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  #11  
Old 24-12-15, 06:09 PM
arbrador arbrador is offline
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Default More on casein gesso

Hi All~
Many years ago I tried casein gesso because I liked the idea of not having to use warm gesso and wrestling with air bubbles. I can't remember why I did not pursue it but remember that I did not like the surface as much as traditional gesso.

Recently Elaine Drew tried the Sinopia version and also was not happy. Here is her summary:

"Mostly, it seems the paint doesn't adhere well to the surface. I did a couple of pieces that came out all right, eventually, but the paint sliding off was annoying. After enough layers were built up it seemed to be better. I also had a problem doing an ink underpainting; that slid off as well."

She did extensive experiments at the time including using traditional gesso over a couple of coats of casein gesso but in the end abandoned the whole idea of using casein gesso.

At least now we can buy our smaller panels at a reasonable price. My problem it I'm painting larger and larger ETs and there's no way I can afford to buy a gesso panel that is, for example, 4'x8'. So back to the meditation of traditional gesso.
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  #12  
Old 25-12-15, 03:58 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Thanks for describing Elaine Drew's experience, Lora. At the risk of redundancy, but for the sake of ET newcomers, I'll point out that Elaine is an accomplished tempera painter who, from past experience, was able to recognize the distinction between the working properties of traditional gesso and casein gesso. A newcomer to the medium wouldn't know that the casein gesso wasn't behaving optimally for egg tempera, and might assume that slipping paint is intrinsic to tempera (or the fault of the painter). That is the problem with new grounds that are advertised as ideal for tempera - they mislead the beginner. Which is why, much as I like Sinopia as a company and think their products are generally great, I'm being a bit of a pest here regarding casein gesso; my persistence come from advocacy for egg tempera.

No doubt, making gesso from scratch is work, particularly a large panel. To clarify (again, primarily for beginner's sake) there are ways to mitigate and/or eliminate air bubbles: minimize agitating the gesso while making it, let prepared gesso sit in the fridge for a day or two (so it can settle down) before application, add a flow aid to the gesso, don't overheat the gesso (keep it just warm enough to stay liquid), don't have too much of a temperature difference between the panel and gesso, be attentive as you build layers, etc...

Whatever the work involved, keep in mind the benefits: As Lora points out, it is a thoughtful, meditative process. It makes you more knowledgeable of your materials and process (which, if not certainly, can potentially make you a more attentive, better painter). These are increasingly less common but perhaps worthwhile experiences. Understandably, they are not for everyone - but we tempera-philes already knew that about our medium!

I admire you following a call to paint large, Lora - I'm working on a 14 x 18" triptych and it feels like my limit (well, at least for now, maybe forever). The Death of Jack Walsh on your website is a beautiful painting. Congratulations on persisting in the challenges of a medium I know you love.

Koo

Last edited by Koo Schadler; 29-12-15 at 02:29 PM.
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  #13  
Old 01-01-16, 03:19 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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I want to be sure everyone's aware that there is a distinction to be made for the term "Casein gesso." You can make it using casein as a substitute for rabbit skin glue in the traditional manner. Sinopia sells all the raw materials to make it that way. They also sell this casein gesso product which is NOT the same thing. It is an oil primer that uses casein as an emulsion. I've been making true casein gesso for many years, and prefer it over RSG, mostly for the sake of convenience, but also for the results I get.
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  #14  
Old 06-01-16, 01:40 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Excellent point, DB - thanks for clarifying.

Koo
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  #15  
Old 15-11-17, 06:59 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello All,

As discussed in this thread, several years ago Sinopia (an art supply company in San Francisco) developed two new grounds advertised as suitable for egg tempera: casein gesso and chalk casein gesso. Both products have the convenience of being pre-made, ready to apply. I tested the chalk casein gesso and, for me, it didn't behave well; paint lifted, it was hard to quickly accumulate layers without lifting, very watery applications of paint took a long time to dry. I wrote about it in this post and recommended against Sinopia's chalk casein gesso for egg tempera.

Leslie Watts, a well known egg tempera painter, recently tried both of Sinopia's casein grounds and found them to behave well. She wrote about them in a blog post. Everyone has different working methods, and what may not suit one painter may work perfectly well for another, so it seemed only fair to offer a differing opinion on these grounds. A link to Watt's post is below.

Koo Schadler

https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/201...eid=b49fd71553
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  #16  
Old Yesterday, 04:32 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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Thanks for the link, Koo. I appreciate hearing about your experiences with their two grounds. It's worth mentioning that both of these Sinopia grounds are made with the same binder using casein with oil and resin. The chalk ground includes extra pigments titanium and zinc.

On your point about different working methods, can you add more detail on what methods could be leading to these different results? Have you worked on grounds with any oil content before? I'm wondering if that may be what's causing you difficulty.
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