I like to think of 2016 as the year of cold wax. Before I went to Australia for Christmas in 2015, Helen gave me a glob of cold wax to play around with. She, Marianne, and Nicolette were all using it in various ways and I was intrigued to try it out. I started a 12″x12″, using a palette knife to scrape the mixture of oil paint and cold wax medium onto the canvas with no real idea in mind, then off I went. When I got back from Australia the beginnings of the painting were waiting for me. I instantly saw the possibilities – inspired by the lush tropical plants that had surrounded me on my trip, I created an abstract impression of that memory.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I think I was due for a directional change. I wanted my painting to be looser, and I found the medium and the knife gave me the freedom to explore form and texture and escape from detail. I barely used brushes all year. Instead I spent my time learning how to manipulate palette knives to get the type of effects I was looking for. I discovered that I could incorporate a certain amount of detail without getting caught up in it. And I enjoyed the layering and texture that the cold wax and oil paint mixture made possible. I painted people, trees, flowers, birds, landscapes, and city streets in a fresh, new and vibrant way. It has been an exhilarating ride! 

I ended my year painting little mosaic like gems, using all the colours I mixed with oils and cold wax as if they were vitreous glass tiles. I went from loose to precise and everywhere in between, creating a kind of balance from painting to painting. I am looking forward to further experimentation in 2017 to see how far I can take it. There is no going back. Cold wax is here to stay.

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