Harkness Marsh 16"x 20" Casein on canvas on wood (available)
What is Casein? Casein (Kay'seen) Casein is a opaque, fast-drying durable, water-soluble, milk protein based paint. Casein is one of the oldest art mediums in the world.Over time, casein pigments become resistant to moisture and as history has proven, the medium has a durability and permanence that has easily stood the test of time. Casein paint has an exceptional integrity of color and dries to a perfect matte finish, The matte finish can also be buffed to a satin sheen or varnished to produce a resemblance to oils. Casein has been used for under painting in oils that adds depth,vibrancy,and can increase the realism of a piece. Casein differs from other media but shares many of the same characteristics. It a very versatile medium that lends itself to many techniques. Casein has the wash capabilities of watercolor, the smooth opacity of tempera and gouache, and the richer textures of oils and acrylics. Due to its fast dry time, it is possible to lay on a glaze and move onto the next stage within a few hours. Casein can produce clear crisp lines. Casein behaves well with other water based media. You can use Casein directly with any watercolor, gouache and acrylics. Casein thinned with water can create translucent layers. Casein colors values are diffident when they dry from when they were wet. It is good idea to create a reference color swatch. Casein is often described as quiet and subtle, having a color depth similar to oils.
History: Recipes for use of Casein date back 9000 years to cave paintings. It was a very popular medium during the 1940's and 50's Tubed colors evolved in the 1930's. Casein was used during World War II for camouflage. . It was commonly used by both illustrators and fine arts painters. It had lost its popularity with the advent of acrylics. Casein is making a come back today due to modern oil emulsion paint making.
Types of Casein True Casein Paint: Dries immediately. Has a very short life shelf. Once dry becomes water impermeable and a very durable film. This was one its short comings. However modern casein is an emulsion. (see below) True Casein paint can be made with recipes using dry pigments. Lime Casein or Borax Casein.
Modern Casein is an emulsion:. It contains a small amount of oil. It dries to the touch almost immediately by water evaporation. The oil dries by gaseous exchange with the atmosphere. The curing process can take about two weeks depending on temperature. Emulsion casein being resoluble is re-workable. There are other casein emulsion brands on the market from Shiva(Richeson), Lukas, Plaksa and Schmincke
Painting Surfaces: Casein can be applied to rigid non oily surfaces. Canvas panel,illustration board, hardwood board, heavy watercolor paper and Masonite. Casein is not recommended for heavy impasto techniques. Canvas or linen mounted on Masonite or even stone. Casein can be painted on metal, cement, plaster, wet or dry lime walls and glass.
Artists that worked with this medium:
John Mulnar (1960-2010) www.johnmolnarpaintings.com " Casein- It's Matte, Muted and cool but it's not for the fainthearted..This little used medium demands care and patience" George McLean (1939- ) www.wildlifeart.org/collection/artists/artist-george-mclean-387" Wildlife and landscape artist" Works exclusively in casein
Robert Tanenbaum www.rtanenbaum.com Has used casein since the 1970s, and is known for his paintings of sports figures in casein
Stephen Quiller -http://www.quillergallery.com/shop/Shiva-Casein
James Gurney -http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2013/04/casein-experiment.html