I’m in a glaze myself today as we finally reach Friday here at The Hive. In my first post I talked about a glaze made from an enhanced version of the wax medium recipe that we all use. In the next post, I gave the recipe for a hot glaze made with damar varnish and linseed oil.
Today we’re turning cold. Yup, a cold wax glaze designed to be used in works where there is both hot and cold wax media, or even non-wax elements. The reason I’m focusing so relentlessly on glazes is that I am working with both types of wax, and one of the things I don’t like about cold wax is the rather flat surface. I wanted a way to level and unify the values of both. All three of these glaze types have advantages but the one we’ll talk about to today is the easiest to use and the most versatile.
Francis Pratt interviewed an artist and educator named Fred Conway (1900-1972). He taught for years at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Like many artists of the era, he began using encaustic during the war years. WWII, that is. Sadly, Fred is forgotten now, and pictures of his work are hard to find, and I didn’t locate any encaustic pieces at all. Here is a painting called Missouri River Landscape which you can almost see as encaustic. Even though the label says it’s an oil, who can tell? I think mis-labeling encaustics as oil paintings happens a lot, especially in older art works.
Fred Conway’s Thin Glaze
¾ damar varnish.
Mix the wax and varnish in a glass jar. Seal the jar with a tight lid and gently shake the contents to fully incorporate the ingredients. Fred wanted you to let the glaze stand for three weeks or longer before using. But almost as soon as I added the varnish, the mixture became a thick, translucent jelly. I used it after five days, after twelve days and used my last bit after nearly twenty days. The only change I noticed was that the goo became even more translucent.
Fred says to use a brush or knife to apply to the surface of your painting. I actually globbed it on and rubbed it off with a cloth, as you would furniture varnish. The piece will be dry in an hour or two, but you should wait 24-48 hours before fusing. The strong smell of turpentine will get less, and that’s how you know the material has gassed off sufficiently for fusing. And use your heat gun. Your torch can catch it on fire. And yes, before you ask, I’ve done it. Here’s Fred’s Glaze on the six point scale:
1) Application method: Brush or wipe it on.
2) Drying time: 24 to 48 hours.
3) Transparency: Clear if applied thinly, has a slight white haze if applied too thickly.
4) Interaction with underlayers: Slight interaction with top hot wax layer.
5) Appearance: Medium body, eggshell finish.
6) Bloom prevention: Excellent.
Here’s a piece I glazed on Monday. It’s still a little sticky and you can see the cloudy areas where the glaze isn’t quite set. It’s my usual abstract hot mess but The Theory asked to keep it! He said it showed that I am making tiny steps toward composition. Now if ever a word could strike TERROR into the heart of a writer it is the word composition. I felt like I needed to apply to the nearest art school immediately. I know nothing about art, and what the heck is composition, anyway? Judge for yourselves: