currently working on a piece using more like 20% ratio.  I’m using brushes.  Not a fan of palette knife painting.  I will post my results and additional comments soon………