Tag: painting

Watercoloring Galore

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Watercolor is amazingly portable. I enjoy casein, but I don’t have a portable kit that folds up to the size of a phone like I do with watercolor. Casein dries out quickly like acrylic, and it spoils, too, so my choice for everyday painting is watercolor.

I’ve painted this doorway twice. On the left is a 3.5″x5″ painting, while in the center is a 9″x12″. Both have their pluses and minuses. The left is too dark, and some of the color became muddy, while the center has nicer color variation, detail, and value. However, I think the overhang is far better on the left than the center. It’s interesting that I failed to capture perspective with both. I loved painting with this method, however. It involves layering in primary colors to gain luminosity and depth.

On a whim, I bought a child’s Melissa & Doug watercolor kit. After trying the colors, I emptied it and replaced them with my six Daniel Smith Essentials kit, which consists of warm and cool blues, reds, and yellows. You can see how I put the pigments into the left, center, and right circles on both lines, and created a mix of two in between. The single circles on the bottom have all three warm on the left, which made brown, and all three cools on the right, which made black. I didn’t mix greens because I like to vary them so much–plus, I ran out of room. This was super fun. I hadn’t thought about pre-mixing my commonly mixed colors before, if that makes any sense.

Here’s my former Melissa & Doug kit with it’s new Daniel Smith pigments. Don’t they look awesome? I now have four palettes I use regularly.

Below are two attempts at painting barges on the Mississippi River. Both are from photos. My goal was to use the brush in a way that leaves sparkles on water.

Little landscapes from my mind and a few plein air attempts on the bottom.

Water, bridges, water sparkles… and grapes.

First Casein Sketch

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I’ve become fascinated with casein paint, mostly because it’s water soluble and can be used like a transparent watercolor or an opaque gouache or even like a thicker, heavier acrylic. It also dries to an impermeable surface which can be left alone, varnished for an oil painting appearance, put under glass, or displayed in a frame. In other words, it’s versatile.

I bought a six-color kit and practiced a little on my watercolor paper. Used thinly, supposedly it won’t crack after it’s dried. I’ve learned a lot in less than an hour:

  • Casein dries on the palette quickly. It turns thicker and thicker until it goes from a smooth, velvety texture to a gluey texture. At that point, you need more water to get the paint onto the surface, and that extra amount of water will thin the paint so it’s not as opaque. I’m going to experiment with a wet palette to keep the paint fluid for a longer amount of time.
  • Casein is truly opaque, which means one layer will totally cover the first layer (when the first layer is dried). This is so different from watercolor that it’ll take some thoughtful practice to get used to it. For example, when painting the windows on the houses, I kept painting around the edges. Only at the end did I realize I could paint directly over the wall of the house to create a window.
  • Casein can be mixed on the palette, but when it’s still wet on the paper, it can also be mixed on the surface. I think this is a matter of skill as the paint doesn’t blossom like watercolor. It’s far more subtle.
  • You can use two colors on your brush to create super cool effects.
  • White doesn’t appear as pure white when layered over other colors, at least not for me. It seems to show color beneath. I suspect you need to use fairly thick paint with nearly no water to get white to obliterate the color below. So, perhaps, when the painting is nearly done, putting down a fresh bit of white paint to use is the best bet.

The little painting is from a 1950 book by Henry M. Gasser, Casein Painting: Methods and Demonstrations. This first example is using casein watered-down, more like transparent watercolor. I simplified it tremendously, not wanting to paint two dozen teeny houses. It’s funny how crooked my houses are–can you tell I did this at the end of a very long day? I was super excited to try the paints and wasn’t content with doing the color sampler.

Artist James Gurney is a fan of casein and is probably the reason why I bumped into it in the first place. He writes about it on his blog and has numerous short videos painting en plein air. Truthfully, although artists use this medium, there isn’t a tremendous amount of current information about it, even though it’s the oldest known paint and was used in ancient cave paintings.

Categories: Art Casein

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Mixing Chart, Watercolor Journal

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I made a mixing chart with cool, dark colors running down the left side and warm, brighter colors across the top of the page. With each warm color, a drop of dark color was addded with each stripe downward. The many shades of greens and purples are amazing. One of my goals with painting is to keep a limited palette, so now I understand color mixing a little bit more, and I’m confident I don’t need to purchase a ton of colors.

Today, I attempted to paint a little sketch from a photo–no tutorial. I have to say, it doesn’t even resemble the photo.

I also practiced using the large, flat brush with a Peter Sheeler tutorial.

And I painted four tiny “spontaneous” paintings where you quickly add color here and there, and then after it dries, add detail to turn it into something. The top right is inspired by artist Millie Gift Smith.

Categories: Art Watercolor

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Watercolors, 4-6

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More attempts at using watercolor. I’m using an inexpensive Prang oval set on either 90 lb. or 140 lb. cold press paper. With the last few, I’ve starting using Winsor and Newton Cotman (student) paint in tubes. The color is smoother and the dark browns and blues are deeper:

My favorite so far. This is one of the exercises from Zoltan Szabo’s Landscape Painting in Watercolor.

Another exercise from Zoltan Szabo’s Landscape Painting in Watercolor. When it dried, the sky was far too light for the dark island, and so I splashed black on it, giving it a strange look.

This is from one of Grant Fuller’s amazing demos on Youtube. My paper was very small and so I opted to skip the house and trees. At the last minute I added a boat:

Categories: Art Watercolor

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