the Process

Cold wax is a mixture made of beeswax, resins, oils and mineral spirits. I mostly mix it at a 50:50 ratio with my oil paints or natural earth pigments.  Painting with cold wax & oil is a process of addition and subtraction. Laying down layers of oil and wax, I impress textures, scratch, scrape, lay more layers of colors and wax and continue until I feel it is finished. You are continuously obscuring layers beneath by applying more layers with brayers, squeegees, palette knives and brushes. Then revealing layers beneath the surface with the sgrafitto techniques like scratching with palette knives, etc., and using solvents.

The process in creating this cold wax & oil on birch went through many changes. I began remembering the beautiful color clays of Rousillon, in France, and covered the birch board with terra cotta and mixed in sand I brought home from Provence to add texture.

Stage 1Covering the surface with three layers to build up a surface for impressing textures. As I continued to build up colors, adding siennas and oranges I began thinking about the earth and the changes it goes through. Some naturally, others perpetrated by man. I remembered visiting an old mall in Baltimore that has since been abandoned and is returning to its natural state with grasses, sedges, small bushes and such springing up.





HopeLies3Stage 2: I began to add other colors in stripes with a brayer. Then began scratching through the colors with a palette knife to reveal what was beneath. To reveal some shapes and color, I used a brush dipped in Gamsol, a solvent, and created brush strokes. After a minute, I took a squeegee and scraped down the surface to remove the solvent, leaving the shape created by the brush stroke showing the colors beneath the surface.

Stage 3Idea begins to develop. With all the sad news lately; fracking, soldiers in Afghanistan, kids shooting kids,  I was moved to add a dark linear object to symbolize the destruction of the natural balance. I also added a block of light with lines for energy that lies beneath that continues to emit positivity.  The energy will continue to grow despite what destructive activities man places on the earth.




Over the course of a few weeks, the work finally made peace with me and aHopeLiesBetweenE&S haiku evolved in my mind.

“In a world of despair,

expectations and hope lives,

between earth and sky.”

My completed work at the right, Hope Lies Between Earth & Sky, is my representation of the thought that through wars, devastation, hardships, and even death, the earth & universe will continue to project positive energy and hope.