One of the things I love about the painting process is how each phase can assert itself and satisfy my experimental tendencies. In this painting, there were several layers applied with acrylic paint which helped me play, loosen up, create texture, and just get something going (sometimes this is the hardest part – the blank panel!). After several painting sessions, I put away my acrylics and started working over the underpainting with cold wax and oil paint.  I mixed galkyd gel (G Gel) with the cold wax (1:3) to strengthen the final wax surface (the G Gel has resin in it), and this mixture was then blended with the oil paint in an approximately 1:1 ratio. The consistency is soft and easy to apply with silicone brushes. I have found that I can work quite solvent free by thinning this mixture and cleaning my brushes and tools with pure citrus oil.  
Cold wax and oil paint is applied to a 36x36in Baltic Birch Panel with an acrylic underpainting.
After white paint (mixed with cold wax) is applied carefully over the newsprint masking, I use a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the masks, revealing what is underneath.
I mix subtle glazes using very little paint and a lot of cold wax; this is applied with rubber ceramic tools.   
Newsprint is torn and cut into shapes and secured with a dab of cold wax to the surface. A gentle touch is needed to paint over the paper to make sure it doesn’t move out of place.
This is how the painting looked after all the newsprint was removed. I layered more masks over these early shapes to further reduce or modify them. 
I continued to use newsprint to mask smaller shapes as the painting developed. ​

One of the things I really enjoy in the cold wax/oil process is the ability to use lots of different drawing tools (graphite, carbon pencils, Saral transfer paper, etc.) on the surface of the work.  This painting is about small bits of color, directional line and texture.  The large shape in the upper left corner was achieved using a yellowish glaze.

I’d love to hear from you! Please share your experiences working with cold wax and feel free to ask questions about this technique or share your variations! I’m trying a new commenting system (Disqus) and your comments on this blog will help me determine if this is a user friendly system! 

(PS – I will be teaching a cold wax/oil workshop in Mineral Point, Wisconsin “OIL AND WAX: PERSONAL COLOR AND POWERFUL DESIGN“, June 9-12, 2016. Click here for more information!

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