Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Painting with the Split Brush Technique

There's snow on the ground, but it's about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10C), so I can bring the casein paint outdoors.

I paint this field study with a limited palette of casein. I use a split brush technique to suggest the texture of dry weeds. (Link to YouTube)

Split brush painting is a way to hint at a lot of detail without meticulously painting every twig. 
Basic set of caseins: Jack Richeson Casein (6 Pack)


Sara Davis said...

Dogs are all about the moment, without regard to capturing a particular moment. It's easy to feel like we should emulate them, but if we did soooo many beautiful paintings would not exist, including yours.

gronkchicago said...

I notice that you're using caseins on a page of what looks like a watercolor notebook. I've been interested in caseins since back in the '70's. I always understood that the dried emulsion wasn't very flexible and that the support had to be rigid to keep them from flaking off...a lot of what I saw painted with caseins was done on primed masonite back there "in the day". Have the formulas changed over the years to allow painting on more flexible supports?

LoMa said...

I'm fascinated by the colours of your snow, therefore I would like to ask if you have any advice on painting effectful but still realistic snow even when it looks more or less white?

Tobias Gembalski said...

Even though you can clearly see it is painted, it still emits such a vibriant light! Great!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Tobias.

LoMa, even in the bright, sunlit areas, I keep my mixtures a little darker than pure white. The light areas are slightly warm (white + yellow ochre). The shadows in snow are bluish on a sunny day because they're lit by the blue of the sky. In this case I exaggerated the effect of warm reflected light on the foreground snowbank. Both the light and the shadow areas are painted over a pre-toned surface, and that underpainting may be influencing the colors a bit.

GronkChicago, I'm aware of that concern. It's true that very thick impastos of casein can be fragile and the emulsion strength is much weaker than acrylic. So a gob of thick paint can crack or even break off if it's painted on a surface that flexes too much. I'm using a Pentalic Aqua Journal, which has 100 lb paper. It can bend a bit, but I've never had any issues with cracking or breaking off. If you want to use an opaque water medium and you want to be sure to avoid the problem, I'd suggest using acrylic or Acryla Gouache. And as always, I recommend experimenting with test swatches of your materials to see how they behave before you start a painting with them.

Sara, I agree. Dogs are the greatest sketching companions, and they keep us focused on the present moment.

Lou said...

Thought Smooth lived in Colorado. Are you dog sitting?

James Gurney said...

Lou, yes, our son has been living near us, so we get to dog-sit Smooth a lot.

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