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You're My Rock: 24 x 18 x 1.5" Original oil & cold wax painting on wood panel box.


I'm playing around with Gamblin's cold wax medium again this week and with themes of strength and fragility. I love the texture I can get with the cold wax, you just mix the oil paint directly into the soft, beeswax medium about 50/50 and it dries quite hard after a few days but it feels so beautiful like a hard candle when it dries. I varnish it with a protective coating when it's completely dry so it's safe, it won't melt, sometimes people worry. It's meant to be used this way.


It is so much fun working with a palette knife getting the rough edges of the rocks and where the light hits the bird and then smoothing it out with the finer brushes. It's a challenge sometimes merging the areas where the more realistically painted areas meet the more abstracted heavier waxy areas but I don't know, maybe those challenges are what I like about it.


Working on the rocky outcropping and trying to decide how much to fill in and how much to let the light just take I couldn't help but think about the solidity of the rock formation and the fragility of the bird and how at that moment the tiny little chickadee looks as if he's King Of The World.


But how long have those rocks been there? I thought about how they are at the mercy of the wind while the bird will ride the wind, using it to get from place to place like his own personal Über.


The wind will come in a minute and the chickadee bird will sweep along with it, it'll take tiny pieces of the rock along with it as well but the rock has no choice when it departs. It's just the cycle of things and things are not always as they seem. Birds are quite strong and resilient in their own way and mountains are really not so immovable. There's strength and fragility in everything I suppose.


I love pushing the boundaries of abstract and realism and with this painting I let the media help me do that. I use cold wax medium mixed with my oil paint to give me this amazing texture throughout the background and rock and some of the bird. Cold wax is very different to work with than encaustic, but you can get a lot of the same effects. It lets you play with hard and soft edges in new ways. 


Birds have always been a favorite subject of mine and the model for this painting is the perfect example of why I love them. They're so tough. That's what they symbolize for me. Inner strength. I'm fascinated by the way they seem so fragile but in fact, I'm amazed by how strong they really are. 


Here in Florida after a hurricane we hear them come out and start singing and we know it's over. They somehow survive the winds that wipe out buildings. They are our sirens, these little tiny creatures, letting us know it's safe.


I watch them ride the wind, hundreds and thousands of them before they land on the wires and no one will ever convince me that they're not enjoying themselves.


Birds know things, we should listen ðŸ‘ŠðŸ¦

Chickadee Bird on the Rocks Painting

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