Is it possible to paint with cold wax medium and oil on TerraSkin paper? Do the paint layers risk cracking? Will it stick well to the smooth surface of the paper? What will be the feel of painting on TerraSkin with cold wax and oil? I had to find answers to those questions, and I did after a few experiments.

Today, I share the answers with you.

“Les-portes-de-limaginaire A” (The-doors-of-the-imagination A)

Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.

"Les-portes-de-limaginaire A" (The-doors-of-the-imagination A. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

“Les-portes-de-limaginaire A” (The-doors-of-the-imagination A.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-ups from the previous painting

Close-up from: "Les-portes-de-limaginaire A" (The-doors-of-the-imagination A. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: “Les-portes-de-limaginaire A” (The-doors-of-the-imagination A.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: "Les-portes-de-limaginaire A" (The-doors-of-the-imagination A. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: “Les-portes-de-limaginaire A” (The-doors-of-the-imagination A.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: "Les-portes-de-limaginaire A" (The-doors-of-the-imagination A. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: “Les-portes-de-limaginaire A” (The-doors-of-the-imagination A.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

The context

In traditional painting, cold wax medium is added to oil paint to modify its texture, its shininess and create impasto effects. One then uses no more than 1/3 of cold wax medium for 2/3 of oil paint.

In the case of the paintings I have done since a few months, the proportion of cold wax medium and oil paint is much closer to 50-50. So I must paint on a hard surface, otherwise the paint risks to crack.

Is it possible to paint with cold wax medium and oil paint on TerraSkin paper?

Yes, but the following points must be considered:

The right proportions

Before my first tests on TerraSkin paper, I did some search and came across a few lines written on the website of the company Gamblin suggesting mixing the cold wax medium with their gel solvent –free alkyd gel in proportion to 50% – 50% when one wishes to paint on a supple substrate such as paper.

So I did my tests with the following approximate proportions:

  • 50%  oil paint (M. Graham)
  • 25% cold wax medium (homemade recipe)
  • 25% solvent-free gel medium (Gamblin)

The result gives a paint that dries in a few days when applied in thin layers on TerraSkin paper.

Paper thickness

TerraSkin paper is available in several thicknesses. I did my tests with TerraSkin of 8 pt, equivalent to 150 lb. This is not thick enough, the paper crinkles slightly when oil paint and cold wax is applied to it. I suggest you glue your paper on a rigid acid-free cardboard before painting or to choose a thicker paper as the 16 pt (340 lb) sold in big sheets.

“Les-portes-de-limaginaire B” (The-doors-of-the-imagination B)

Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.

"Les-portes-de-limaginaire B" (The-doors-of-the-imagination B. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

“Les-portes-de-limaginaire B” (The-doors-of-the-imagination B.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-ups from the previous painting

Close-up from: "Les-portes-de-limaginaire B" (The-doors-of-the-imagination B. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: “Les-portes-de-limaginaire B” (The-doors-of-the-imagination B.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: "Les-portes-de-limaginaire B" (The-doors-of-the-imagination B. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: “Les-portes-de-limaginaire B” (The-doors-of-the-imagination B.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: "Les-portes-de-limaginaire B" (The-doors-of-the-imagination B. Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper. May 2016. © 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from: “Les-portes-de-limaginaire B” (The-doors-of-the-imagination B.
Oil paint, cold wax, alkyd medium on 9 x 12 inches TerraSkin paper.
May 2016.
© 2016, Louise Lamirande.

Does the paint risk to crack?

According to my tests, no. However, it is necessary to respect the right proportions of cold wax medium – solvent-free gel mentioned above. I must also say that I did not do tests with thick layers of paint and mediums yet.

Does the paint mixture will stick to the smooth surface of TerraSkin?

Yes. I did not observe any problems of adhesion, even when I rolled my paintings. This paper does not need to be primed with gesso.

And what will be the feel?

I liked to be able to paint directly on paper without having to prime it with gesso. The surface of TerraSkin makes the paint mixture slide smoothly and I find this to be a very pleasant experience.

In summary

In summary, TerraSkin paper is an interesting alternative to wood with cold wax and oil painting if we adjust the proportions of wax, adds an alkyd gel medium for flexibility and uses the thickest TerraSkin paper of 16 pt.

Regarding the diptych

The title of this diptych comes from a childhood memory. In my bedroom, the two doors of the wardrobe were made of thin plywood. I spent countless hours watching those doors looking at the wood lines and discovering in them imaginary worlds populated by friendly or frightening faces according to the moment…

Thanks for your visit and see you soon,

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