Encaustic vs Cold Wax Painting

Cold Wax? Anathema and unthinkable to many encaustic painters, the concept of mixing wax with oil solvents and oil paint does not worry me. First, please fellow encaustic painters, don't consider me a traitor! We are all artists first. Many of us identify so closely with the medium of encaustic that we sometimes forget that as artists we use our particular medium as a deliberate means of expression. Whatever medium works is what we need to use. Cold wax, like any other form of painting, is a means to achieve our vision. It seems to me that we need to be flexible if need be.

I have just recently run on to a serious group of painters online that are doing some terrific things with the cold wax medium. I had messed around a little with Dorland's a while back but really didn't understand what to do with it. I think I get it now, and am pretty excited to try it out again. I think there are times when it might be the right medium to use. I am excited to try out some techniques in cold wax and think about how image making in encaustic differs. Both media make lovely lovely paintings with rich surfaces, complex layers, and rich color possibilities; both lend themselves to some serious surface manipulations. Both incorporate techniques used in printmaking and in other forms of painting. Cold wax has crossover techniques borrowed from printmaking, watercolor, decorative faux painting, and standard oil painting- all things I have done and understand.

So, I'm going to give it another try. This time I am going to study up a little online and see what other artists are doing and how they are doing it. And I am not going to rule it out as a final, top layer technique to use on some encaustic pieces either. I often selectively use oil paint on the top layer to make subtle color gradations, so why not cold wax? The wax content might actually help it adhere to the encaustic below.

Will post photos eventually. But, like every week day, it is back to the salt mine at my regular job for now with a trip to the art supply store later to pick up some supplies.


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