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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Casein on flexible supports.ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-12-05 18:01:07 ... Most recent comment 2016-12-05 18:42:00
    Casein Flexible Supports
    In the resources here, in the Grounds and Primers PDF, it states that casein should only be used on rigid supports because it is brittle.
    However, at the site, it states
    "Can Casein be used on stretched canvas?
    Yes, but you must remember to paint very thin because Casein can crack if it's applied too thickly. If you would like to paint thickly and would still like to paint on canvas, mount the canvas or linen on masonite, and prime the canvas with PVA, glue or acrylic gesso. Then go to town and paint as thick or thin as you please! "
    So my question is, is it true that casein can be used on stretched canvas if it is painted thinly?
    I can't see why a thin layer of casein would be any less brittle than a thick layer.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerWe are basically stating the same thing. Casein and even glue paints CAN and HAVE been used on canvas supports but the paint must be very thin. Thin films do tend to be more flexible, even in oil paint. An artist can, with due diligence, use these media on canvas but they are then required to only work in a specific manner otherwise they risk micro-fissuring or even substantial cracking. Our resources are meant to provide best practice advice and with that being the case, we caution against using it on canvas in general. On the other hand, we are not here to tell you that you can't do something, only the possible risks if you do so.
    Baade, Brian
    2016-12-05 18:49:30
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentThanks Brian. So regarding conservation, there are examples of thinly paint casein used as a ground that have lasted well?
    2016-12-05 20:04:22
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerWe do not recommend a casein ground for fabric supports at all. Probably a thin single stain-like coat may work but again, this is not recommended. Just as there are examples of glue gesso grounds used on canvases for oil paintings, no art materials experts suggest this practice. In terms of glue gesso coatings on canvas, these were almost always used on very early oil paintings on fabric where the extremely thin ground was scrapped into the interstices of the canvas. This was then covered with an oil or oil paint layer (called an imprimatura) which helped to plasticize the glue-bound ground. Also, while the casein is less reactive to changes in RH than glue, it tends to be even more brittle. As far as examples of well preserved casein grounds on canvas, there are probably instances of this. Most likely these were executed in the late 19th century though the mid 20th century when casein was at its heyday. I will check the literature to see if there are examples but we would not recommend the practice no matter what.
    Baade, Brian
    2016-12-05 22:01:15

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