Friday, July 28, 2017

Quick Sketching in Casein

"Morning Joe," oil on hardboard, 6x4, 2010

Over the past several years (well, off and on) I've been doing quick sketches most mornings using oil paint on small hardboard panels. Those works have mostly been small still life paintings, often 4x6 or sometimes even smaller. They're great ways to study different aspects of painting--everything from values to composition to color palettes to varying light. That body of work I call Windowsill Works because the objects of the pictures were usually posed in the studio window. And I can finish one of these small pieces in less than an hour or so.

The picture to the right, Morning Joe, shows my morning coffee cup on a stainless steel table in the early morning light. I think I was most interested in the values and light plus how to just cool versus warm tones in a limited palette. Anyway that's how it looks now. Each of these Windowsill Works was a learning exercise.

But I haven't done any of those oil sketches lately. Instead I've continued to investigate casein.  One of the beauties of casein, it seems to me, is it's fast drying. That makes casein a great medium for quick sketching. During these summer mornings, I've been sketching sails and sailing vessels using magazine references. The grace and swoop of sails against sky and clouds, land and horizon, has long
"Racing," casein on hardboard, 6x4, 2017

"Trio of Racers," casein on hardboard, 4x6, 2017
fascinated me.

The beauty of casein is not only it's handling but also it's opacity. You can layer paint in quick succession yet still reactivate the paint briefly for a few minutes if you need to blend layers or edges. These are racing yachts in full sail.

Here are a couple of small casein sketches on hardboard, both 4x6. Each of these was painted on a previously toned surface. You can see it peeping through in various places. Although these were done in the studio as morning exercises, it's easy to see how one could use casein in the field to quickly capture a fleeting moment.






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Other posts about casein:
Milk Paint
More on Milk Paint
Casein Investigations
Landscape in Casein

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