Saturday, September 24, 2016

Using Gouache and Casein to Paint a Wolf

Over on Instagram, Suzypal asks, "How do you decide between casein or gouache?" Answer: You can use both together and use the advantages of each.

They're both similar in a lot of ways: opaque, matte, water media. The main difference is that casein dries to a more closed surface, meaning the dry paint doesn't reactivate when it's wet. Gouache can be reactivated.

Alaskan Wolf, gouache, 5 x 8 inches.

When I painted this Alaskan wolf in gouache yesterday, I used black and white casein for the background. Once I laid the background down, I didn't want it to change too much.

I chose gouache for the wolf because I wanted to be able to reactivate it. That was the only way to get the softness of the fur, especially in the shadows, like under the mouth and on the neck.

To do that softening, I re-wet a postage stamp size area with a flat brush dipped in pure water—really quick, no scrubbing! With a rewet surface, I could gently coax out softness with another brush or with my finger, or I could drop in a stroke that would blend into a blur.

(Use this link to view video on Facebook) Where I wanted fine details of fur in the lights and the halftones, I used gouache in a more dry-brush mode, and I used a few touches of light and dark watercolor pencils.
Expand your GurneyJourney Reach:
James Gurney on Instagram — Daily serving of color, light, and Dinotopia
My public Facebook page —Where you can see short videos that don't always appear on YouTube
Gurney on YouTube — Almost 200 free videos, fun and instructional.
Taxidermy by: Lynn Stewart
Event: SKB Workshop in Dubois, Wyoming / 5 days, 15 instructors, 150 students.
Gouache: Mostly HolbeinM. Graham , and Winsor Newton


Suzy Pal Powell said...

LOVE it! and all of your art! I am sorry i missed you in Dubois this year. Wanted to meet you and watch you work! maybe next time. i got some casein several months ago and like it a lot. the only thing is, I don't like the smell. fun to paint with. thanks for all the videos you post. they have helped me alot.

Muddy Colors said...

Man, that's a killer painting, James!

Daroo said...

Wow -- masterful edges and spot on color (soft vs hard, warm vs cool, high frequency texture vs big open spaces ) -- its a very tactile painting. Very well done!

Unknown said...

Absolutely wonderful - one of my favorite animals and captured in paint so beautifully. Thank you for posting this and for sharing your art and techniques.

carol edan said...

You did justice to such and grand and elegant creature. Beautiful!!!

Jayson Mondala said...

That's awesome!

Nic Human said...

When I saw it, I had to immediately show my wife! This is incredible. It really is!

Robert said...

Do you spray fixative on the gouache painting when it is done to make it waterproof?

Carlos said...

Hi James. Lovely painting. When doing an illustration or painting that's going to be printed, do you still use the method you explained in an old post ( Cheers, Carlos

Jesse Winchester said...

This makes my heart flutter!