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Testing of the Cold Wax Painting Medium
An insight into some of the testing that has been carried out to ensure an archival product.
 

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cold wax painting medium tests

Cold Wax Painting Medium test sheet


Testing the Cold Wax on Paper


The image left is just one example of the testing of the Cold Wax Painting Medium with pigments. This sample is on heavy watercolour paper and has lived a 'very rough' life as part of the testing process.
Over twelve years it has been subjected to; bending, folding, stretching, dry heat, damp, frost, dark, compression, baking and more.

The wax has not cracked, flaked or peeled off the surface, the dust cleaned off easy, the surface could be buffed/polished, the colours were still true.

The applied waxes had not dried-out, shrunk or crumbled and still adhered firmly to the paper surface.
 


Testing Wax and Oil paint on Canvas

The image right is wax and oil paint applied to a very heavy, highly textured raw canvas, it has been applied both very thick (impasto) and very thin (glaze).

This test piece is now over eleven years old, the canvas has been subject to many trials and stressors, it is still adhering as expected.

The quality and depth of the canvas weave allows the mixture to have a good 'toothy' surface and it has not cracked or chipped, it's doing very well.
 

wax and oil on canvas
Cold Wax Painting Medium and Oil Paint on canvas.

wax and oil on handmade paper
Wax and Oil on Handmade paper


Testing Wax and Oil paint on Paper

The image left is wax and oil paint painted thickly onto handmade paper, like the above tests a few years old now. Wax and Oil on paper have a synergy.

Try Two Rivers handmade paper for the unusual and for their 'paper boards' or 'tablet', if you like a rough surface, these are excellent to paint on.
It was also tested on St Cuthbert's Mill papers; Saunders Waterford; Bockingford and Millford (old Whatman equiv.),  Rives and Somerset are papers used for printmaking, also Arches Oil painting paper and many other papers.

The paper surfaces mentioned above are excellent for Wax and Oil. Not all watercolour papers work so well, priming them works better.

You may have read that Cold Wax and Oil cannot be painted onto flexible surfaces, that has not been my findings following these tests.
 


Testing Wax with Pigments and solids

The image right is of wax and pigment on paper and is over 17 years old, it has been open to all eventualities during that time.

The Wax is still well adhered to this flexible surface, the paper is still in very good condition, although slightly discoloured from storage conditions and being unprotected.

Adding dry pigments and solids has not caused any deterioration of the surface of the paper or the wax mixture.
 

wax and pigment on paper
Wax and Pigment on paper

 baked in sunshine
Test baked in summer sunshine for 6 hours!


There have been murmurings over the years about the stability of wax in painting, even though there is historical proof in the form of 'works' in Museums that are beeswax and hundreds of years old.

One of the characteristics that cause hesitation is that the painting may 'just melt like a beeswax candle'. It does take quite considerable heat to melt the beeswax, more than is normal in the rooms of most residential buildings.

To test this, I placed a sample canvas on the roof of a building in the summer sunshine for 6 hours with an average temperature of over 32°C but the roof surface was much hotter.
The freshly painted wax/oil did start to soften and move, the dry painted area didn't. This is an extreme test, but at least I now know that a wax/oil mixture, once dry, will be stable under normal conditions.
 

Copyright © Jacqui Blackman 2010

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