Painting on Location

Mastic and Wax Media
Jacaranda Painting on Location
Kula, Maui, Hawaii

4-26-05, 7.5"x11", Linen Panel

This is about a technique unique to this media.

This is the oldest turpentine based media dating back to Roman times, when pre-made wax and mastic colors were kept in small jars.

Cera colla was the previous leader in the Paint Wars, that was a water based wax paint from Egypt. This media was a little more durable to paint with and they had better access to fir trees than ammonia.

You can follow the Paint Wars through-out time in the RCW Painting on Location Color Course. Just use the browser and search for the term "Paint Wars"

I degress.. This is all about Turpentine, Wax and Mastic. The most painterly media of all.

Great for wall murals or decorations. It's not a blending media like oil is, it's more like adding a new stroke because it sets so quickly. That's why it looks so painterly, each stroke shows.

11:30 AM, I'm drawing with charcoal sticks.

Brush off the charcoal with a feather before you apply paint.

I've marked the Center Line, the Horizon Line and made a few triangles from outstanding location points.

The work on the left was photographed at 3:00, I had a lot of guests show up and I can't talk story and paint. This is the end of the first day's painting. This is a thinking mans sport, but I make time to talk.

This is an amazing media. It's so quick to set so it's easy to layer upon. But at the same time, it will wipe clean and change colors if you take two or three wet strokes over the set paint. This is because of how the set color re-dissolves so quickly.

My paintings are a series of mistakes that I am continually correcting until I'm finished.

Set and dry are two different things here. Usually the setting is after the dry to the touch, like in fresco. Here with wax and damar it is quickly dry to the touch but very re-dissolvable. This makes it very easy to work into or on top of the painting. Easy to change or wipe clean.

When oil paint starts to set, you leave it alone. Painting on top of it will cause uneven shrinking and cracking will happen.

Wax and mastic share this lifting technique with balsams. With cera colla, ammonia will lay down the color, water will pick it up like an eraser.

All mastic and balsam resins dry differently than oil. Their film dries as a whole, throughout, without a skin, and can be dissolved with a solvent. Because of this fact, and the fact that they are sticky, stand, balsam or resin layers can be applied over any stage of drying paint. Oil only paint, may chip off of an under layer that was not completely dry because it will still shrink more. Oil is not a good binder by itself but mastic, stand oil and alkyd oil media are.

9:15. Today is sunny, I think I can get farther ahead by changing the painting to a sunny day. The sky is now blue. That is going to make it easier then when it was light gray.

First I'll wash the painting with water, no problem, all the protein dust absorbed water and flushed right off. Go for the gold!

Using turpentine and a little stiff brush brought me back to white. Similar to acrylics when I paint two coats of white on mistakes or changes.

Pigments so far are.. Opaque Lemon Yellow, Old holland Indian yellow org/side and brn/side, the brown side is for greens, the orange side is for reds. Blocks Venetian red, Naples yellow deep by Mussini, Quin. Magenta by Daniel Smith, Diox. purple by Liquitex, Ult. blue deep by Mussini, Thalo blue by Grumbacher, Thalo green Y/s by Grumbacher, Old Holland opaque yellow green.

Dick Blick has a chisel brush Series 66, #2 by Master Stroke.
Isaby has a Extra long and full sable liner, #8, a truly great brush.
Another great brush I'm using in this painting is the Langnickle "Shortie" Series 64, #4. This is a round ferrule with chiseled flat end hair. This brush is no longer available but I found a new supplier in Australia I want to check out.

Well I bought what they had but the hairs were just a little too long, great for sign painting though.

This morning I was on location by 6:30, I changed all the colors and shadows to fit this morning view, the roof in the background was still in shadow. Flowers above my eye level showed a bottom shadow, below my eye level had no shadow showing.

Jacaranda finished

By 1:40 pm this afternoon the painting was put away and everything was cleaned up.

2:00 pm I was at a new location and painted this Jacaranda 5.5x7.5 oil painting with Windburg's Oil Media. This is made of stand oil, damar and wax. I wanted to compare the two, one medium with oil and one without. This is mostly a knife painting. The two scribed barbed wire lines will be rust colored to tie in with the warmth of the tree trunk. Some of the branches will be colored also, when it's dry.

Jacaranda Kula Hospital

It is a cloudy morning, I can't work on the main painting. So I'm going to find a cloudy picture to paint. Down the road a few miles I found this scene. I like it, I like the white horse and the parking is Ok.

10:00, 4-28-05. This is how I paint, the view is directly above the painting, the sides of the painting are the boundaries of the view.

Ha ha, in the time it took to finally shoot the photo, the white horse in the first painting photo left and a brown one took it's place.

Jacaranda and horse

11:45, The drawing was made with ult. blue and Venetian red. This makes a warm, neutral dark or cool color. The media is wax and mastic. It is so easy to paint with this media. Because of the fast set, layering colors, blending and scratching is painless.
3:45, the second photo.
5:45, the third photo. All the major branches are in and the purple flowers are roughly in place. Tomorrow I have the leaves in the tree and the background. This painting and the main painting have to be finished tomorrow because I have to be back in Lahaina for a PAPOH, Plein Air Painters of Hawaii is having it's first paint-out on Sunday.

The second morning we met in Makawao town, this is an acrylic. 7.5x11 plywood panel with linen added. It took 4 hours.

Nobody cared and they all watched some guy paint with a red background, you know the type, they leave little red specks all over. Not my thing. That was the end of PAPOH for me.

The second half of the second day painted this knife painting with wax and mastic. It is 11x15.

The next day I started this 5.5x7.5 of the Kula Lodge and it's jacaranda and belladona. On the 10th and 11th I got to finish it.
wax and Mastic

NOTE: Wax and mastic is a fragile medium that is easily scratched,
but fun to paint with and never yellows.

NEXT PAINTING, jacaranda's 2005 Mike's Yellow Lawn jacaranda2nd2005pg2.htm

PREVIOUS PAINTING, Lahaina Cannons, Acrylic, lahainacannons.htm

Jacaranda Paintings from 2002 to 2008

5-20-2 Early Spring Jacaranda Acrylic
6-5-2 Highest Jacaranda 4,000 Ft. Oil
6-15-2 Jacaranda and Driveway 3,500 Ft. Oil
3-21-3 Silver Oak and Jacarandas 2,000 Ft. Acrylic
#897 4-24-3 one Acrylic three Knife Oils
4-29-3 to 5-7-3 Oil
4-11-3 Acrylic 30x22
5-21-3 3,000 Ft. Acrylic
5-22-3 Knife Paintings Oil
5-27-03 /acrylic
4-26-5 mastic and wax
May 2005, 2 Oil, 1 Mastic and Wax, 2 watercolors
4-26-6 Mike's house Acrylic
4-29-7 to 5-9-7 Oil
5-10-7 to 5-20-7 Holy Ghost Church Acrylic
5-10-7 to 5-20-7 Kula Post Office Jacaranda Acrylic

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