Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, September 28, 2018

There's Something About Cold Wax Painting

"On the Crowded Streets" - Oil, Cold Wax - ©Mary Montague Sikes
There's something about Cold Wax Painting that intrigues me. I started out long ago, first working in pastels and then oils. The buttery quality of the oil paints was nice. I liked that they didn't dry right away, so changes could be made later on with the paint still wet. That it didn't dry right away was also a quality that I disliked because the paints easily got muddy.

In those days, I was mostly doing portraits and figurative art. Because I used turpentine to thin the paint and to clean brushes, an annoying dullness became part of the images. I also disliked the odor of turpentine that permeated our house when I painted. It was with great excitement that I discovered acrylic paints. I eventually gave up oils completely and never looked back until recently.

After reading a lot about the cold wax medium, I decided to try it. When I took a workshop at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond with Lisa Boardwine, I was completely hooked. I loved building up layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax--Lisa calls it creating history, then using a variety of tools to remove portions of the surface. More layers of paint add to the history, and then begins the mystery of discovering the imagery that lies hidden beneath the colors.

Mixing cold wax and oil is really a fun way to paint. Best of all, cleanup is with odorless mineral spirits. I can incorporate my love of making a textured surface by using the cold wax over the heavy professional grade gesso I can still get from Utrecht. Experimenting with Cold Wax Painting is truly intriguing. I'm excited about my new work that includes "On the Crowded Streets" above.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That really is an interesting way to create an image - adding then removing.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

It is Alex! As a sculptor early in my career, I especially love this process.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's been years since I used oils because they are so messy to clean.

BTW, my father always used gasoline to clean paint from brushes. Probably not the safest!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Diane, you will love this method. I hated the smell and the mess from turpentine and oils. This is so different!