.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Sunday, February 06, 2011
  so much stuff

The photo above is a snapshot of a small area of my work space--a portion of what extends over several tables in the part of my studio where I paint. The variety and quantity of supplies I use is always growing, and this has been the case since I moved away from traditional brush painting about seven or eight years ago and started using cold wax medium with my paints. The piles of tools and supplies are an outgrowth of exploring the possibilities and wonderful versatility of cold wax medium. (That my supplies are normally in a state of chaos is an outgrowth of something else, I guess! I do try and organize things now and then, but the order always disintegrates once I start working.)

Besides the cold wax medium and innumerable tubes and jars of oil paint, my supplies include boards and multi-media paper on which to paint, powdered pigments, charcoal and graphite, brayers and palette knives of all sizes, various objects used as squeegees and scrapers, brushes (mostly old and splayed, for more interesting lines), many pointed implements for scratching and gouging the paint surface, high quality odorless solvent (I use Gamsol), a variety of papers (used to impress texture onto the surface, transfer line drawings, and lift off layers of paint), sand, dish scrubbers, whisk brooms, steel wool and cotton rags. There's also a lot of miscellaneous stuff for creating interesting textures--including bits of packing material, corks, yarn, blocks of foam, and stamps I've carved in wood, rubber and sheets of foam.

This list will be at least partially familiar to others exploring cold wax medium, with variations according to personal favorites and, I'm sure, additions I haven't thought of myself. Using cold wax medium with oils allows for a smorgasbord of techniques adapted from printmaking (especially monotype), collage, drawing and traditional oil painting, each requiring some additional supplies and tools. Fortunately many of these supplies are everyday objects, not pricey or specialized.

Although it may sound reasonable for beginners with cold wax to set about acquiring this mountain of stuff, I don't recommend it. It's good to know the possibilities, but having the all the needed supplies on hand may actually be counter-productive and result in being overly focused on technique alone. My own cache of supplies has grown slowly. I think a good approach is to work through a limited number of techniques in some depth before moving on, keeping the focus off technique for its own sake and on one's personal vision, and what is being said in the work.

On the other hand, a few new art toys can be very energizing--I'm definitely not opposed to having fun shopping in the hardware or kitchen supply store, where many of the best tools are found. (The current trend in silicone kitchen gadgets like dough scrapers and rolling pins is a boon for cold wax painters, as some are perfect for spreading, rolling or impressing textures into paint.) Or browsing the art supply store or catalog for some new products to try out, a few here and there that fit the budget.

As with so many things in life, there's a balance to strike--and finding the right tool or supply at the right time can lead to a whole new vision for one's work. After all, that was cold wax for me, a number of years ago--just an interesting new (to me) art supply with which to experiment.
 
Comments:
Your writing is always so clear and organized, perceptive and informative that it is somehow reassuring to know that your studio is wonderfully messy. I think your advice about tools being acquired slowly was also very important.
 
It's amazing how tools and equipment accumulate. I probably use about 20% of the stuff I've got. I find the gardening section a good place to look for new goodies.
 
Thanks for the comments, Ann and Carrie...yes, messy it is! (I do clean up when I teach in my studio, in case anyone wonders...)Hmmm--gardening section--what do you find there? I am curious.

I actually do use most of what I acquire, but that has to do with teaching workshops. I talk about and demo things that I don't necessarily use in my own work, but have stumbled upon while experimenting...I seem to lug more and more stuff now when I travel someplace to teach.
 
Some of my favorite tools are just pieces of sticks/branches I find outside.
 
yes! leaves are great too, pressed into the wax.
 
Hi Rebecca

I have finally located you! I was working like this in 1976-1980, mostly drawing media but some canvases. Scribbles into mixed media, textures, odd symbols, markings. I had my formulas and tools, invented some, had a blast. My apartment studio looked just like this. Most of the energy ended up on paper, however, in standard drawing media--storage issues. After a couple shows and some yawns by viewers, I moved on, but have greatly missed this kind of effort. It stays with me as the most natural, direct connection to life and its own processes through time--everything you talked about on the front page of your website. I was delighted to find this blog so I could at least try to contact you. I am an instant fan. Just by seeing one of your panels I know precisely what you are doing.
And thos sort of gives me permission to show my attempts at this on my blog. I am overjoyed to have found you. Thank you. I am so happy you're out there.

Wm

Ps - I discovered Jala Pfaff like this a couple weeks ago and was happy to see her comment although not surprised. Hi Jala.
 
Thank you, William--great to hear all of this! it does seem to me a very direct expression of inner workings, to work intuitively, to be in the process. Love the 70s works on your blog--R.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

       www.rebeccacrowell.com




     September 2005 /      October 2005 /      November 2005 /      December 2005 /      January 2006 /      February 2006 /      March 2006 /      April 2006 /      May 2006 /      June 2006 /      July 2006 /      August 2006 /      September 2006 /      October 2006 /      November 2006 /      December 2006 /      January 2007 /      February 2007 /      March 2007 /      April 2007 /      May 2007 /      June 2007 /      July 2007 /      August 2007 /      September 2007 /      October 2007 /      November 2007 /      December 2007 /      January 2008 /      February 2008 /      March 2008 /      April 2008 /      May 2008 /      June 2008 /      July 2008 /      August 2008 /      September 2008 /      October 2008 /      November 2008 /      December 2008 /      January 2009 /      February 2009 /      March 2009 /      April 2009 /      May 2009 /      June 2009 /      July 2009 /      August 2009 /      September 2009 /      October 2009 /      November 2009 /      December 2009 /      January 2010 /      February 2010 /      March 2010 /      April 2010 /      May 2010 /      June 2010 /      July 2010 /      August 2010 /      September 2010 /      October 2010 /      November 2010 /      December 2010 /      January 2011 /      February 2011 /      March 2011 /      April 2011 /      May 2011 /      June 2011 /      July 2011 /      August 2011 /      September 2011 /      October 2011 /      November 2011 /      December 2011 /      January 2012 /      February 2012 /      March 2012 /      April 2012 /      May 2012 /      June 2012 /      July 2012 /      August 2012 /      September 2012 /      October 2012 /      November 2012 /      December 2012 /      January 2013 /      February 2013 /      March 2013 /      April 2013 /      May 2013 /      June 2013 /      July 2013 /      August 2013 /      September 2013 /      October 2013 /      November 2013 /      December 2013 /      January 2014 /      February 2014 /      March 2014 /      April 2014 /      May 2014 /      June 2014 /      July 2014 /      August 2014 /      September 2014 /      October 2014 /      November 2014 /      December 2014 /      January 2015 /      February 2015 /      March 2015 /      April 2015 /      May 2015 /      June 2015 /      July 2015 /      August 2015 /      September 2015 /      October 2015 /      November 2015 /      December 2015 /      January 2016 /      February 2016 /      March 2016 /      April 2016 /      June 2016 /      July 2016 /      August 2016 /      September 2016 /      October 2016 /      November 2016 /      December 2016 /      January 2017 /      February 2017 /      March 2017 /      May 2017 /      June 2017 /      July 2017 /      August 2017 /      September 2017 /      October 2017 /

       Rebecca Crowell