Born in 2014, GrainStain Arts® is a daring transformation of woodstain into a fine art painting medium. While woodworkers have stained wood for centuries using natural pigments and dyes from minerals and plants, it had mostly been for solid large areas, like furniture and architectural beams.
Here, wood is the canvas and stain is the medium for the finest of art. There are books on oil painting, watercolour, acrylic, and more, but none exists on how to use woodstain as a fine art medium. Years of experimentation and development lead to the GrainStain Arts® techniques and methods. Unlike a prepared canvas, wood is alive, its fibers move continually, and each species has its own character and behavior. This makes the painting and design journey unpredictable, a challenge Cruz has developed a faculty for.
Traditional oil paintings can continue to give off harmful VOCs in your home even years later. However, the stains used here are non-toxic and contain superior pigment concentration. Safe and vibrant. Before beginning, the wood receives no conditioner or clear coat of any kind. The stain does not sit atop the surface, but penetrates it. While the techniques are original, time-honored craftsmanship remains. It takes time to paint layer after translucent layer to create a luxurious rich depth.
Poly (plastic) finishes are not used. Instead the clear finish is a centuries old fine finish that is natural and non-toxic. Used even 3,000 years ago, shellac is the trusted finish in the GrainStain Arts® shop, and is applied by hand with sable brush.
Spruce, Fir, Pine, Maple, Cedar, Ash, Elm, Oak, Sassafras, Birch and Walnut are just some of the species used. (Some recent work included Kentucky Coffee wood.) While the mounting bases have to be stained a dark colour to set off the main work, it does not deter the use of beautifully grained premium wood.
The Quite Element
GrainStain Arts® is rooted in transient beauty and grace, coined by Cruz as, wàsayū™. It is a quiet underpinning, inspired by the Japanese aesthetics: Wabi (侘), Sabi (寂) and Yūgen (幽玄). Wàsayū is always present in Cruz's work, a whisper even present in the substrate itself. It is an experience of beauty in the rustic, humble, aged, imperfect, and mysterious. Western beauty is grand, perfect, symmetrical and sparkling. In contrast, wabi-sabi is the embracing of the imperfect and transient nature of life. Yūgen is a feeling; moments in life of profound grace that go beyond words. United in Cruz's work, they are: