Why create texture in a painting?
How to create texture and tactile qualities with oil paint and cold wax medium?
What to do if the paint becomes too murky?
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Why would we want to create texture in a painting?
This painting on canvas is 100 x 100 cm and uses a combination of oil and cold wax medium. There really are no secret recipes or techniques when it comes to creating texture. Just an open-minded approach to materials and a willingness to experiment and take risks are all that are required.
Forests are teeming with life and interest, moving through a constant cycle of evolution, growing, decaying and decomposing. The forest floor is often blanketed with decaying leaves, twigs, fallen trees, moss, and other detritus.
There is a perpetual process of dissolution and recycling; fungi, insects, bacteria, and earthworms break down materials and ready them for reuse. Bushes and brambles struggle toward the light passing through the canopy, engaged in a silent, interminable competition for resources. These are the prerequisite elements of texture, to use the senses, to be immersed in the forest, to see, touch and feel the fecundity and rawness of the natural world.
Find out more here on my perspective of painting and its relationship with oil and cold wax medium.
Is there a special way to create texture and tactile qualities with oil paint and cold wax medium?
Aside from the essential philosophy, and the thought processes behind the work, I started this painting with layers of modelling paste and plaster applied roughly with a spatula. For me, detaching myself from the desire to replicate specific details of the forest is the first step. The arbitrary nature of the plaster surface allows me to relinquish control and encourages the development of unplanned and unexpected imagery, chance events take on the mantle of the forest in an oblique way.
Layers of oil paint and soft cold wax are applied with a transfer method using thin sheets of paper, torn, folded and crumpled. Sometimes the paper, soaked in oil and disintegrating, makes a decision to become a part of the painting.
I could paint leaves, grasses, or the bark of a tree, but the facility of a painter's brush and the accompanying motor activity imprisons the artist in the finite game of verisimilitude. I prefer to be guided by the accidental mark or tonal variation where crumpled paper, saturated with pigment creates lines and shapes reminiscent of natural forms and the accumulated debris of the forest.
Wax is a natural material, it comes from nature, some even believe it has healing properties, I wouldn't go that far, but it can be miraculous in conjuring another world. The imperative for the painter is to remain alert, to be ready to see, to be a witness, an alchemist, to capitalise on what unfolds in front of you.
What to do if the painting has gone too murky looking?
And when the outcome resembles that forlorn field of ill-defined mud and murky darkness, at all costs you must not despair, this may be the moment of maximum opportunity.
A bold and timely intervention could free your work from its moribund condition; like the forest itself, regenerating and changing. A painting passes through many stages and will often be on life support, in need a new infusion to the heart, to be resuscitated, to be brought vividly back to life.
Thank you for reading my contemporary art blog. Comment below, let me know how you are getting on with cold wax and oil paint, if you have any questions feel free to ask and, most of all, enjoy the painting, mark-making process! Hope to see you at the affordable art fairs in the next few months!
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I am a British artist based in Ely, Cambridgeshire and my work is sought by collectors here in the UK and worldwide. I have exhibited recently at the Battersea Affordable Art Fair, The Babylon Gallery in Ely, The Art in East Anglia Gallery, in Bury St Edmunds, The Darryl Nantais Gallery in Linton, The Michael House Centre and The Locker cafe in Cambridge. I also have collections of my artwork in prestigious office settings in major towns and cities throughout the country.
Upcoming Exhibitions and Art Fairs I will be exhibiting abstract landscape artwork inspired by the British landscape at the Affordable Art Fairs up and down the UK. I will be exhibiting with Linton 59 and Darryl Nantais Art Gallery is representing my artwork. I do hope you can be there and see my artworks up close. Here is an example of an artwork I have exhibited at previous fairs.
I work in mixed media, oil, cold wax, acrylic, bitumen and on both medium and large-scale canvases. My techniques involve a range of techniques and processes including, drawing, painting, collage, printing and mixed media applications. My main subject matter is landscape and abstraction and many of my paintings are located somewhere between figurative and non-figurative approaches to image-making.
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