Each type of painting media that an abstract artist uses has specific qualities that make it suitable for certain approaches-- and less so for others. As part of your studio practice, it’s important to understand and work with the qualities of different media rather than trying to push against their nature. And it is also exciting to explore outside your typical media to see what each has to offer. Today we’ll look at several media used for abstract painting—oil, acrylic, encaustic, watercolor, and mixed media approaches and touch on the benefits and challenges of each.
A basic art theory concerns the idea that each art media has unique characteristics to explore and exploit. There is also plenty of middle ground; various media lend themselves to layering, for example. But in exploring various media for different purposes, you may discover new ideas and directions for your work. Water based media tend to offer possibilities for spontaneity, while oil painting offers special luminosity of color. The material qualities of various paints also play a special role in abstraction, when color, line, and physical texture can be important be an important presence for their own sakes.
Along with choosing painting media that is in line for your intentions, the tools associated with the medium are a consideration. Experimenting with tools that are outside traditional choices can be exciting, but if you are truly a brush painter, for example, you would probably work best with a fluid media like oil, acrylic, watercolor, and gouache rather than thicker media like oil mixed with cold wax medium, or encaustic.
Exploring these different media is exciting, and often leads to a cross-pollination of ideas. For example, you might work through several iterations of an image using water-based media that sets up quickly, and then moving some of those ideas into oil. Or you might increase the scale of a small acrylic study to a large mixed media piece. A shape that you play with in acrylic may take on more depth or dimensionality when you build it up in layers of oil paint. Each medium has distinct effects and potential.
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What's new At Cold Wax Academy?
Rebecca and Jerry are wrapping up their winter quarter of online sessions at Cold Wax Academy, where as always members have access to in-depth and varied content for learning, growth, and support. Their Winter quarter included presentations by guest authors Eric Maisel (may-ZEL) and Shaun McNiff, a painting clinic for works in progress, and live sessions on procrastination, tips on photographing your artwork, and source ideas for your paintings. All of these sessions and many more are available as video recordings in the member library. As a member, you can also access the private Facebook page and the community there of informed and supportive artists who post paintings, ask questions and initiate discussions.
It's never too late to join Cold Wax Academy! Stay tuned for a list of topics to be covered in the upcoming Spring Quarter and please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for more information as well as basic information about using cold wax medium.
Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for more information.
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."
Also-- please visit https://www.espacioart.org to learn about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. A few booking openings are still available in 2023, so please incquire if you are interested.
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