Reduction Techniques: Tissue Paper

Apr 25, 2019

I generally talk about using cold wax as a process of adding and taking away. The taking away is all about applying reduction techniques which is basically removing oil and cold wax with the intention of creating interesting effects and textures and to also reveal earlier layers of colour / texture. Here I will illustrate how you can use tissue paper to create some interesting effects.

With this piece of work I have already created a couple of layers of oil and cold wax and the top layer is still fairly wet.

Pink Sunset

I start with scrunching up some tissue paper and laying it on top of the painting. You can apply this to part of your painting rather than the whole piece. I then use a brayer and roller on top. 

Pink Sunset

You can experiment with the pressure you apply using the brayer. Less pressure and the marks tend to be more delicate. The harder the more paint is pulled off and can create bolder marks. If your paint is touch dry then you may find that you need to apply more pressure to create any texture.

When you pull off the tissue you should achieve a nice crackle effect. Don't be disappointed though if you don't get what you were wanting to achieve. As is the way with the techniques used with cold wax this can be a bit hit and miss and the results unpredictable.

Tissue reveals the orange layer underneath

Pink Sunset

This is an example of where I have used tissue paper when more paint and pigment has been applied. You can see the tissue has created a lovely delicate crackle effect.

Pink Sunset

The effects on the tissue can be extraordinarily beautiful and you can try using it again to create a version of a mono-print by printing onto another painting or back onto the painting you were working on.


Mickleden Valley below is a really good example of how I have used the effects that the tissue has made to help shape the clouds and mountains.


And a more recent piece below, New Lands, where I have used the tissue in small areas to create the effect of trees.

New Lands


The key thing is to experiment and see what effects you can achieve!

Come and join me on one of my workshops and learn some of these techniques first hand!

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