Felt like painting a fish today. Fishes are fun to paint. It was great but the takeaway is that I have to learn to handle paint. Oh... and that my home-made titanium white isn't worth shit. It's got all those lumps (when it should be smooth), it's glossy (when it should be matte) and it doesn't close (this morning, as an experiment, I rinsed off a layer of that white I applied to canvas the day I made it with a mere trickle from the tap — the paint is supposed to be waterproof after 8 to 10 days).
Awright... I have news about Experiment no. 1. The paint rotted. My tube smelled like a corpse decomposing in a barn on a hot summer day. Ugly stuff. I read some more and consulted with some people in my area and it seems that I made at least one big mistake AND that I need to tweak my recipe. The mistake: I did not sterilize my containers and tools. As for the possible tweaks: Firstly, I think I can use more of my alcaline solution to raise the pH of my paint. Secondly, I was recommended a preservative to use in my paint. I had read about sodium otrhophenylphenate but the only place I found to order it sold it in pallets of 500 kg... I had to go for another option... This mix's recipe: Casein milk protein — 10 g. Boiled water — 100 cc. NaOH — 2 cc. (or about 40 drops) Grapefruit seed extract (glycerin vehicle) — 1 cc. Dry pigment (titanium white) — 60 g. Total cost: I don't care anymore...
Above: First observation, more NaOH made my binder
more homogeneous faster and a darker yellow.
Above: Mixing away. I used rubbing alcohol to
sterilize my surfaces, containers and tools.
Above: A 37 cc. tube filled to the brim.
(I actually put too much paint and ended up wasting
about 15 cc. Most went on my fingers but I also used
some as a ground on an old canvas I was planning to paint over.)
Above: Messily filling up the tube.
As you see on the last picture, I have a lot of unused binder left. I plan to leave it on my shelf and see how much time it takes to rot. The last batch started smelling ater 7 days (the tube took about 18 to 20 days — I thought I was okay since the oxygen input was practically cut off but I was wrong), we'll see how long this one lasts... if it rots at all. Also, the canvas I prepped with the leftover paint (it was a store-bought gessoed canvas already covered with a layer of acrylics) ended up being glossy. This is strange since casein is supposed to be super-matte. It might be an indication that my recipe is wrong. We'll see how the paint handles and how it interacts with Richeson caseins. I'll keep you posted.
Today, we'll be taking a look at some art terms and explore their origins and meanings. Still Lifenoun A painting, a drawing or an arrangement of objects that resulted from an artist being bored in his studio, grabbing the first random shit that he can find lying around and proceeding to paint aforementioned shit to validate the general waste of that particular period of the day.
Still life. Oil. 8x10. I know...
Studynoun A detailed investigation and analysis of a subject, be it a scene, an object, animal or even a body part if the artist is just too lazy to even bother to paint a still life.
Subway sketching incorporating watercolor. The trick is to have a victim that is captive long enough for what you want to do. In this case, it was from Berri-UQAM to Longueuil on the yellow line. She literally had nowhere to go. ^_^
This morning's efforts. I wish I could tell you this is from a photograph taken in a derelict building I was exploring last summer but it's not... it's from my own bathroom. I am terrible at keeping the house clean... Casein on wood.
Side note: I used the Raw Umber I mixed last week and it works! It doesn't stink, it mixes well with the Richeson paints I used, but it was a bit too thick. Next batch will have more casein, less pigment (probably 1% or 2% less).
I'm currently swamped in work I can't show (of course I had to go and sign those non-disclosure agreements) so here's a small subway sketch. The thing I like most about urgently drawing an unsuspecting model (who can get off the train anytime while I draw) in an uncomfortable postion (easels are a drag to carry around) in a moving vehicle (which doesn't allow for fine details) is that all I can rely on is shape and line weight to convey volume. A valuable exercise.
I'm writing this down both to share with you and to have a reference point when I try this again. I mixed my own casein paint today with a pretty straightforward recipe. Here's what I used: Casein milk protein (store bought) — 12 g. Water (tap) — 120 g. Sodium Hydroxyde (NaOH 50% solution) — 8 drops Raw Umber (dry pigment) — 60 g. (or 125 ml) Total cost is around $7.00.
Above: The milk casein 15 hours after adding the NaOH.
The texture was then completely homogeneous.
Above: Starting with a small amount of pigment.
Above: I didn't know how much pigment I would need
so it was quite the experimental approach.
The "Oops! more pigment... oh... now more binder...
ah! more pigment again... oh! this looks just right!" kind.
Above: My tube with paint. It's a 110 cc.
Above: I ended up with about 60 cc. of paint which is
more than twice the amount in the Richeson Shiva Casein
paint tubes (which are, I believe, the only brand of
commercially available casein paint available).
I have yet to try the paint but it looks like regular paint both in saturation and in texture. I'll keep you posted as I try different colors. EDIT: I forgot to mention that I only used half of the casein preparation for 125 cc. of pigments. Next time, I'll get 250 cc., use all the casein and fill my 110 ml tube. EDIT #2: Hahahahahahaaaa! LOL! My paint's rotten! I used the tube 12 days after mixing it and it was ok. 7 days later, though, it smells like a cow barn... in a bad way. I threw it away. I have to find a preservative or a stabilizer to add to my casein if I want to keep my paints longer than 2 weeks.