Oil and Cold Wax Painting

Oil and cold wax painting is one of my favorite ways to paint. It is not just a medium, it is an entire process distinct from other media. It has followers and OCW artists get hooked on its unique experimental process and look. I love working with the paints, mixing in the wax, spreading, layering, lifting, and tooling the paint into a unique art piece.

Oil and cold wax refers to oil paint mixed with cold wax medium. Cold wax medium is a soft mix of beeswax, mineral spirits and alkyd resin. Oil paints are mixed with this wax to give it body, change its opacity, and make it workable. It can to be manipulated with palette knives, scrapers, spatulas, skewers, combs and other tools.

I like the unpredictable nature of it. I start with my color choices, mix in the medium and start laying it down on the canvas with a bowl scraper. Messy! Requires lots of paper towels. I rarely use brushes with this. Since I paint intuitively I do not have any subject in mind. 

Intuitive painting is a meditative process that lets me create in the flow. With oil and cold wax this is a open mind process of laying down color, blending, adding, moving around, lifting, carving, and revealing the underpainting and layers. My surroundings recede, I feel lifted up out of myself to something larger, and am rested and clear when done.

Here is the blurb I post with most of my oil and cold wax paintings: 

This painting was created with oil paint mixed with cold wax medium. Each color is hand-mixed and applied in layers with a trowel. Oil and cold wax lends itself to abstract work with some layers being transparent and others opaque. The layers are scraped, incised, lifted and manipulated to reveal the background colors, to create texture, and add depth and atmosphere to the painting. Oil and cold wax dries to a matte textured finish.

I paint on canvas panels not cradled wood panels which are the typical surface used in oil and cold wax. I like to hold the panel turning it this way and that while I work on it like a strange cake.  Panels can be framed but can also be pierced - and strung with a cord or wire for hanging - a contemporary look where the 'framing' is part of the art piece, not an accessory. 

Bromeliad 1

See more of my Oil and Cold Wax Paintings at Cynthia Fletcher Studio.

FYI: Hot wax is called encaustic medium - paint and collage items are encased in colored melted wax - a very different process.