One of the properties of cold wax added to oil paints that appeals to me is the ability to add texture. There is the mark making, of course, and I am amazed at how creative other artists are in selecting unexpected tools for that. And there is this business of pressing textured things onto a painted surface. One technique I have learned from other artists is the use of crumpled tissue paper. It does great things to cold wax and oil, whether it’s gently pressed in or brayered in with some force.
I was about to add some tissue paper texture to a painting and discovered I had used up my stash! No tissue paper to be found anywhere in my house! But, wait a minute, I have all this linen scrap, I thought to myself. I sew now and then, and most of my sewing is with linen—
Here is where I give a nod to my favorite cottage designer, Tina Givens. She is a clothing designer in Michigan who is a kindred spirit in so many ways, although we have never met. I am a big fan of the patterns she offers on line, and I have an entire linen wardrobe, thanks to Tina. I also have quite a stash of linen scraps now.
Back to painting—linen as a texture maker is now my favorite technique. And it also works really well as a mark maker. Brayer it on flat, and you have a great woven feel to your painted surface. Wrinkle the fabric just a bit, and brayer over that wrinkle, and you have a distinctive mark as well.
Once a scrap is loaded with paint from one surface, use it on another surface to transfer surprising marks.
A few examples of paintings created with linen—click to enlarge for a close-up view: