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View Full Version : messin with caseins...a learning curve WIP


LarrySeiler
09-27-2004, 09:13 PM
well...I've been working on trying to get a feel for a set of caseins given to me.

from what I've read...the proponents of casein esteem it superior to acrylics, one being that acrylics dry faster. Seems to me caseins dry pretty quick too, wonder about others here have worked with them and might share methods and such.

At any rate...I'm experimenting with a rock n surf scene from a reference image I took in upper Michigan while painting plein air up there. Just to get a feel for a possible working order. The idea is to try 'em on location.

could paint with more water like watercolors....but, I'm mixing and painting a bit like acrylics at the moment. Their opacity and drag gives me the sense its a bit like painting with liquid pastels.

The allure for sure is the historic place caseins have...having been around since the days of the Egyptians/pharoahs. A paint with milk as its base. Its very archival and time tested from that standpoint.

It dries matte which makes it ideal for taking photos of without any glare, and when you are done photographing you can take a soft cloth and buff it into a nice sheen.

I'm so comfortable with acrylics, oils...watercolors, so naturally this will take a bit of a learning curve.

At any rate...here's progress thus far..and I'll post the final image. The paint seems more difficult to apply washes of subtle color, so it seems for my use it will lend more naturally to my alla prima method of brushstroke laid a brushstroke stayed.

steps 1 thru 3-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2004/532-compositecasein_of3.jpg

appearance after fourth phase. About 1/2 done, one hour's time...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2004/532-step4.jpg

thanks for looking or commenting...

Larry

Axl
09-28-2004, 01:37 PM
I gotta ask, even if it does make me look like a fool lol

What exactly are caseins??

LarrySeiler
09-28-2004, 04:37 PM
It is pigment that has literally, a milk base. Acrylic has polymer, oils...linseed, watercolors some gum arabic and binders. Casein is pigment put to milk. Its been around for eons of time...and is beginning slowly to capture fancy again.

It dries somewhat chalky/matte. Becomes insoluable over time, and with a soft cloth can be rubbed or buffed to a shine. Will also take a varnish over it if one prefers.

btw...the only dumb question, is the one not asked!!! :)

Larry

Axl
09-28-2004, 06:58 PM
Milk! Really! Interesting

Are there any problems around preserving such a medium? How archival is it?

LarrySeiler
09-28-2004, 09:33 PM
Casein has been around since the days of Egypt's Pharoahs....

Only egg tempera really has such equally a long history. Yes, very archival, proven more so than oils or any medium.

I'm not finding it the easiest medium to use. I'm sure that's because I'm so used to oils and acrylics...and everything is a learning curve. I find acrylics a bit easier to add water, increase transparency and do glazes slowly shifting color, values and such. The casein seems more opaque, and you best get your mix right, values/color and so forth.

It can be used very wet like watercolors...or more straight out of the tube. It doesn't handle well, nor recommended to paint think like impasto. IF you want a heavily textured look, the recommendation is to create a texture in the gesso preparation.

But...as a paint that dries, lasts, archival...its one of the best, most trustworthy!

Larry

Pentimento
09-28-2004, 11:05 PM
What do you use for a surface?

Is it flexible or do you have to worry about it cracking, etc?

Richard Saylor
09-28-2004, 11:44 PM
Larry, your painting is going really well!

designbyjen
09-29-2004, 09:04 AM
really appreciate you sharing this & all the handling pros & cons that come w/ it. so this is working like gouache, except for not being so easy to rewet/rework? i caught that you said 'insoluable over time'. love the buff & shine factor...very appealing. so could this concievably be framed w/out glass (*w/ wondering excitement*)?
the u.p. is beautiful...ever been to fayette state pk?
looking Grrreat!
~~~jen

LarrySeiler
09-29-2004, 11:29 AM
What do you use for a surface?

Is it flexible or do you have to worry about it cracking, etc?

from all I've read, its best to apply it to a stiff surface. Doesn't have resiliency like polymers in acrylics. Wouldn't paint it on thick to canvas like oils...definitely would crack or pigment fall off. However...canvas applied to a board panel and glued down that will not then move, the paint will be strong. Still...don't paint it impasto.

Its a thinner medium, and from all else I've read would perhaps suit best those painters/artists that tend to be more linear, or like to draw (be more exacting) ending with smaller brushes for greater realism.
Larry

LarrySeiler
09-29-2004, 11:36 AM
really appreciate you sharing this & all the handling pros & cons that come w/ it. so this is working like gouache, except for not being so easy to rewet/rework? i caught that you said 'insoluable over time'. love the buff & shine factor...very appealing. so could this concievably be framed w/out glass (*w/ wondering excitement*)?
the u.p. is beautiful...ever been to fayette state pk?
looking Grrreat!
~~~jen

