Monday, February 22, 2016


About a month ago I visited a colleague in her studio, while she was on a nearby retreat in northern New Mexico.  Rebecca Crowell is one of the foremost contemporary painters using oil paint mixed with cold wax medium.  She teaches all over the world.  I was fortunate to spend a few hours watching her work.  I was so inspired that I decided to experiment with cold wax when I got back to my studio. Using Gamblin cold wax medium with oil paint allows for a myriad of textures and effects that I was unable to achieve with oil paint alone.  The wax also helps the paint set up faster, so layering is facilitated. I stopped using stretched canvases – you need a rigid support to paint on, so now I am working on beautiful panels with 2 inch birch cradles (sides). The panels are lovely physical objects in themselves, and, for now, I’m working with small sizes.  I’m no longer using brushes – instead I’m reaching for palette knives, squeegees, scrapers, brayers, and pigment sticks.  I am still in a relatively experimental stage, but I love the results so far, and have decided to move forward with this major transformation in my style and materials. I am taking up a new challenge and I’m very excited about this evolution in my work.

I have been painting grids for five years, and I have been using only oil paints on canvas for more than 30 years. The change in my materials and technique has been a revelation. Sometimes it can be a little frightening to step out of your “comfort zone” and reinvent yourself. But I feel that the New Year and my recent birthday have been nudges to inspire a radical shift. I’m excited, and look forward to creating this new body of work. 

Boreas 1, oil and cold wax on panel, 12 x 6 x 2 inches

Boreas 2, oil and cold wax on panel, 12 x 6 x 2 inches

Hesperia, diptych, oil and cold wax on panel, 6 x 8 x 2 inches each panel