Sunset in Casein and Watercolor

Artwork-Miya Arts watercolor over Jack Richeson Artist Casein  on Hahnemühle Cézanne Cold Press. Brushes: Jack Richeson 713995 Watermedia Pocket Plein Air Brush Set

So how did I get from this to that? Yesterday I posted some mushrooms I painted with gouache over casein. I went into quite a bit of detail over the whys and wherefores and history of casein in that post so I’ll just talk a little about what happened when I painted over it with watercolor.

Note: Casein is pronounced K-Seen and Gouache is pronounce Gwash.

I didn’t paint the casein as solidly as I did in my previous painting since watercolor is more transparent.

The casein did give me more opacity in my watercolor and I achieved a beautiful glow. But I could have just done this by painting with gouache in the first place and I’d have more vibrant lights.

This could be a plus. Sometimes, you want a more muted look. But I did have to fight more to get this, and I lost a degree of subtlety. I think practice would remedy that, but again – much easier to just use gouache.

Let me say, that many talented artists use casein, especially if they have a strong background in illustration. I became interested in it while watching James Gurney, of Dinotopia fame.

I think it is a medium that takes a bit of work to get used to. I’ll continue to give some more play, but given the smell, probably not a lot.

Because, I do think some people would love this medium, I’ll leave on a positive note – why would you want to use casein?

  • Creating your own toned paper. You could use almost any color that you want, and have a velvety texture that you wouldn’t get from colored paper.
  • To get an occasional gouache-like feel from the watercolors you have. You don’t want to buy a set of gouache, but would like to occasionally get the same look. Buying a tube or two of casein would give you the chance.

I’m sure there are other reasons, and I’ll hopefully discover them as I play with my toys!


  1. Thanks for such useful information about casein. I’m not one to experiment with unknown paints like this as the expense is more than I want to invest in an unknown product. Your review provides a factor for me to consider. I really like the result in this painting.

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