View Full Version : Iddings Deep Colors: Casein paint testing

02-26-2007, 07:29 PM
I received an order I made recently of casein paint, and I thought I'd share my impressions of them. The brand is Iddings Deep Color which is manufactured by Rosco Scenic Paint Company (http://www.rosco.com/us/scenic/iddings_deep.asp). I've mentioned them earlier here in an article (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=366677)on history and resources for casein. Rosco is a company that sells supplies for theatre set production, and casein paint has historically been used (to some degree) in that regards. You can buy it in cans up to a gallon size or pint, but they also sell them in small 1 ounce jars (@28g) as sample kits for each of their colors.

Attached below are pictures of the order I received. I placed the order with Light Trader (http://www.lighttrader.com/detail.asp?product_id=ros-p05500). They've just gone up in price, but even at $60 for 22 colors that's a good deal (the other 2 jars are acrylic medium samples that they also include.) Plus, the color is "concentrated" which means it's a heavy load of pigment and binder designed to be diluted for use, so a 1 oz jar can be diluted to about 50% or more.

I do have some minor issues with them at first glance:
Some of the colors were exceptionally thick and paste-like, such as the white. I had to add a few drops of diluted water to thin it down more, and make it workable.

They don't give details on the pigments they use. This is from a scene paint company, not an art paint company, so they cater to a different clientele. Some of the paint is labeled in a recognizable fashion, such as cerulean blue, but others are just "red" or "white." What pigment for red, I wonder? They also don't tell if it's a mixed pigment or not, as you would find on tubes from Shiva, for example, or lightfastness ratings, etc. I've sent a email to them, but never got an answer back. I may have to try calling them.

Most of them are rather transparent, even in concentrated form. The most opaque were the navy blue, ult. blue, purple, both umbers, and black. The orange was also surprisingly opaque, even though the red wasn't, but it looks like it's tinted with white.

Unlike Shiva's caseins, these have a limited shelf life. Accornig to Rosco's site above, they say an opened can will last up to 4 months depending on conditions.That's about the same as paint I've mixed up myself. These jars may not seal as well as cans, so that may be a shorter term - we'll see.

The paint has an odor similar to Shiva's which to me smells like ammonia. This odor completely disappears once the paint has dried.

I dislike jars for storing paint. It's more likely for them to dry out, in my experience, and the lids can crack if you screw them on too tightly. Also, getting the paint out means dipping into the jar which can contaminated the contents if you're not careful, as opposed to squeezing a tube. I may wind up tubing them.

In one of the pictures below is a color chart I made up using these paints. I made a bar of color straight from the jar, tinted equally with white, and thinned with water as a wash. I'll see if I can get a good lightfastness test on them. Still, it looks like they'll work well at this early stage. I'll run them through some actual paintings to see how they hold up.

02-27-2007, 05:43 AM
TY, db !

I've added this to the Informative Casein Threads thread.


02-27-2007, 07:41 AM
David, thanks so much for the review. I sure would like to get my paws on a pigment/lightfastness chart for them! Perhaps you could make a second identical color chart and tape it in a window for several months to see how the colors hold up.


02-27-2007, 10:50 AM
Thanks Judy.

Jamie, that chart is actually taped to the window now. I'm making up little paint swatches to tape on the jar lids to help me identify the color in the box.

There's a FAQ (http://www.rosco.com/us/technotes/scenic/iddings_deep_faq.asp) page on the Rosco site link above with a bit more info. They mention adding a powerful perservative and odor reducing compound that accounts for their smell, no doubt.

I've been mixing them with other paints and home-made emulsion, and so far they're working fine.

04-20-2007, 10:12 AM
Okay, well, the paint chart has been taped to the window now for almost 2 months, so I thought I'd have a look-see at how the colors have been holding up. It appears, at this point, that only the reds have a lightfast issue with these Iddings paints. The "Dark Red" in particular has almost vanished in the bottom wash swatch; although, the "Red," "Bright Red," and "Magenta" seem to have only faded slightly. I think for mixing or tinting, they'll be okay, but will have to be careful not to use them exclusively too much, or substitute another brand. All of the other colors seem to have held up quite well.

To be fair, I don't think I've ever made a similar test with the Shivas I have either.

I've made a few paintings with these now, using just these paints, and they are working quite well. I especially like how they do not appear to change value after they dry like other caseins can do. I've been keeping the jars in refrigeration when not in use to make sure they last as long as possible. So far no signs of soilage or mold.

04-20-2007, 10:23 AM
Here's a before-and-after with the dark red in particular. The original state is on the left side (different lighting conditions to be considered, but you can see the change.) The purple is also a bit faded too.