Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Painting a sunset in casein

Last evening I sat beside the Hudson River to paint the sunset.




This short video (link to video) shows how it came together. With such a subject, there's not much need for a preliminary drawing, so I just jump in with the brushes.

The colors I'm using are: Titanium white, cadmium yellow light, raw sienna, cadmium red scarlet, Venetian red, cerulean blue, and ultramarine blue deep.

Video tech notes: I shot the real-time video by mounting the camcorder on a new swing-out camera arm that I have mounted on my homemade pochade easel. The time lapse is shot with a GoPro camera mounted on a wind-up timer that sits on a Lego-powered motion control dolly. I have a second timer set up for tilt shots as well as pans.

Materials:  casein
1/4 inch flat brush 
Moleskine watercolor notebook
Waterman Phileas red fountain pen 
Lots of info on casein at Richeson's FAQ about casein

16 comments:

Greg Newbold said...

Great video and very nice painting James. How much time did you spend and how much fiddling with cameras does it take?

James Gurney said...

Hey, Greg, I think I had about an hour before the sun set. Usually sunsets only give you 15 minutes, but this one was amazingly stable. Probably a third of that time was spent fiddling with the cameras, sound recorders, and Lego motors—but still cameras just don't capture a moment as well.

Adrien Bernard-Reymond said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina Florio said...

James, thanks so much for taking the time to shoot, edit and post these videos. They are an incredible help and inspiration to aspiring artists like myself.

Teresa Rodriguez said...

This is my "smoke break". When other coworkers are outside puffing, I stay in and take 2-5 minutes to watch something like Gurney painting vids.
So much healthier. And educational.
:)

tabascocatart.com said...

It seems like casein is you new "go to" medium! Do you think it has more to recommend it than gouache?

I was thinking of using to do quick color studies for oil paintings since it is opaque so you can use it like oil. What do you think?

tabascocatart.com said...

It seems like casein is you new "go to" medium! Do you think it has more to recommend it than gouache?

I was thinking of using it to do quick color studies for oil paintings since it is opaque so you can use it like oil. What do you think?

Diana Moses Botkin said...

You are such a wonderful inspiration to so many, James. Thank you for constantly sharing your talent and skills with us, as well as what supplies you use.

Perhaps you have explained this already but I must've missed it if you did: Can you comment on your brush rinse water and how that container stays in your neat set-up?

Adam Stolterman said...

I love every single one of your videos. Thank you so much for taking the time to make them, they are such an inspiration, and 5 minutes of watching you paint teaches me so much.

James Gurney said...

Thanks for watching, everybody, and glad you're enjoying these. Diana, I try to remember to bring a quart size tub with rinse water, something I can set brushes in once the brushes are in use. I don't want them to sit and dry with paint on them. As soon as I get home I wash them out thoroughly under the faucet.

Tabasco, I've been using casein a lot, but still like using oil, watercolor, and gouache, which are ideal for particular uses. Casein is ideal for color studies because it's fast, direct, brilliant in color, and reworkable.

Tom Hart said...

James,the Richeson FAQ on casein discusses its shelf-life, which sounds to me as if that's significantly shorter than it is for oils (for example). That's put me off a bit from investing in many more tubes of casein, since I'm not sure how much I'll be using it on an ongoing basis. Have you seen any evidence of the short (?) shelf life? I know it hasn't been all that long for you, but...

James Gurney said...

Tom, I've had my casein a few months and haven't had any sign of drying, hardening, or spoiling in the tubes yet. I believe Richeson adds an ingredient to keep the milk-based binder from spoiling. Two tips: you could keep your unused paint tubes in the fridge, or you could put them in big sealed glass jars or Tupperware. I have done that with gouache tubes, which tend to dry up in the tube if they're not protected in watertight sealed jars.

Christy said...

James,

Thank yous so much for taking the time to post the videos!! They are such a great inspiration. No chance you would do an online class on the casein??? Thanks again!!

Tom Hart said...

Thanks for the answer on shelf life, James.

I was wondering about the angle of your mixing surface, and wondering if it's at such a steep angle for the benefit of the camera, or if there is another reason for that. It seems that there's a good deal of pooling, run-off if you will.

James Gurney said...

Tom, the only reason the shelf is at that steep angle is that the kind of hinges I used aren't strong enough to hold it at a higher angle. It flops all the way down. But that's OK. The paint does drip or sag a bit, but I often like having my palette at the same angle as the painting.

mdmattin said...

Concerning the shelf life of casein: Having been inspired by this series to revisit casein painting, I dug out a large, partially used tube of Shiva Titanium White dating from sometime back in the late Eighties. It seems to be fine.
Matthew