Winsor & Newton Pigment Marker: first impressions

I recently went to my local art supply store and saw a demo of these markers. While I don’t do a lot of marker work, I was excited by these markers because they are pigment based and are lightfast. So if you happen to do a great doodle, it would be frame worthy because of the quality pigments used instead of dye (which usually fades quite rapidly with exposure to light).

I was pleasantly surprised by the painterly quality you can achieve with these markers. When using marker paper, or in my case, Winsor and Newton marker paper, the pigments remain blendable for quite a while. You can rework it over and over again with a colourless blender or W&N white blender.

W&N white blender is semi-opaque. I have to say I love this blender. I haven’t come across a blender like this in marker form before. This blender and the marker paper is what allows to get the painterly effect. You can also can get so many tints of colour to achieve varied monochrome looks and stretch your palette as well.

Below are a couple of quick sketches:

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If you do any marker work at all, these are worth investing in.

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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Paint making into the wee hours of the night

 

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Above is all the encaustic paint I made before I ran out of supplies. Usually I make paint with pigment in powder form but my growing concerns with health and safety prompted me to search out dispersion pigments. Of course, dispersion pigments are suspended in water which are not compatible with encaustics. Most people use oil paints to make encaustic paint but I did not like the solvent and linseed oil (smell and toxicity) in most oil paints. However, I found out that one of my favorite watercolour paint companies (M. Graham) make an oil based paint using JUST walnut oil as binder. This paint is wonderful; it’s highly pigmented and does not have a strong odor at all!

The paints are cooling above in seamless tins and I still have 6.5 lbs of beeswax to render into paint and medium. It’s good to have encaustic medium pre-made so it’s ready to go. For now, this will have to do until I get more resin soon.

Encaustic revisited

A while ago, I was really into encaustic paintings. For those of you who have never heard of encaustic painting, it’s a really old form of wax painting dating back to around 100 A.D. Typically, beeswax is blended with resin to form a medium to which pigment is added. The whole thing needs to be heated and applied onto suitable substrates and fused together to form a good bond. I don’t want to go into details as there are different formulas, techniques and so on (you can always google it).

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The above piece is the first encaustic painting that I made. Without proper wax on hand, I used regular paraffin wax. It looks ok but you can really see the difference in that the wax is more crystalline and the texture is slightly tacky, even after a few years.

Since I am interested in many different mediums, talking about encaustic now allows me make a gentle segue into the rekindling of my interest in encaustics lately. Encaustic paintings are beautiful in their vast array of texture and translucency. They are usually buffed to a beautiful sheen and layers are visible underneath. This is the reason I originally fell in love with them. Expect more waxy things to come…