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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Creating Oil and Cold Wax Pieces in 5 Hours

Putting down the first layers

I recently returned from teaching at Artiscape, an amazing retreat organized by European Papers. I had so much fun at this retreat in Dublin, Ohio. 

The format of the retreat is to have shorter classes with a five hour maximum. Did I dare have just five hours to teach oil/cold wax painting? Well, I've gotten more daring the older I get, so I went for it and it worked out. Students quickly got it that they needed to work on a whole bunch of pieces at once. They worked on Arches oil paper and stone paper and they learned how to use a solvent to create a looser paint film while still retaining the cold wax look. 

Students also made good use of the techniques of incising into a wet or partially dry paint layer and of scraping back paint with a pottery tool to reveal previous layers. The shiny areas you'll see in some of the pieces were made by adhering Mona Lisa Simple Leaf onto the support using the cold wax as a glue. Some of the pieces incorporate collage, using a variety of lightweight papers.

I didn't do so well at photographing the work, unfortunately. I've made heavy use of the "unsharp mask" filter in many of the images, and there's my shadow quite visible in most pictures. Still, I hope you can get an idea of the boldness and gusto of the class participants!

  One of the best parts of the class is when we tear off the frog tape masking the edges of the painting. (See above and below.)

Here's some bold abandon!

It's important to comb your painting!

Okay, I'm realizing how long this post is going to be. But it's almost all pictures, so keep scrollin' and enjoy the variety of joyous work.

Yes, Virginia, you can add rubber stamping to your piece.


  1. thank you so much for taking the time to share this plethora of marvelous paintings!! I am dying to get back to cold wax once my son moves out and I have my art room again-I need alot of space:) I am going to get some Arches paper too because I also like the idea of less drying time. Would you be willing to share what ratio of solvent you use? Thanks so much!

  2. I'd be glad to share my ration of solvent to cold wax and paint if there were such an offical thing, Linda! I just experiemment. I put citra-solv or Gamsol in a small squeeze bottle and add a bit at a time. Sometimes I'll use a spray bottle to create drips. I try not to use so much solvent that I lose that cold wax texture look. Vague, but true! Hope it helps a bit:)

  3. thanks so much Serena. I'll let you know when I give it a try:)