Painting with Casein



The life of a blog tends to have its ups and downs, the moments of dead air and moments of frantic energy. I'm sure you see it in the other blogs that you follow. There are always the "I've been neglecting my blog" posts and they happen every so often for just about everyone that I know.

For me, it happens because I'm working on something new and I'm not yet ready to share those moments and talk about them. I want to see where they go organically and not because I'm forcing myself to share and talk about them.

"So what have you been doing lately," you ask? So glad you asked :)

I've decided to explore yet another antiquated medium-- casein. Casein paint is a material derived from milk protein. It's water soluble and very fun to work with. The flow feels like a hybrid of watercolor and acrylic but it is certainly its own beast. I chose to explore it because I was beginning to work drawing into my paintings. I needed something that dried relatively fast but would play nicely with graphite both in the wet and dry phases.

I've been working on both virgin wood and a prepared ground (I'll note the difference in the images posted here); I've found that I prefer the finished look in the ground. Working on a virgin wood, the paint absorbs extremely fast, which is ok but challenging at times. You certainly have to chase the painting a lot harder. Working this way created a pleasing atmospheric quality but the wood wound up getting little areas that were similar to fuzz on a good sweater. Not the look I was going for.

Working on a ground is my preferred way to paint with casein (for now, anyway!) because it gives the painting a luminosity that is unattainable on the bare wood. It also makes the paint flow like a dream. Plus, I really love applying ground to wood. That's my new favorite prep activity. Taping off the edges on the other hand... don't care for it too much.

(above: My Black Eye, 6" x 8"; no ground)

Aggregate, 20" x 24"; ground

Breaking Off The Middle Part, 16" x 16"; no ground

Salad (Tosser), 20" x 24"; ground

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