I’m trying a brand new medium. I mean a medium that’s not only new to me, but pretty much new to modern art supplies. I say ‘pretty much new to modern art supplies’, because there have been recorded formulations since antiquity that were similar. I am here referring to Punic wax.
Within the scholarship about the Fayum mummy portraits, it is undecided whether cold or hot wax was used, but the wax I’m talking about today is a water-soluble cold wax paint.
I only know of two water-soluble wax paints in modern formulations available today: one is Cuni paints from Spain and the other is Ceracolors made in the U.S.A and sold by Natural Pigments. I’m going to be testing out Ceracolors:
I started to play around with the paints on my trusty pieces of mat board:
The paint comes out of the tubes well, much like traditional paints, and the most wonderful thing is they don’t have any odor, not even a slightly oily smell. You can see that the titanium white I’m testing out is thin like a regular paint, not like the molten wax of hot encaustic. Ceracolors can be heated to speed up drying and curing, but if heated when wet, the heat will cause bubbles to form.
I mixed up the paint with a spatula on my glass palette. They mix really well. The consistency is different in that it’s slightly lumpy and light but in a good way. Usually if paint is lumpy it has hard bits that don’t dissolve, but in this case the paint feels a little mousse-like. It’s hard to describe and I don’t know if this description makes any sense.
The paint application is smooth and has great coverage. One thing though, the paint dries very fast. If you’re painting with a brush and doing glazes it will be difficult for you. As along as I can adapt to the characteristics of the paint, the fast drying time can work for me. For example, I like doing glazes, but with oils it takes forever. With Ceracolors, the paint dries quickly so as long as you work in thin layers scumbling. Your progression is much faster. The fast glazing possibility is very satisfying to me.
The paint is great to work with using the palette knife and mixes very well with water. The compensating factor for the quick-drying paint is that it re-wets pretty well. Here’s a closeup of the face I did in about 30 minutes. It has about 5 layers of paint.
Surrounding the face, I just used a flat brush to paint one-stroke quick stripes so you can see how the paint goes on. This paint is very versatile and I’m exited about the many possibilities. And like any wax-based paint, you can polish it to a lovely sheen when it’s dry.
I will post further experiments with this paint as they happen.