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  #11  
Old 25-09-06, 04:07 AM
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I realise this topic is a year old but I've been using some coloured gesso lately with success. Still I'd like some feedback on easier and secure ways of making coloured backgrounds. I have been known to use acrylic to create the rich colour areas under different parts of the picture, but I'm not convinced that this is a good idea in terms of adhesion of the tempera. I can't say that it seems to have a bad effect though. I have also been thinking of using gum tempera underneath. Is that OK ( the gum would be probably gum arabic)? It produces a beautiful deep transparent colour which you can't get with coloured gesso. Or perhaps I should use egg white underneath or even glair. Can anyone offer some further advice on this?

jeff bryant
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  #12  
Old 27-09-06, 02:54 AM
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OK, this isn't quite the same thing as colored gesso, but often, after I make a monochromatic underpainting on white gesso, I wash over it with a transparent color before working it up with local colors.
Couldn't this accomplish the same thing for you? I.e., glaze or stain whatever color you desire atop a white ground? Then you'd have a lot more control over the intensity and value of the colored ground -- plus, it would have a nice depth of color and transparency instead of homogenous opacity.
D.
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Old 27-09-06, 04:51 AM
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I suppose really I should just use a glaze of egg tempera when I think about it. It is just that I would then have to leave it dry for perhaps a day before it is more or less immobile. Is that the sort of glaze you mean, Dennis?

jeff
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  #14  
Old 27-09-06, 04:55 PM
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I use casein or egg tempera to lay down a colored ground over my ink or casein underpainting. I prefer casein for the wash because it spreads out in broad areas fairly easily and dries quickly. Then, I usually come back in with white casein (and black or burnt sienna) to further model the underpainting. Afterwards I apply a dilute egg wash and start in with ET colors.
D
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Old 28-09-06, 10:51 AM
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That's interesting. I haven't used casein - how do you make it?

jeff
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  #16  
Old 29-09-06, 12:36 PM
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Jeff,
I'll look for my recipes for you when I get back to the house. There may be some information on the Kremer site. Or Sinopia's. I've used Kremer's components (casein powder and borax) to make casein emulsion. I also have emulsions made (or sold) by Zecchi and by Shiva. Each of those is different than the other and have a longer shelf life than the kind you make yourself. Shiva also makes tubes of casein paint.
I've never tried to make it directly from milk or sour cream, but that might be a fun experiment. When I stayed in Germany years ago, I ate something called Quark. I think you can make casein paint by adding borax to that.
A casein house paint, once widely used in the U.S., is called milk paint. When interior walls here were still made of actual lime plaster, they were often painted in milk paint because you could paint the plaster much earlier, before it had completely "cured", than you could with oils. It was sometimes just straight casein emulsion, pigment and water; more frequently it contained lime as well. Milk paint also makes a great paint for furniture, especially if you don't want a hard plastic varnished look. I like casein a lot. If you don't want to mess with a warm pot of skin glue, you can make casein gesso. It's probably only slightly less durable than RSG gesso. Like egg tempera and rabbit skin glue, casein is brittle, so use the same precautions as you would with them.
D
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  #17  
Old 29-09-06, 01:16 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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Re: casein

There's a recipe at the Sinopia site, as Dennis mentioned:
http://www.sinopia.com/casein.html
and Kremer:
http://www.kremer-pigmente.de/englisch/notes.htm

also Kama has a recipe and they sell powder (check their demos section: )
http://www.kamapigments.com/

Larger sizes at a slightly better price (Google "milkpaint")
http://www.milkpaint.com/prod_mp.html
http://www.realmilkpaint.com/products.html

Here's a site that demonstrates how to make it from scratch:
http://www.angelfire.com/yt/modot/painting.html

The pre-mixed liquid brands (Schmincke is another) add preservatives for the shelf-life, possibly ammonia or some such and possibly wetting agents, which I don't like to use in my ground; although it's fine for painting. I also like to add a little alum to make it stronger. A lime mixture is fine to use for ground, but can make the paint pale in tone.
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  #18  
Old 30-09-06, 01:10 PM
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Thanks, folks. Looks like I've more experimenting to do.

Jeff
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