Thursday, May 13, 2021

Impasto Painting in Casein

Can you draw with colored pencils on the surface of dry casein paint?

Well, sort of. Usually casein dries with a surface that doesn't take the colored pencil quite as well as watercolor or gouache does. Sometimes the pencil just skids over the surface. But this time it worked, and I used the black colored pencil to quickly note some detail in the horn, cheek, and eye. I was also able to use the fountain pen over the thin paint.

Note the thin, semi-transparent layers of blue, yellow, and green applied with a half inch flat brush in the upper left.

What about impastos in casein? Yum, I love paint texture! I set up the whole painting for these last light accents. Gotta be careful though.

I'm painting here in a watercolor sketchbook. Because the paper is quite flexible, heavy impastos in casein could crack off because thick passages are rather brittle, more like chalk than the durable plastic quality of acrylic. My impastos here are fairly low, still within the safe range for a watercolor paper support.

If you like to go really crazy with impastos, you should work on a panel, or pre-texture the impastos with acrylic modeling paste, which has more emulsion strength and flexibility than casein.

The handling of the casein can be very reminiscent of oil, more so than gouache. It flows off the brush like oil, but it dries in minutes instead of hours. For the oil painter like me looking for a water-based sketching medium that travels well, this fits the bill pretty well.
More about this delicious medium in my video Casein Painting in the Wild.

1 comment:

Bevan said...

And casein smells good ;)