I’ve been without wheels for over a year but yesterday, I was gifted with a Ford Focus Titanium! I promised myself that the first place I’d visit would be the sea. Well, the weather is not playing ball today, so my trip to the beach will have to wait a couple more days. The Norfolk coastline is not too far away from where I live (too far to walk though). I think the idea of going to the water was on my mind when I started this little painting. It began like this:
But it has ended up like this:
I used enamels (gold, sapphire blue, red, white and yellow), resin pigment inks and acrylics. It is signed on the lower right hand corner with my initials and measures 10″ x 8″ x 1/2″ or 25.5cm x 20cm x 1 cm – I’ve put it in my shop here.
Oh aren’t we all fed up with winter and Covid yet?! I know I am. I have been studying quite a lot, so haven’t had much time to paint for myself in a while. Today, I decided to have a go with my Polyvine acrylic enamel paints, which I’m really loving. I bought them to use for the coursework (I’m now studying Understanding Painting Medium) and they were a great investment. I have a lot of little canvases lying around, so today was summer rose day! These roses grew outside one of the houses we rented a couple of years ago, they were always a delight.
Canvasses are 10x8x 1/2″ or 25.5x20x1cm
If you would like to purchase one or both, please email me: email@example.com
I love Wales! I go there as often as I can to visit my aunts and uncle, cousins and assorted hangers on. I’m not Welsh (at least I don’t think there is any Welsh in my immediate past) but I adore the place. This little sketch was inspired by a memory I have of walking about ‘on the top’ of a steep sheep covered hill, coming across these two old trees huddled together against the wind.
I am finding myself drawn to cold wax paintings as well as encaustic painting techniques – I think I am more ‘in love’ with the idea of encaustic work, as it seems that the depth of colour obtained in some of the works I’ve seen lately online, is really spectacular. While I was looking into cold wax techniques, I bought a small tub of what I thought was cold wax to use as a painting medium. It is cold wax but used primarily for batik work, which I didn’t realise until I started trying it out a few months ago (with no success whatsoever) It looks like this …
I suppose this is yet another reason why buying art equipment from Amazon or eBay is sometimes not the best solution. I should have gone to … (no, not Specsavers but maybe Jacksons or SAA).
Anyway, to cut a long story short. As I left B&Q on Saturday morning (we’d gone to get some plants, as the nurseries are now open), I stopped at their ‘off-cut’ bin and grabbed a couple of pieces of wood. I thought it might be useful to use these bits of scrap wood to try out both encaustic and cold wax work, as I’ve tried tiles and paper and I think wood is the best support for both types of wax painting. I chose a piece of (I think) veneered wood, not sure ‘cos my knowledge of wood is rather non-existent. But it seemed like a good enough size to try out the cold wax medium and oils.
I started off squiggling with charcoal vine stick and then applying yellow oil to the surface, just to see if it would actually go onto the board without smearing off straight away. I didn’t prime the board. Then I thought I should edge it with some tape, so that at the end I’d have a neat finish to the ‘painting’, however it turned out. I used a glass palette (it’s an old photo frame that I’ve reinforced the edges of with tape, so I don’t cut myself).
Then I dolloped a sizeable amount of the wax medium onto the palette and started playing about with the colours, applying to the board and just messing about. I didn’t have a plan or composition, I was just having fun with the texture.
For the most part, I used a plastic palette knife to apply the paint, which is both easy and hard, depending on how thick the paint is, or how smooth you want it to be.
Whilst I was enjoying plastering on the paint, I was not happy with the bumpy clumpy finish. So, I got out my craft iron. Well, it’s oil paint and medium, a bit of heat should smooth it out, right?
The iron smooshed up the paint, making it smooth in some areas and then when I lifted the iron I got a vein like texture (in the front of the image above) – similar to how encaustic paint works on paper when heated with an iron. I thought that was quite cool but decided to put the iron away, else I’d end up burning the whole thing. I waited for it all to dry and noticed that certain parts of the paint had dried to a dull matt finish. I tried polishing with a tissue but that didn’t do anything. I then decided to apply a coat of the cold wax to fill in the grooves (even out the lumpiness) and see if it would create a surface lustre.
I left it overnight and then buffed it up with a soft cloth and kitchen towel, it did come up to a soft sheen.
The finished landscape reminds me of a day, a few years ago, when I was out in the sun roaming around with my family. We were hiking in the Southern Drakensberg. Weird how that memory rose to the surface in this little painting.
