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Art advice: How to make a homemade cold wax medium by artist LOUISA CORR

Heating wax and turpentine on griddle

Heat up cold wax medium & turpentine on griddle

I created a strong and intense abstract landscape painting ‘Land of the mind’ on my first attempt mixing my own cold wax medium with oil paint. If you have been wanting a way to heighten your colours in your oil paintings to create even stronger paintings and interesting layers, then you will want to experiment like I did (read on)!

Even though I will be painting on a canvas, the best option for a work surface when using these type of materials would be to work on wood as your canvas as you will really be able to scrape, scratch make strong marks that are otherwise a bit difficult on a soft canvas material. Jackson’s art supplies is a fantastic place to buy all your high quality art materials at low affordable prices.

Heating process of wax and turpentine

Melting cold wax medium & turpentine

For a medium to large sized painting, a hand full of cold wax medium in a cooking pan, place on a griddle and turn on to a medium heat. Begin to pour in roughly 100-150ml of turpentine. Make sure you do this outside or have an open window if attempting this indoors, the smell of the turpentine and wax is strong and the chemicals may be harmful to breathe over a long period of time.

Keep an eye on the cold wax medium and turpentine heating on the griddle, it will gradually become transparent. When the liquid is transparent, turn off the griddle as the wax has finished heating.

Ready to use wax!

When its transparent, its ready!

When transparent, leave to stand in the pan a few seconds before pouring into your glass jar – place a metal spoon in the jar before pouring in the wax otherwise the jar is likely to crack and break. Once in the jar it will cool rapidly and become a solid, when it is white in colour it can be used to paint with!

Artists' Pallette

Mix oil paint with wax with palette knife

Painting in progress

Be brave with the wax!

Using a palette knife mix the cold wax medium with oil paint, cover the canvas to begin with all over with thick wax paint in your choice of colour. Be sure to make bold, quick brave movements to create fresh, vibrant textures and colour.

Basic art rules when painting an abstract landscape….to suggest far distances; make smaller, blurred marks using colder, lighter colours (more blues/greens)….too suggest closeness; make larger, sharp marks with warmer, darker colours (more yellows/reds).

'Land of the Mind'

Oil paint and wax landscape abstract painting ‘Land of the Mind’ by Louisa Corr

To create the sky, mix the colours already being used in the painting with more white and a hint of yellow and use a sponge to smooth it out so that the blurring affect will suggest a subtlety in the sky that compliments the landscape.

This is the finished painting after experimenting for the first time creating a painting using a palette knife with wax and oil paints. I have named this painting ‘Land of the Mind’ and it can be purchased in my Art Shop


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