Friday, December 2, 2016

Charley Parker on Casein

Charley Parker of the blog "Lines and Colors" has written a well-illustrated and comprehensive post on painting in casein, as well as a review of my recent video "Casein Painting in the Wild."
"Casein is one of the least familiar of the water based painting mediums available to contemporary painters, even though it’s one of the oldest painting mediums known. Casein’s use can be reliably traced back over 9,000 years, with evidence of the formulation in cave paintings, and examples have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs from several thousand years ago....Personally, I find casein to be a genuine pleasure to work with. I like the way it flows and handles, the textural possibilities and the appealing color and matte surface in finished paintings."
Painting with Casein Paint
Review of "Casein Painting in the Wild" on Lines and Colors 


Linda Navroth said...

In your casein video you touch briefly on varnishing a casein painting, and you addressed this in a Q&A in another post, but I'd like to know which Richeson varnish you used. I can't find a 'casein varnish', so were you using one of their oil varnishes to brush on? And how successful is it really to even try this? I am intrigued with the possibility of achieving a gloss on certain paintings, but wonder if this is one of the limitations of the medium. Can one really do this without destroying the painting in the process?

James Gurney said...

Linda, I've only seen one kind of casein varnish. It comes as an amber liquid in a jar, and it brushes on over the bone-dry paint, but as you say, it seems to be hard to find. I didn't see it on Amazon either, but I have a bottle. I have varnished a couple of paintings with it and it worked fine. However on a sketchbook page it tended to be soaked up so much by the paper that it took many coats to finally get any gloss. I think the same holds true for spray-on varnishes such as Kamar varnish. So if you want to do a painting that will be varnished after the painting is finished, it's a good idea to first prime the substrate with a relatively impermeable ground.

Linda Navroth said...

Thanks for your reply James. After reading this, I decided to go to the source, and so contacted Richeson directly. This is what I got back from Colleen at Richeson:

"Any good acrylic varnish should be fine. We discontinued making ours because so many folks buy the Acrylic Varnish. I would test an area on a sample piece first to make certain you get the expected gloss with the varnish you want to use. Take a sample surface - apply casein - let it dry for 3-4 days to cure - then apply the varnish to the test piece - observe the result. As you know each type of varnish will give you a different gloss or matte."

I will take her advice and try some different ones on some test samples, and I'll also try some sprays just to see how they function. Tinkering with stuff like this is part of the fun for me!