Water Tower in Casein

(Video link) Here's a video of a 45-minute plein air painting boiled down to one minute so that you can see the entire process at a fast clip. I'm working in a watercolor sketchbook using casein paint in a limited palette of titanium white, ivory black, Venetian red, golden ochre, and cobalt blue. 

I start with a reddish brown watercolor pencil, to place the big shapes. Leaving the background white, I paint in the tower and the trees, knowing that I'll be painting over them with the sky, and then painting them again on a second pass. Casein painting involves boldly cutting across edges, rather than painting up to lines. 

Now the sky: warm white clouds and blue sky behind, all painted quickly together wet into wet. I build the painting forward: far mountains, near mountains, buildings, trees, and poles. I paint almost all the painting with one very old watercolor round, which I can use for large areas—or by squeezing the tip, I can use the edge of the brush for thin forms.

The casein surface dries to an eggshell matte surface that is receptive to delicate graphite pencil lines for the utility cables. I use a harder HB for the fine wires and a 2B for the darker wires. That's it: time was up, and I knew Jeanette would be waiting for me over at the supermarket.

Technical notes on the video: Time lapse is shot with a GoPro HD Hero2 set to 5 second intervals. The camera is mounted on a IKEA Kitchen Timer for the slow rotation in time lapse. I also use a Canon Rebel T3i and an intervalometer for the close-up time lapse at the end. The street ambiance is recorded with a Zoom ZH1 digital recorder. The music is by Kevin MacLeod. He describes it this way: "Snare line with quads and a bass line add marching flair for an electronic groove."
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