the paint seems to become stronger and more resistant to wear over time.

I'm going to look for an article online from International Artist...saw last week, an artist that did a casein demo and shared his knowledge of it. If I can find that link, I'll come back and post it here.

An area I would like to get to know is the Keewauna Peninsula, known as copper country. Its about an hour west of Marquette, jutting out into Lake Superior and is where my mother as a little girl went on vacation living in the UP. Not familiar with Fayette State Park...but where the UP is concerned, its all good!!! Love it...

I wouldn't mind living there if it weren't for the near 400 annual inches of snow that seems endlessly to stick around. Though, I paint outdoors in snow as well...

Larry

LarrySeiler
09-29-2004, 11:39 AM
that was quick...here's the link- Artist John Molnar

http://www.johnmolnarpaintings.com/pages/whatiscasein.html

enjoy


Larry

LarrySeiler
09-29-2004, 09:42 PM
managed to do a bit more work on that one...bringing it to this stage-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Sep-2004/532-step5.jpg

then...tonight, I threw my plein air gear in the truck taking my dogs out to do a bit of bird hunting. I replaced my oils with the caseins.

As it would turn out...I decided to try my hand at one effort, and setting up was half thinking myself nuts. Its difficult enough with a medium you are comfortable with in a plein air situation to paint with only about 30 minutes of light left...but here I was attempting to use a pigment not yet totally familiar or comfortable with.

The effort is in my estimation understandably going to be more bold...direct, contemporary...perhas even abstract in some regard, but the main intent is to capture the color and drama of the moment if not a literal expression of what is seen-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Sep-2004/532-peshriverroad72.jpg

I used a smooth gessoed hardboard panel..and found that surface much more to my liking with this casein pigments. I used a liberal amount of water to boldly put in washes of color creating masses. The paint, IMO dries faster than acrylics...or is absorbed into other layers quicker, which work better for me in this situation. I could immediately build up on top with suggestions of foliage and so forth.

I liked its feeling a bit like watercoloring...though applying like acrylic or even oil with brush strokes that held. The color I thought was bright, rich and very satisfying. Enough of a statement was captured, that I think I could produce an instudio piece using this as a study or reference.

In some galleries I'm in, there are patrons that like the look of immediacy, spontaneity...and honest direct response. This one...I guess I'm saying, in the right frame would sell. But...I'll have to touch up a bit...a bit more finishing. I ran out of light on location....

Larry

AFM159
09-30-2004, 12:45 PM
hmmmm....interesting stuff, Larry, thanks for sharing!

It's kinda funny, I read most of the article in the link you posted and his reasons for using Caseins are the same as mine for using Acrylics! Mainly for versatillity, go figure. I think most artists believe their chosen medium to be more versatile than any other. One just has to find a medium that works for them.

LarrySeiler
09-30-2004, 02:50 PM
its a bit like taming a wild maverick horse. Once you figure the personality out...rope 'em and put a bit in the mouth you can get them to do what you want.

Acrylics were difficult for me at first. Too many artists look for affirmation that something is going to suit them, and their pain/tolerance level is very low. First sign of trouble and they're outta here!

On the other hand...working thru a thing makes the thing your known and understanding possession. Being a master is working thru difficulties till you own them!

Larry

Pentimento
09-30-2004, 03:56 PM
That second casein with the trees is lovely, lovely, lovely! :clap:

I say keep going--can't wait to see what you do next!