Study After Bielen No. 2

Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well. I’m still feeling out of sorts with the unusual weather we are having in the Pacific Northwest. I know It goes without saying, that it could always be worse. Nevertheless, I hope weather has been more pleasant where you are.

I decided to do another Bielen study and I probably will until I feel I’ve done enough for a while. I know it probably would take a great while before I can feel some sort of mastery of his style and technique 😆.

IMG_4604Study After Bielen No.2, Oil on Birch Panel, 6″x6″

I don’t know about you but I have always felt that the colour orange is so cheerful. I guess that’s why I decided on painting orange flowers; it brightens up the wintry days we’ve been having lately. I’m still trying to get used to palette knife painting imparting impasto texture. I normally use a thinner application of paint leaving minimal brush strokes. But I do like the instant colour payoff you get with the knife.

I don’t know if you can see it in this picture, but one of the things I’m happy with is the subtle shade differences in the background. The white of the background was painted with a warmer white on the left and a cooler shade of white on the right. I love subtle effects of the light in all paintings. I also really like the reflective light casting orange on the bottom left. The patchy texture of the background is interesting and I like the overall looseness of the painting.

I don’t know exactly why I’m trying to paint out of character other than just trying something different and learning new techniques. It feels like I’m looking for something but I don’t know what. Hopefully, it’ll dawn on me one day. Meanwhile, I find that studying a work of a favorite artist is a great way to really appreciate their work.

I hope you like the painting, thanks for visiting,


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.


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.


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.



Hello dear readers, I hope everyone had a nice Mother’s Day on the weekend!

Continuing on with the progress of my encaustic piece, I wanted to accentuate the contrast between the blues and the yellows without being too drastic. By the way, turquoise-blues and golden yellows are one of my favorite combinations; the colours remind me of sun and sea. I decided to add imitation gold leaf to the piece; Instead of large patches or masked off areas, I opted for small pieces. The flecks of gold imitates iridescence due to its reflections of the yellows and it’s juxtaposition to the blues. The sheen and reflection of the gold flecks adds an element of movement to the piece because it depends on the viewing angle and light. I think it was the right choice to use the gold leaf in this manner.


Below is a close-up of the yellow side of the piece. You can see the gold flecks as well as the glass beads from the earlier layers. The glass beads look like little craters or even bubbles under the surface. There’s a lot of interest and richness in the texture of this piece aided by different materials used in different layers; in the upper right area, you can also see the white encaustic paint “marbled” with the blues. The conduciveness to layering is one of the wonderful things I appreciate when I work in encaustic.


Proper Encaustic

On my last post you saw my first encaustic piece with unsuitable wax. Here is a piece I did by making the encaustic medium myself. It’s the traditional recipe with beeswax and Damar resin. The original substrate was pre-primed canvas so I had to glue paper onto canvas in order to make it more receptive to the wax (the wax will only have good adhesion to porous surfaces). Generally, a good substrate has to be porous and rigid.

Above, you can see a vague ‘sea’ image. I forgot to mention that encaustics are notoriously hard to photograph, because of the texture and sheen. I don’t know if you can see the layers apparent to me, especially the white of the waves. They seem to float on top the other layers.

In the side shot above you can see that I chose to cover the canvas sides with coloured wax. This is just my choice as some choose to varnish the wood, paint it with acrylic or just seal it with clear wax. The other great thing about encaustics is the way they feel, they’re so smooth and textured at the same time but not as cold as stone – does that make any sense?

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).


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…