Tag Archives: casein

Deer in casein

This is not the most technically proficient painting, I’ll grant you that. But I love it. Casein paint is matte, which photographs well, but does the photo show the velvety naturalness of the paint? I’ve got the deer propped up beside an oil painting and it makes the oil painting look artificial and pompous. I keep reading that casein paint has atmosphere. If that means a hazy look, well yes, you can see that I took advantage of that property. But you don’t have to put in haze. Everything can be painted clearly, using the same pigments as other paints.
The drying time seems very fast. I don’t have time to blend, but I can take a wet brush and smear the just-dried paint a little. I gessoed a panel with gesso that I made with baby powder. I left some texture, which really adds to the interest.
If I could get the hang of painting rapidly, I’d love to use casein paint for landscapes.

Homemade casein: milk curd + borax
Instead of buying powdered pigment, I just used my trusty water-mixable oil paint as the pigment. It seems to take on the properties of the medium I mix into it. Some people may say that this is mixed media, but seriously: the paint had all the properties of casein that I’ve read about and did not handle like oil, dry like oil, etc (when I mix egg yolk into water-mixable oil paint, it’s egg tempera. When I mix water with it, it handles and looks vastly different than when I mix oil into it).

Deer, casein
Deer in casein paint

Update: Well, surprise. Again, I seem to be doing something wrong. According to the great painter James Gurney, casein paint ought to stay wet a few minutes (not a few seconds). No, he didn’t talk to me. I watched a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sdq1Xwze3Q