If I’m going to develop cold wax painting anymore, I need to get the right wax – Gamblin or Dorland and also a primer/gesso to use on the board before starting the painting.
Cold Wax vs Encaustic – the big debate I’m having right now with myself.
I know that I am more inclined towards encaustic wax work and feel that this is the medium best suited to how I work. I want the layers, not the clomping thick impasto effect that I’ve ended up with in this cold wax exercise.
Cold wax is easier to set up, safer to work with and I basically have all I need to get going – besides the correct wax.
Encaustic equipment is expensive, there is specific stuff that needs to be bought:
I already have a kitchen appliance that was bought to keep food warm but hardly used, which might work to keep tins of encaustic paint and medium warm. If it doesn’t then, I’ve seen an electric griddle with thermostate (very important) for about £30, which isn’t too bad.
I have seen tins at our local homeware shop that could be used to hold encaustic medium and they have lids.
I’m not keen on getting a butane torch, ‘cos I’m a klutz sometimes and worry I would end up setting fire to the house. I wonder if i can justs get away with using a craft heat gun? I would also need a small fire extinguisher.
Ampersand boards are the professional choice for encaustic work. R&F have a starter set that includes sample boards to try, as well as wax and paints. However, I quite like the idea of reclaiming scrap wood from B&Q and doing my bit for recycling.
Encaustic medium is pricey, so are the paints but it looks like they are used sparingly and the layers built up slowly, which is what I’m going for. Also, things can be embedded in the layers – like leaves, fabric, papers etc. etc.
I have plenty of hair brushes, so wouldn’t have to go out and buy more to start off with.
Maybe before I invest in the encaustic studio equipment, I should first get the correct cold wax and have a few more practises with that – perhaps with more knowledge and the correct equipment, I can get a smooth, layered, translucent effect on a board with cold wax?
I recently obtained a small sample kit which included the encaustic stylus /mini-iron tool and two other brush heads, plus three very tiny blocks of encaustic wax colours (red, blue and yellow – no white, which would have been helpful). The kit included a postcard sized sample of ‘encaustic’ card, which is basically the same as photo card. I first tried the waxes out on the postcard sized paper:
I had an old watercolour painting I’d started a while ago on some very thick, textured watercolour paper and decided to try and see if I could work on top of it with the encaustic waxes. I also have some oil crayons, so thought I’d try and use them as well to put in some additional colour contrasts and the much needed white.
I notice when ‘polishing’ at the end of the process, that there are muddy areas in amongst the red where I have used the oil crayons and some other oil pastels – these do not buff up properly and their colours are nowhere near as bright as the proper encaustic wax paints.
I left the exercises for a while and then whilst I was reading up a bit on encaustic grounds, discovered that it was possible to use ceramic tiles. I have a small box of these that I bought for some other project but never used all of them, so today I decided to try them out with the encaustic wax paints. I also brought out my old craft iron and small travel hair dryer (which works like a craft heat gun). I first cleaned off the tile with isopropyl alcohol and then taped the sides with some masking tape, to give a natural border. I wasn’t sure if this would work, or whether it would pull the wax off the tile at the end but had to give it a go!
Then I started to work on the tile, first using the small tool to apply dabs of wax paint and then using the iron to smooch it all around.
It ended up looking like this:
I used the rest of the white oil crayons that i have left, so when I came to do the next one, I thought I’d try a white from my el-cheapo water soluble oils
Alas, even though it looked quite pretty after I’d done more work on it and removed the tape, the stuff just didn’t adhere to the tile and while I was trying to buff it up to a shine, the wax surface started to rub off.
I went back to trying just the encaustic wax paints for the next tile, which I tried out using just blue first but then broke down and added Caran D’Ache white water-soluble oil pastel, it worked a lot better than the el-cheapo water-soluble oil pastels.
The third tile experiment was just using the encaustic wax paints:
The wax is a lot thicker on tile 3 and I like how I created what looks like a tree. Yes, there are dots of a lilac on there, that is an oil wax crayon.
I have a packet of postcard sized glossy photo paper and used this for the last experiment.
I got a bit better applying the wax to the paper with this attempt and then when I put the iron on it, it all went crazy! I loved how the iron smooshed it all about. I then continued to work on it with the tiny-iron on the encaustic stylus tool – I’m quite pleased with this one. The iron mashed up the yellow and red to give a lovely golden brown. also because this is white paper, I was able to lift off sections of the wax to create light in the picture. It was easy to burnish up.
