Ceracolors wax paint (part II)

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As promised, I am continuing my review of Ceracolors wax paint. Above is the completed test painting done on an untreated cradled wood panel. In my review part I, I tested the paint on some acid-free mat board. I really liked the way it handled and had no problems adjusting to its characteristics.

Today, my review continues with how the paint handles on the untreated wood panel. I applied Ceracolors in Titanium White straight onto the small scrap panel with a palette knife as a background. It kinda looks like vanilla frosting and it spreads easily like it, too. 😋

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Afterwards, I applied heat with a heat gun while the paint was still wet and noticed some bubbling.

When working with hot wax (encaustic) on untreated wood, there is always some off-gassing. This is because wood is always in various states of fluctuation, adjusting to the moisture level in the atmosphere. This fluctuation causes little pits to form in the molten wax and is inconsequential with regard to the structural integrity of the encaustic art work.

In the case of Ceracolors, I am working with a water miscible wax paint. As the paint dries and moisture evaporates, the paint forms cracks and flakes off slightly. This is bad news regardless of how cool the cracked texture looks in some parts. I’m hoping this problem will be resolved with the application of encaustic gesso (keeping fingers crossed and I will do another review that includes the results). The application of gesso on a substrate is standard practice in oil and acrylic painting.

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Now onto the good part. As you can see with the little abstract test piece, you can get some really neat effects. You can apply the paint thickly straight out of the tube for impasto. You can water it down and get light watercolour effects. And you can use sgrafitto technicque and scratch into the paint without waiting a long time for paint to dry. The sgrafitto technique produces white lines or pointillist effects in my piece. The little white dots and lines were made by just scratching in with a sharp metal wire. I love the fact that you can do this, and in some of my watercolour paintings I have used white acrylic paint to get the same effect.

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Below is another detail in close-up:

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I am very excited and look forward to discovering many more things that you can do with this versatile paint. I’ll keep you posted.

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Cold wax painting: my first!

Hello dear readers, I’m excited to share something new I’ve finished working on. Below is my first cold wax painting titled, ‘Massimo, You Are the Music in My Heart’. This piece is dedicated to my son who is a violinist.

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I’ve always admired the look of a cold wax painting for years but did not know how it was produced and with what medium. By chance and research, I stumbled upon it through working with hot wax (encaustic).

Cold wax is a paste-consistency medium made with filtered beeswax and odorless mineral spirits. There are a couple of variations in formulas on the market today, mainly by Gamblin and Dorlands. I work with Gamblin because the formula has less additives.

Cold wax paintings are generally made with cold wax medium, oil paint and/or pigment. There are other additives for the cold wax medium but it’s up to the artist to choose. Some artists choose to add marble dust, charcoal and dry pigment. The dry additives can be mixed in with cold wax and will help it dry quicker as well as add colour and texture. Oil paint added into the medium will dry a little slower. In either case, cold wax dries faster than traditional oil paint alone.

A few of the application methods of the cold wax are by squeegee, palette knife, plastic card or a brayer. The great qualities of this painting medium are: layers dry fairly quickly, surfaces can be engraved and scraped, light collage elements can be added, oil sticks can be used in conjunction, minimal odor, no heat required, natural finish is matte but can be polished to a soft sheen and most of all, it has a lovely texture to work with.

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Above is a detail of my piece that shows the inscribed lines and faux-gold leaf incorporated into the paint layers. You can also see the textural elements and the sheen of the polished surface as well.

In the picture below, shows how the cradled panel was finished. I chose to use clear acrylic varnish to seal the edges and let the wood grain how though. I think the natural wood goes well with the early colours of the piece.

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