Zen and The Art of Cold Wax Painting
Personal Rewards of Painting
Modern Life vs Painting
Physical Act of Making
Where does Cold Wax fit into this?
Why can a painting be Meditative?
Zen and The Art of Cold Wax Painting Many artists will tell you that their experience of painting is a constant struggle, a battle with materials and ideas. To make paint say what you want to communicate is a never-ending challenge; it requires commitment, resolution, self-belief and paradoxically, a measure of delusional thinking. The tortured artist, working against impossible odds to release their inner creative spirit is the stuff of folk legend and Hollywood B movies. Indeed, if the objective of personal expression could be readily achieved, just a single painting of outstanding brilliance, perception and insight would suffice. That artists produce many paintings should tell us that this key goal remains tantalisingly out of reach.
Life today seems to be difficult and troublesome, there is an ever-present undercurrent of sadness. It is impossible to see a news item or open a magazine today without an earnest discussion of our collective mental health. The inner workings of the psyche are at the forefront of our engagement with the modern world and few of us escape the gravitational pull of individual neuroses. We are constantly invited to consider how we might overcome our tendency to negative self-reflection and ontological despair. The frenetic pace of life and our precarious economic condition have become the lived experience of far too many people. An objective assessment of the state we are in would conclude that despair, distress and anguish are logical and inevitable responses to the lives we lead.
This is my latest painting titled 'White Room' currently available for sale. It is 100 x 100 cm on Canvas and made with oil and cold wax medium. Feel free to contact me if you would like to purchase this piece or have any questions.
Personal Rewards of Painting Thankfully, painting, as with many other creative endeavours, offers personal rewards. But can painting help us to be at one with the world? And does working with cold wax medium offer additional creative opportunities to calm the restless mind?
Modern Life vs Painting I know painting can be complex and difficult. Whatever style of painting you adopt, there are skills to learn and ideas to explore. All of this takes time, rehearsal and commitment. But I think aligning the mind with practical engagement, connecting thoughts with physical actions and outcomes is at the centre of this feeling of flow, leading to a state of calmness, acceptance and well-being. Part of the problem with modern life is the relegation of the physical to secondary or peripheral status. So much of what we do has been reduced to the press of a button, the swipe of fingertips across a glass surface or a disembodied voice command. All-pervasive algorithms ensure we don't have to think for ourselves, decisions are made for us, and choice appears to multiply exponentially. We are relegated to choosing between options predetermined to complement our perceived interests and needs. In a sea of choice, we are left rudderless, without autonomy or direction.
Physical Act of Making With painting, the physical act of making is central to the creative activity and strengthens our sense of autonomy and agency. This is what we can do, this is what we can make; from the initial idea to a fully realised end product, a physical artefact, shaped and manufactured to our design and specifications. A single individual production line where the artist is the sole creator responsible for all aspects of the completed item. For the artist, there is no economy-driven division of labour. When we work with our hands there is a conversation, a dialogue between hand, eye and brain, a never-ending feedback loop. We learn with and through the exploration of material. Plato advocated specialisation but had little to say about the negative social consequences of the relentless drive towards efficiency in the workplace. Sometimes we need to 'take back control' in a very personal sense.
Where does Cold Wax fit into this? Ah, but why highlight the use of cold wax as an oil painting medium? What difference does it make to the painting experience? All painting offers this combination of tactile and physical engagement, it is part of the process, the deployment of shape, colour, form and texture on a flat surface. The addition of cold wax medium amplifies and accentuates the physical qualities of oil paint, it encourages the exploration of raised surfaces, translucency, layers, impasto and the rich sculptural possibilities of paint. Cold Wax supports a wide range of approaches, ideas and compositions. It can be applied with sponges, brushes, rollers, palette knives, spatulas, tissue paper, crumpled cellophane and card. It dries rapidly, allowing work to be executed swiftly. It is very flexible and forgiving; there is no need to adhere to the traditional oil painting protocols of fat over lean, and the ratio of oil to medium is easily adjusted. Collage and unconventional materials can be embedded in the mix and bonded to the surface. As the medium dries and hardens it takes on the characteristics of clay and can be etched and scored with an assortment of tools. As the painting continues to dry it will become matt, and the hardened surface can be selectively burnished to create a high gloss finish.
How can painting be a Meditative experience ? With the addition of cold wax, oil painting becomes multi-sensory, engaging all of our faculties. The title of this article refers to Zen and I believe there is a meditative aspect to painting; in accepting the characteristics of oil combined with cold wax, and allowing the medium to follow its path, unique marks and surfaces are generated. Keeping an open mind is vital as inflexions and nuances are governed by the natural limitations and the potential of the material. Without the willingness to let go, to relinquish a level of control, the outcome may feel restricted and constrained. The wax medium cannot be manipulated with absolute precision, and neither should it be. With confident and open handling, with our attention directed towards the changes made with our hands, a painting can grow and develop as it responds to the synthesis of sight, thought and touch.
Thank you for reading this blog! I'd love to know if you think art can heal your life, feel free to comment below. Further blog posts on even more topics can be found here.
I hope to see you there or around the Cambridgeshire art galleries and UK exhibitions. If you can't wait until then, you can view my artwork online! If you find an artwork you love and want to know more about or make a purchase just contact us directly. All artworks are for sale and commissions are welcomed. I look forward to hearing from you to guide you through the process of buying art online from the UK to anywhere in the world. Another option is to come to one of the Affordable Art Fairs in England, my work can be seen in person at the affordable art fairs, and come back to find details on free tickets to future fairs too.
Upcoming Exhibitions and Art Fairs
I will be exhibiting abstract landscape artwork inspired by the Fenlands in Britain at future Affordable Art Fairs, for the newsletter to keep up to date. I will be exhibiting with Linton 59 and Darryl Nantais Art Gallery is representing my artwork. I do hope you can be there.
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Art Buyers and Collectors: How To Buy an original Peter Corr artwork
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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.
I am a UK based abstract landscape painter/artist with a range of compelling and popular original mixed media paintings available to buy. You can follow my artistic practices, latest artworks and painting techniques and news by reading my contemporary art blog.
If you have seen an artwork that you like, you can buy my art online and easily order a painting by contacting me directly using the contact form. 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 just and get a painting you will love.
I ship paintings worldwide, and they are professionally and securely packaged for National and International courier services. They are delivered to your home in a reinforced box within 3-5 days of your order. You can buy my art online and order a painting or request a commissioned piece by contacting me directly using the contact form.
Each artwork will arrive unframed with painted edges, ready for you to hang. If you wish to frame a painting, you can make a direct request at an extra cost or contact your local framing shop.
I am a British artist based in Ely, Cambridgeshire and my work is sought by collectors here in the UK and worldwide. I have exhibited recently at the Battersea Affordable Art Fair, The Babylon Gallery in Ely, The Art in East Anglia Gallery, in Bury St Edmunds, The Darryl Nantais Gallery in Linton, The Michael House Centre and The Locker cafe in Cambridge. I also have collections of my artwork in prestigious office settings in major towns and cities throughout the country.
I work in mixed media, oil, cold wax, acrylic, bitumen and on both medium and large-scale canvases. My techniques involve a range of techniques and processes including, drawing, painting, collage, printing and mixed media applications. My main subject matter is landscape and abstraction and many of my paintings are located somewhere between figurative and non-figurative approaches to image-making.