Don’t waste time with cheap wax crayons or using water-soluble oil pastels as they just don’t buff up nicely and most times the wax just doesn’t adhere properly to the ground. Spend some dosh and buy good quality encaustic paints/mediums. Get hold of some panels to work from to make larger pieces. get lots of white. Not necessary to buy a heat gun or encaustic iron at this stage.
I am using this post to test out connection to my existing blog community on WordPress. I am not certain that my website is visible to you all and I’d appreciate comment if you can or can’t see the website via this post.
I don’t know about you but I’m getting a bit sick and tired of grey skies. Here in South Norfolk we have the most gorgeous spring and summer colours – I’m dying to see powder blue skies, brilliant greens, oil seed flowering in the fields and daffodils … all the happy colours that make your heart sing. So this is a bit of a wishful whimsy …
Soft pastels on paper
Art Spectrum soft pastels on Daler Rowney acide free dark brown Ingres coloured paper. Actual size of painting is about 30cm x 20cm
The paper size is 16″ x 12″ or 406mm x 305mm
Photo number two – to show stroke texture and third photo to show background colour of paper.
Yep, changed the theme is … not sure if people like this design, please let me know if you think it’s irritating and I’ll revert back to the old theme!
I did a painting with these chalky soft pastels that I received over Christmas of a Norfolk windmill with storm clouds looming in the background – I thought the dark sky would make for an interesting contrast with the colours of the buildings, bathed in sunlight. However, I just could not get the intensity of the background right – I was using a watercolour paper and even though this was a very expensive ground, it was completely incorrect for this style of picture.
Then today I did another painting (larger than the windmill one) of a landscape on precoloured (sand/khaki) roughly textured very cheap paper and the results were noticeably different. I’m pleased with the way this one turned out, as the reference photo I used was from a very old book I have Scottish landscapes that are now mostly gone to urbanisation and the photo was ‘green’ and very dull. This one is 14″ x 10″ …
I should get my new materials, paper etc. next week and am really looking forward to trying it all out.
Happy New Year to everyone!
Due to the fact that the windmill pastel painting was done on watercolour paper, I discovered that by using water, I was able to get a much darker effect with the background.
I adjusted the other painting (now framed, ‘scuse crap photo) , took out the boats in the right hand mid section of the loch and change the sky (It was very naive in the first attempt).
Underpainting of alcohol inks, added area of gold metal effect medium, then overpainted with oils (not artist quality) on canvas board.
I didn’t have any linseed oil or other mediums, as well as cleaning solvents, so was hesitant to try out these oils but then discovered that I could use Baby oil to dilute the paint and to clean the brushes, also much better on the skin! So far the baby oil doesn’t appear to have created any dull patches – the paint is still wet, I expect it will only be dry and fully cured in a month’s time. The oils and canvas board came with the set I describe below.
Soft pastel studies – my first attempts using this medium:
‘Dartmoor landscape’ from reference photo in a book.
Approx. 11″ x 7″
Soft pastels (not artist quality) on cheap scrapbooking type project paper (blue).
Approx. 5½” x 7″
Soft pastels (not artist quality) on cheap scrapbooking type project paper (blue).
I was given a compact artist’s kit comprising oils, acrylics and watercolour materials, plus palette and sample canvas boards, sketching pads, brushes, painting knives etc. etc. for a Christmas present. These sample paintings are the results of playing about with the stuff in the kit.
I have never used soft pastels (chalk pastels) before and am finding them really fun to work with. I enjoy the way I can layer over the colours and blend to get quite interesting effects. This has inspired me to try and purchase better quality soft pastels as soon as I can, as well as some good quality paper – I’d like to turn out more impressive work in the future – so watch this space!
I hope everyone who visits this page had a lovely Christmas and everything of the very best fo 2017 – let’s hope it’s a positive year for all of us!
Yes, I’ve been absent from WordPress for quite a while … the whole of November has been a bit of a bugger up on my side – mainly because I’ve been in and out of hospital. I’m on the mend now and getting stronger all the time but it’s been a very long, stressful and frustrating process, don’t recommend it.
I was doodling about with inks recently, just to see if I could still do something artistic while I was feeling so down. So here are the results … one (the daisies) was a request from a friend of my daughters, I hope she likes it.
“Inky summer sky and field” 14″ x 10″ Inks on A3 mixed media paper 250gsm