Saturday, February 1, 2014

Casein painting #2 – Portrait of an 18C Naval Officer

"Portrait of a Naval Officer," c. Sara Light-Waller, 2014

My second casein painting, done in a 9”x 12” Stillman and Birn Beta Sketchbook. I’m pleased with it and am really loving painting in casein. I feel like I’ve been painting with it for years already!

I have already made several discoveries about casein that are useful to know.

Casein tip # 1 — When painting in casein NEVER dip your brush into dirty water and then mix white. It took me several days to figure out why I was getting such muddy whites. Now, I'll dip my brush in clean water before I touch the white paint with it. It's making things much better, and brighter.

Casein tip #2 — When applied too heavily, casein will start to flake off the page. It's not oil paint!! I shall do my next painting with an underpainting in watercolor and see how that goes. It might provide a good base that will prevent any flaking later on.

Casein tip #3 — I was not happy with the underpainting I did on the face in yellow ochre. I thought, because the paint was opaque, ochre would provide a nice, warm skin tone. Instead, my fellow looked sallow and I had to reconsider the entire facial color scheme as I went along. I think it worked out alright in the end, but I know that I can do better. Again, next I’ll try an underpainting of watercolor and see how that does.

Casein tip #4 — Casein stays on your brushes. They need to be washed out with mild soap and water after each painting session.  

Casein tip #5 — Unlike watercolor, casein does not perform as well when re-wet, as it does fresh out of the tube. To try and save paint at the end of the day I’ve wet the remaining paint on my palette and covered it with plastic wrap for the night. I don’t know the results yet. I’ll let you know. I can’t stand wasting paint.

So that’s the update for today. Expect more soon, and a video showing my progress through the painting shown above.

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