Guest Post: Mark Witzling

Welcome to 2013!

Mark Witzling is our first guest writer in this new venue for the WaxCentric blog.
Thank you Mark!

At Creation. 24″ x 30.” Mixed media (cold wax and oil) on Panel

I was asked to write a brief blog post about my art.  I will start by saying that writing and talking about my art is incredibly challenging for me, which is surprising given that in business I am a marketer and known for my ability to communicate.  I think in some way that talking about the artwork itself somehow detracts from the work, limiting the work from speaking for itself by framing a context for the viewer.  Having now said that, here is a bit of an explanation about my experience as an artist.
I did not start painting until I was in my 40’s.  My college education was focused on economics, political science and communications and my graduate work is all business.  My wife and I went on a vacation to Italy and I found myself mesmerized by the artwork in Rome and Florence.  I had been to plenty of museums at home but had never seen art in the locations it was intended to be seen.  I wanted to now how it was done, and this led to some art lessons. I then committed to painting at least once a week, and have been doing so ever since.
I still paint representational works, mostly landscapes, in oils as a way to keep learning the craft of painting although my passion has shifted toward abstract work which I find more energetic and exciting as a work discovers itself.  My abstract work uses primarily a cold wax and oil  technique which allows addition and removal of layers.  In this approach I am striving to create visually appealing experiences which create an emotional response in the viewer.  For me, painting is a process that serves as a release -a way to express my personality in a different way.  If that results in a response with a viewer that’s great. It does not need to create the same response for everyone.
I have just created a website, www.markwitzlingart.com, to show my abstract work and welcome comments and suggestions.
Notes from the 1/13 WaxCentric Meeting/Demo:
Cold wax comes from several sources, including Dorland’s and Gamblin, or you can make your own.  The website www.coldwaxpainting.com is the best online resource for information.
Mark W. Cold Wax Demo. WaxCentric Jan. 2013.

Mark W. Cold Wax Demo. WaxCentric Jan. 2013.

Generally, cold wax is mixed with traditional oil paints. I use about a 50/50 mixture but various mixtures create different effects, so experiment. I paint on gessoboard but many surfaces will work, just be sure the surface is strong enough to support the wax layers once it dries.

Many materials can be used to create lines, marks, and effects. Oil sticks, straight tube oil, powdered pigments, etc. all work.  Marks can be made with things like sticks, brushes, sponges, plastic, waxpaper, and newsprint.  Charcoal, gold leaf, found objects, rice paper,stencils (Stencil Girl products!), collage items all can be used.  Spreading the paint: multiple tools can be used. Brayers (rollers), scrapers, palette knives, and even credit cards. Pastry scrapers (used in baking) can work well.
One of the key approaches that can be used in cold wax painting is to build up multiple layers and then work back into the lower layers by scraping or using solvents (we used Gamsol odorless mineral spirits in the session but many other solvents will work.)

More photos from the demo on the WaxCentric MeetUp site: http://www.meetup.com/WaxCentric/photos/12601762/

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