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  1. welcome_pictureThere is nothing more disheartening than painting on a canvas only to discover that it has moved, warped or gone saggy. To keep your canvas in tip top condition try following our handy list of hints and tips.


    To prevent warping, try not to keep your canvases:

    - In damp conditions

    - In a position near a heat source such as a radiator (or dry them next to)

    - In direct sunlight

    - In regularly changing environmental conditions (wood and canvas take on and give off moisture absorbed from the atmosphere)


    To prevent dents and sagging of the canvas:

    - Choose a suitable weight of canvas for your working methods

    - Work on & store the canvas in a vertical position

    - Avoid leaning objects against the surface of the canvas

    - Protect your canvases with card or bubble wrap whilst in storage


    If your canvas is dented or saggy you can:

    -  Remove small dents with warm water applied the back of the canvas with a decorating brush or spray

    -  Apply the supplied wedges by gently tapping into the corner holes until the canvas is nice and tight.


    If your canvas isn’t a perfect square or rectangle any more:

    -  Lay your canvas flat, face down on a protective cloth or piece of bubble wrap. Use a tape measure to measure the distance from corner to corner, the distance from each set of diagonally opposing corners should be the same, if it isn’t, gently tap the corner with a rubber or velvet mallet until the measurements match (you may need to retention the canvas after doing this)


    Wedges (Keys) wedges 1

    With each canvas or stretcher frame order you should have been supplied with a bag of wooden wedges. Wedges or keys as they are sometimes known are used to retention you canvas during or after painting. Use a small hammer to tap the wedges into the holes on the inside corners of you canvas or frame, see diagrams below.

    wedges2     wedges3

    Two wedges should be applied to each corner and one wedge where the cross brace meets the inside of the stretcher. Take care not to over tighten your canvas.


    You only need to use the wedges if your canvas has become saggy. Remember to pass the wedges on with your canvas when you sell it.

  2. Beeswax As An Oil Painting Medium

    spectrum-beeswax-in-white-spiritYou may have seen it on our shelves, online, or mentioned by a fellow artist - but what exactly do you do with Beeswax as an oil painting medium?

    Made from a bleached and purifed form of Beeswax, and mixed to a useable paste with either Linseed Oil or White Spirit - this is a medium apparently favoured by Turner for its ability to create Impasto effects and to  retain brushmarks, leaving the painting with  a subtle sheen. 


    Here are some points to be aware of though:

    Beeswax medium adds body to oil colours and creates a longer drying times.

    Works best with Opaque colours.

    Only add 10-20% to oil colour and apply with brush or palette knife up to thickness of 2-3mm maximum. Thicker layers will tend to take longer to dry and increase yellowing or slight darkening of dried paint film. 

    Over-addition of beeswax paste to oil colours leaves the dried paint film fragile when exposed to high temperatures (beeswax melts at ca. 60°C)


    Do you fancy having a go at making it yourself? Below is a recepie for two variations of a Beeswax Medium:





    1 Part - Pure un-bleached yellow bees wax pellets


    3 Parts - Cold Pressed Raw Linseed Oil




    Make enough medium to fill 2 glass jars:


     Jar A - Wax Coarse Medium


    Jar B - Wax Soft Creamy Medium



    Jar A


    Pour the oil in a pan.


    Mix in the bees wax pellets.


    Heat the pan until the wax pellets melt in the oil stirring a little.


    Remove the pan from the heat and pour the 1/2 of the mixture into your first glass jar. This will be your coarse wax medium.


    Leave to cool down to room temperature




     Jar B




    Now the remaining wax medium in the pan!... Place the pan in a basin containing cold water and keep stirring the mix while it cools down sharply.


    When the mix in the pan is cool enough (dull opaque) but still somewhat soft, scoop the whole contents into a food processor equipped with a blade.


    Process the mixture at a high speed. You will notice that the medium changes from a dull appearance to a shiny creamy texture very similar to mayonnaise at which point it should be ready. Turn off the processor and check that there are no lumpy bits left.


    Pour the creamy bees wax medium in a clean glass jar.


    Wash the food processor immediately after!!!


    Although a little "original", this method of processing the bees wax media is actually highly effective. It requires a little patience and some work but it pays off having 2 wax media different in texture, allowing coarse and smooth paint work when mixed with oil colors.


    Jar A


    Medium A sets in the jar a little hard, scoop it out with a metal spoon or a stiff palette knife onto the palette, crush it with a fork into a coarse paste and mix with oil colors. This medium is ideal for all abstract techniques, landscapes, painterly styles and impressionistic painting. It brings life and texture and creates random areas of interest across the picture. Dries to a soft sheen, due the presence of linseed oil. Also very good for all knife work. It can be thinned with turpentine.


    Jar B


    Medium B is a very smooth creamy paste. Immediately after processing it looks smooth and very shiny, like mayonnaise and after being poured into a jar and let to stand for 24 hours, it has the appearance of butter and feels like butter. Mixed with oil colours, allows really interesting brush work. Brush marks keep their shape, retaining their natural beauty for very expressive painting. Medium B is also the ideal for mixing with Maroger Medium in small quantities (up to max. 10% by volume) for an "Italian School of Painting" approach in still lives, portraits, etc. Dries to a soft sheen. It can be thinned with turpentine.