Casein seems to be useful for almost any kind of painting. Reportedly it was widely used by illustrators over a half-century ago, primarily for its quick drying and matte finish. Since the medium was used in advertising work, there is little doubt that it was used for all manner of figure work, narrative illustration, probably poster art, and others. While I haven't done still life with casein paint, it has been useful to try a few landscapes, a couple of which I posted not long ago. My primary work is figures and cities, so traditional landscape is a challenge, but it gives me a chance to continue working out the properties of this kind of paint. This time the landscape is a nocturne, a night scene.
|James Whistler, "Nocturne in Blue and Gold,"ca 1873|
|Frederic Remington, "Old Stagecoach of the Plains."|
Although I've done a few nocturnes myself, none can match Whistler or Remington. Still, it's an enjoyable discipline to produce a near-monochromatic work, taking advantage of indistinct forms and a narrower range of values. As part of continuing investigation of casein paint, I did the landscape below in casein using my back woods as a motif, altering the palette to make a monochromatic, nocturnal view. An old panel with an oil sketch made an interesting support. I was curious to see if casein would stick since it is said to stick to almost anything. I scuffed the surface with a scrub pad and then wiped it clean before painting. Casein laid down smoothly with no problem on the scuffed surface, so long as the paint was full-bodied (not thinned too much with water). Full-bodied paint is easier to use.
The cool and warmer blues of the paint--cobalt blue and "Shiva blue"--marry pretty well with titanium white, and the fallen trunk made a nice counterpoint to the bare-limbed trees. The casein's quick drying lets me layer paint rapidly to make more- and less-distinct details, taking advantage of transparency and opacity. Unlike the examples above, though, this work is utterly monochromatic since the woods--these woods at least--have no warm spots of light. "Mourning," is imagined as after a snowfall, at the bluest moments of day, just as darkness falls.
The fallen tree above was previously seen in this post