Improvising with Wax and Salt

This week’s Life Book lesson was a bonus, mini lesson with Alisa Burke all about using everyday things in our artwork.  I am a big fan of the “make do and mend” philosophy in all aspects of my life.  Remember that I take great joy in being thrifty and also in recycling.  This applies to my art supplies too: I strive to use what I already have and improvise when a supply is needed that I don’t possess.  This lesson, therefore, really just reaffirmed my own approach.

Burke provided some exemplars of utilising stationery supplies and household objects as mark making and other tools to deploy in creating art.  I decided to challenge myself by mark making with something that was not designed for that purpose: a candle.  I decided to draw with the candle and use it in a wax resist technique.  This proved to be more challenging that it sounds because I could not see the wax on the paper at all, no matter what angle I held the paper towards the light at.  I was, therefore, forced to produce a blind drawing and keep things very simple.  Consequently, it was interesting for me to see what emerged on the page when I added the watercolour wash.  As an afterthought, I sprinkled some salt into the areas of the watercolour that were still wet and puddly.  I have used salt in my ink work before but have not used it for a while.  I need to remember it more often.  I am not that happy with it but it was a fun experiment and I appreciated that it was a very quick and accessible tutorial this week.

Week 42 - Improvise - Wax, watercolour and salt

Registration for Life Book 2016 has now opened.  I have enjoyed participating this year and have learned loads of new techniques and skills so I am going to be taking the course next year again.

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18 thoughts on “Improvising with Wax and Salt

  1. Th painting is really lovely. The colors are beautiful and this idea of making do and mending is so inspirational. I am not an artist, but want to become more creative and I like the challenge of doing it with things that I already own. Thanks for inspiring me today.

  2. I live the make do and mend philosophy too Laura and also have the ‘recycle’ part of my art-craft life. I’ve used salt – fairly unsuccessfully – but not candle wax [yet]. I plan on completing .LB ’15 next year 🙂

  3. I enjoyed your take on this lesson. I on the other hand, just swiftly went trough and picked some highlights since I’m still a wee behind. In one of my water color classes, the teacher showed us a few neat techniques including the sprinkling of salt (I use coarse sea salt) and using a wax pencil as a masking and resist tool. I love water color. Have you had a chance to use Brushos? I love the fireworks effects. If you don’t have them, I just found out you can also use sugarless Kool-aid powders. Gonna have to try it myself! I am taking the class again next year too – so excited!

    • Thanks, Carmen. Sea salt is a must. I don’t imagine it would work with ground table salt or certainly not as well. I’ve never used Brushos, no. I will have to watch some YT videos to see a demonstration of them. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Kool-Aid powders let alone to use them as a substitute. That’s great that we will still be Life Booking together next year too.

      • Would holding it up to a window make the wax visable? I’m so bad at drawing, I always mess the paper with my erasing, so when I’m done, I tape my “work” to a window and trace on fresh paper. That’s my non-artist art “hack” for the day. lol

      • I tried that but no joy. I think it would be visible on flatter paper but the watercolour paper I was using was quite toothy so it was impossible to see where the wax was beyond a slight glint in the odd spot.

  4. Your painting is beautiful. The make do and mend philosophy had been introduced to me by the Hubby and I have been struggling with it for a long time. Nowadays I guess it just stuck with me and I’m enjoying the benefits of it. I’ve never experimented with candle resist technique and using salt with my watercolors. Seeing your work just inspires me. I will put them in my to do experiments for next year.

    I know joining life book will greatly help me with a lot of what we do in mixed media but I have already set my goals and joining any classes for next year is not one of them. I am giving myself one year to see if I could do my goals on my own and see where my art leads me. If my plan fails, I would gladly jump into the online class community again.

    • You should definitely do the salt thing. I love the effect it creates. You can see it best in the hair in this piece as that’s where my pigment was still very wet.

      I think taking time to explore and develop your artistic style on your own is great! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I feel I benefit from Life Book because it develops my skill and techniques with mixed media and also because the lesson once a week has forced me to make regular time for art in my schedule. Next year, however, I also want to make more time for my own art.

      • The salt technique is already in my things to try for next year as well as the wax resist, thanks to your inspiration.
        I have been privilege to be a witness to your artistic journey in mixed media and you have come a long way Laura. You concentrated on a medium (acrylics) and you are doing wonders with it. It is wonderful to see your growth as a mixed media artist and also fun how your unique style emerges with every piece. Cheers to a very good artsy year!

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