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What is cold wax medium?

Everyone who sees my work invariably asks questions about the techniques and processes I use, but the main question is, 'What is cold wax and how do you actually use it?'


I have been working with oil and cold wax for the last 10 years or so and it is an amazingly versatile medium. I came across it by chance when I was looking at different ways to build impasto and enhance the textural qualities in my work. Building impasto with oil paint is of course achievable if you can afford to use extremely generous quantities of paint and also wait for the inordinately long drying times. Cold wax overcomes both of these obstacles.

cold wax impasto painting close up
Close up of Cold Wax medium - heavy impasto artwork


Cold wax encourages the use of heavy impasto and for those of you who enjoy working with texture, this is the medium you have been waiting for. The wax adds significant body to the paint and you can adjust the ratio of oil paint to medium to suit your working style. You can also adjust the initial blend of turpentine and wax. For example, if you like working with relatively fine detail then it would be advisable to increase the relative proportion of turpentine in the mix. This will allow the paint to flow at the same time as increasing the translucency. Although you will read information online that tells you to be wary of using extreme ratios with cold wax, I have yet to find any problems that would prohibit experimentation.


Fluid cold wax medium is great for covering large areas with colour using brushes, sponges, rollers and brayers. A more viscous medium lends itself to pronounced textural work with palette knives, card and an assortment of less conventional tools. Both raised and indented marks are readily created and retained by the medium. If you enjoy scratching and scraping through layers of colour then a thicker application is ideal. Paint can be erased with a variety of tools and methods; the key is to experiment and discover what works for you.

peter corr painting called white water using impasto cold wax medium
'White Water' 100 x 150 cm Oil and cold wax on canvas


As you gain experience with cold wax you will begin to see how critical time is in deciding what can be achieved with the medium. Depending on the ratio of the mix you will have to adjust your approach to the different stages of drying and drying times. It would be impossible for me to prescribe exact times as drying is dependent on so many different factors including the weather, location and humidity; here, there is no substitute for hard-won experience. If you decided to partially remove a layer of wax you may be able to do this by simply using a wash of turpentine a day or two after drying. The surface can be softened and removed or partially removed with a cloth, tissue paper and sponges. Cold wax that has been allowed to dry or 'cure' opens up further opportunities for scraping and carving aggressively. Just be aware that works on canvas will not have the same latitude or resilience as works completed on cradled board or wood and you should adjust your approach accordingly.

Thank you for reading my latest art blog post! Hope to see you at the affordable art fair in October! Find out more information below!

Upcoming Exhibitions and Art Fairs

I will be exhibiting abstract landscape artwork inspired by the Fenlands in Britain at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, London this October 20-23. I will be exhibiting with Linton 59 and Darryl Nantais Art Gallery is representing my artwork. I do hope you can be there and see my artworks up close.

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Art Buyers and Collectors: How To Buy Paintings by Peter Corr?

If you take a look at my art gallery and would like to purchase an original oil painting, you can email my Art Representative, Karl, at The Darryl Nantais Gallery Ltd on or get in contact via the contact form on his website Please add the name/title of the artwork in your message. It may have already sold, but if that is the case, don't worry, you can request a commissioned piece and get a painting you will love.

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Thank you for reading my contemporary art blog. Please take the opportunity to look at my collection of paintings in the online gallery. All of my paintings are original artworks on high-quality canvas frames. If you are interested in purchasing a specific painting, please get in touch to check current availability or to discuss a commission. Please contact me.

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