Monday, August 17, 2015

Cold Wax with Kym B

Kym Barrett is a talented, and prolific, local artist that I am happy to say has become a friend over the years. I recently bought this wonderful painting at her exhibition, 'Flow & Ebb', at the Regional Arts House in Brisbane.

POND - Kym Barrett
The exhibition is on until 3rd September, so check it out if you are in the area.

Kym has another exhibition, 'Wax & Wabi-Sabi' running concurrently (didn't I say she was prolific) at the Noosa Regional Gallery until 23rd August so you'll have to move fast to catch it.  Both shows are VERY worthwhile.

I was fortunate to join Kym at a cold wax demo and workshop at Noosa recently. It was a beautiful day and we set up outside the Gallery.

Kym's bag o' tricks


A happy group awaiting instruction

Firstly Kym gave us a demo of her colour and cold wax methods, involving much layering.... adding, removing, and making marks.

We then had some practice with mark-making, using charcoal and paper, doing 12 very fast impressions of our surroundings, with as many varieties of marks as we could make with our limited resources. 

Sorry, no photos of these......this post would go on forever.

On to the black and white cold wax method....our beginnings were demonstrated.  We had to tape up 10 small sheets of watercolour paper.  Then, with brush and ink (I used sepia) QUICKLY made some large expressive marks over the lot. On top of that some other quick charcoal marks, over which we spread a smooth layer of beeswax.

This was left to dry while we lunched in the sun.

Then, on to the final stages.

With powdered charcoal mixed with wax we made more marks. 

Variety was the key...large, small...smooth, textured...soft  & hard edges. We used tools of all kinds...brayers, brushes, sticks, even a pot scourer, to add and remove the wax.

A great learning exercise for me.  I tend to overthink, and deaden, my work.  This really made me loosen up....a little.

My efforts by end of day were thus.... probably not in correct order, or particularly good images.  My scanner washes darks out and I try to correct, but don't do a very good job.










I lost most of my sepia marks (on purpose) because I didn't like them, instead of working with them. There's much to learn with this I'll probably do it again.

Perhaps bits of these exercises will end up in collages, or on Xmas cards.  You never know.

Thanks was such fun... and quite a stretch.


  1. What fun to work with artist friends! I like what you did with your experiments.

  2. Always good to be stretched, looked like an interesting workshop.

  3. What a brilliant opportunity Jo
    What wonderful pieces you made too.
    I am intrigued by wax and especially the cold wax technique(s)!
    Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  4. I only wish I could take time out to do this with Kym - Jo amazing thanks for sharing - you and Kym inspire for sure!!

  5. Amazing stuff Jo. YOu are so talented anyway, but nice to see you moving in many directions. xox

  6. There's an energy to your images that's really appealing, Jo. Fun stuff!

  7. I love looking at workshop photos Jo, it is so interesting to see what happens and the variation in pieces created. I love how yours turned out!

  8. What a great class- lots of interesting pieces. Which is your favorite? Why don't you like the sepia marks? Does the addition of wax make glossy parts? Great work, as always. Congrats on the sale of your aerial piece - I REALLY liked it!

  9. It looks like it was amazing fun and I love the images even if you don't . There is so much energy in them and I am sure yu will come back to them and play with them again at some stage. They are too good to leave alone I think!

  10. There's something about the look of cold wax that you don't get any other way. Your pieces are lovely. I'm sure the more you look at the results you achieved from this workshop, the more you will appreciate your own work. It is lovely, lovely, lovely!

  11. Hi Jo. You are always game for exploring. Such a fun and inspiring way to live life.

  12. These look like lots of fun! I've always wanted to learn how to work with cold wax. Bravo to you for being open to new experiences - your pieces look great!

  13. Wow love the layer on layer markings and the step by step process, looks like a day full of smiles, sunshine, creativity, and lots of shared knowledge!

  14. Dear Jo, hope all goes well on the other side of the globe.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Creative New Year!