COLD WAX

Cheryl Johnson is a landscape artist focusing on the experimentation and organic nature of cold wax.


After the discovery of cold wax as an additive medium, Cheryl has combined cold wax and oil and other mediums together and her work has evolved becoming much more light filled “abstract, luminous and intuitive” in recent years.

Cheryl loves learning and her appreciaion of other artists has influenced her work. Exploring expressionist painters and their use of mark making, Cheryl discovered the cold wax medium through her internet research including studying and then buying the books of other cold wax artists such Rebecca Crowel, After exploring as much as she could in reading and online, she began working and experimenting more with this medium. As Cheryl explains, “cold wax medium is a wonderful smooth, soft paste-like substance – aperfect soft blend of beeswax and solvent”. I have made them before and have liked this forumala of damar varnish, beeswax, linseed oil and Gamasol. I mix this medium with oil paint and apply many layers to both canvas a rigid surfaces like luan, or plywood.


There is an idea of color or subject but mostly there is a minimal amount of an initial plan when beginning a piece. When creating a new work, there are two processes involved: a careful building-up layers and then marking, scraping or a breaking-down process. She starts by building up upon the base of the canvas or board with oil and cold wax mixed together which is applied with a palette knife, brayer or squeegee. From there, Cheryl will then begin the many layered process of breaking down the painting by using scratching tools and solvent. Cheryl is in control and the medium is manageable and will lets her instincts take over as Cheryl explains, “as layers evolve a composition emerges from this largely intuitive process”.

What is left is a landscape implied painting or an abstract piece that speaks for itself. “the colours and marks of the landscape that I have lived in tend to permeate or dominate…but maybe they are simply memories or internals states of being – with perhaps connection to places I’ve lived or been”. “the colours and marks of the landscape that I live in tend to dominate…but maybe they are internals states of being – with no obvious connection to places I’ve been”.

I have been influenced by contemporary artists like: Kristal Harris and Kim Barrett and Brian Rutenburg. These artists do not necessarily use cold wax but boy they do have a command of landscape inspired paintings.