Here are some new paintings I made using Milk Paint. Last week I e-mailed my friend Betsy about using milk paint, since I had been curious about it for awhile. Betsy works at Ecologic, an environmentally-friendly interior design store that also sells handmade goods from artists like me. Betsy makes beautiful handpainted gourds with all kinds of colorful patterns. She gave me some samples of milk paint that I had asked about. It's based on an old formula of casein (milk protein solids), lime, and pigments, and after it has been mixed with water it becomes a biodegradable and non-toxic paint that is environmentally friendly (paint they used to use in the old days). I spent a few days experimenting and making small paintings on wood blocks. This paint was really fun to use. It is a bit like gouache paint, but dries much harder and can't be re-activated with water. It has a chalky quality to it that I like. Also, the wet paint doesn't last long, so I have to work fast because the paint doesn't store well after it is mixed with water. This is good for someone like me, since it forces me to work for a long stretch of time on the paintings so I don't waste the paint. I experimented with sealing the surface with wax polish and with varnish. The wax will darken the color a lot, which is useful in some cases.
It was fun experimenting with new materials. I have lots of ideas for this new paint. I love the fact that it works so well on the wood panels. I picked up a bunch of free wood panels that a cabinet-factory near Ecologic was throwing out, so i have a nice little stash to work on! I have some plans of combining painting with linocut prints. I will post pictures of more things I work on as these paintings develop.