something new

Block Study January 22, 2018; casein tempera on board; 6" x 7.5"

I'm writing a book - about seeing and painting color - using casein paint.  Quite a few people have asked me if I've written any tutorials or lesson plans.  In a sense I have - by posting here.  If you were to pore through this blog I'm sure you could glean a lot of helpful information.  But even so, there are missing links - and it would be cumbersome to say the least.

There's a lot to be said for teaching and writing about what you know.  It can reinforce and solidify your skills, force you to communicate your process in an organized way and provide a great deal of satisfaction knowing you've passed on a tiny bit of the vast amount of art knowledge that's gathered over the centuries. 

I'm excited - and busy - painting a quick block study every day (in addition to my regular painting.)  In so doing, I want to revisit the teaching methods of Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche (and later Lois Griffel.) They taught an impressionistic painting method using simple-colored-matte blocks that, in my mind, is unsurpassed.  I learned an incredible amount from Lois Griffel's book and credit her with my basic understanding of color and form.  But there's one problem - these were very oil-paint-specific lessons.  It's a whole other animal with casein.  And since there's a dearth of painting instruction on casein - what better way to learn both how to see and paint like an impressionist AND how to paint with casein?  I'm off!


Olga Norris said...

Sounds like a most enjoyable challenge. Good luck with it.

Mary Klein said...

Thank you, Olga!

Jan said...

Casein painting tutorials are almost non-existent so your book would be most welcome! It's very frustrating to want to paint something and have to find your own way in doing it. Well, most mediums are like that but it sure is nice to have some guide posts!

Mary Klein said...

Thank you so much, Jan! You're not alone - so many people have told me that they're frustrated with the medium and would like some help.

The block studies are such a great way to approach learning color. I'm really excited to see what I can bring to them with casein. And I believe that once you get started doing the block studies in casein, you'll inevitably pick up facility with the medium.

As you know, casein paint 'lifts' and I'd really like to show how artists can use that to their advantage. It's possible for them to learn how to incorporate the unique qualities of casein into their style - much like oil painters use impasto brush strokes and glazes. Instead of being frustrated, I hope to bring some excitement and creative possibilities. Can you tell I'm excited? :)

Thanks again for your comment and encouragement,

Jan said...

I don't mind the lifting of the casein - I got used to that with gouache but it's figuring out the right amount of water, getting smooth strokes, the proper brushes and best supports. You know, all that 'stuff' you need to know before you even start painting (although I realize some of that really can't be taught.) I guess I'm saying that any kind of guidance would be very helpful.

So far, I'm finding casein just a sticky, stubborn mess that hates doing what I want it to! Add to the fact that I can no longer just swish a brush and leave it for a while and I'm thinking it might be wise to stick with gouache!

Mary Klein said...

In the end, mediums have a way of choosing the artist rather than the other way around. Gouache may have chosen you, Jan :)

On the other hand, if you're drawn to casein, for whatever reason, you may want to 'scratch that itch' until it's satisfied. And to do that, you may want to paint exclusively with casein for a given amount of time - say 3 months? Going back to the basics is a low pressure way to gain skills. So during those 3 months you could do either block studies, make color charts or paint simple black and white grisailles - or all three. When you make a switch like this, it really helps to set some goals and have a strategy. That's where I'd like to help with this book.

You do beautiful gouache work, Jan! I'll completely understand if that's your chosen medium. But it's always nice to know we have options out there :)

- Mary