Finishing a painting is as important as starting one. As the artist, you forge a deep relationship with this wonderful new thing that you’ve created, watching it evolve from a blank canvas into a fully formed entity. Some paintings take longer to let you know what they need to flourish, while others burst out of the gate, as you race to keep up. A painting needs to be treated with tender loving care before it’s sent off to its new home, to become part of someone else’s life, so that they too can forge a relationship. This is how art connects us, by entering our lives and becoming part of our family, our environment, and our everyday interactions.
Every artist has their own method for sealing a painting and making it look as beautiful as possible. Here’s what I’ve been doing to give my paintings their encaustic-like patina, similar to well-worn burnished leather. This is something that I learned how to do during Nicholas Wilton’s incredible Art2Life Creative Visionary Program.
Step 1: Each painting, with the exception of the ¼ inch birch panels, has its sides painted in a neutral colour, such as subtly tinted white or black. I pick the colour based on the look of the painting and what I feel would suit it best. This step makes a painting ready to hang on the wall without the need for framing.
Step 2: Gloss medium is then applied to seal the painting and enhance the colours as much as possible. At this stage, the painting looks shiny, with greatly intensified colour.
Step 3: Finally, cold wax is applied by hand, rubbed onto the surface and allowed to cure before it’s gently buffed. The end result is a beautiful satiny finish, very similar to that of encaustic paintings. Once dry and hardened, it creates a very touchable surface.