Brushes Aside: Playing with Paint and Tools to Create Multidimensional Paintings

Creating oil-on-canvas paintings is all about exploration, and I love trying new tools and techniques for mark-making. In the past couple of years, more and more I've found myself putting my brushes aside in favor of using a Princeton Catalyst Wedge to apply paint.

So what is a Princeton Catalyst Wedge? It’s a flexible, squeegee-like silicone tool that fits in your hand. It has a precise edge that allows me to wipe thin layers of paint across the canvas, and depending on the paint color, those layers can be either opaque or translucent. What fascinates me most about this technique is its ability to create dimension on the canvas surface. As I build up layers, each one interacts with the ones beneath it, creating a sense of history and depth within the painting.

While some artists paint "alla prima," working with wet-on-wet oil paint in a single session, I prefer to let every layer dry between sessions. That means each painting evolves slowly, over days and days. It’s a deliberate but also meditative process that gives me the space to refine details, adjust textures, and build up complexity gradually. Each painting becomes a journey of exploration and discovery, both for me as the artist and for those who engage with the finished piece.

As I continue to refine my technique and learn what's possible with this tool, I’m excited to uncover the intricacies it can bring to my work. And I don’t see myself picking up my brushes again anytime soon.

Thanks for reading.

~ Claire

Photos by Olly Yung

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