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Cindy, October 2021

So many mediums, so little time

I’ve loved making my own paints from casein, walnut oil, egg yolk, peach tree sap (for watercolor) and acrylic medium. I’ve dug the native clay to mull my own ochres. I’ve made charcoal. I’ve loved drawing with graphite pencils. Lately, I’ve added a set of colored pencils. Derwent Lightfast, because they are actually lightfast enough.



I’m now buying tubes of paint! Wonder of wonders. They’re acrylic, they’re mostly Golden Heavy Body and Golden Open. I use matte medium to stiffen cheap paper a little, and to block some absorbency of the paper. I use water in the first couple layers, and also matte medium. In the last layers, I use some Open gel with the Heavy Body or the Open paints. I can use acrylic on many different surfaces. Cheap surfaces. šŸ™‚


I love the translucency of watercolor. I don’t love being told to not use white paint with watercolor. I am not going to jump through hoops to preserve the white of the paper.

Egg tempera

I love duck egg yolk! It stays fresh longer than chicken egg. Try putting your paint mixtures in a stay-wet palette. I use it on watercolor paper. I stay away from rabbit-skin glue, etc. I usually use washes and some dry brushing (you can rewet freshly dried paint with a moist brush). I stay away from making little hatch marks. Oh, egg yolk paint is so great for rapid glazing on paper!

Graphite pencil

Graphite is as lightfast as you can get. I love smudging it. I love the softer pencils for quick darks. And I can mist the drawing with casein binder to fix it. Consider casein a workable fixative, though, not a final fixative.


I don’t do a lot of oil. I like to use walnut oil as a painting medium, because of easy soap and water cleanup, plus the fact that it doesn’t yellow. And it’s nontoxic. But I overuse the oil. Too much oil is bad for the painting. One thing I’ve noticed is that casein binder/emulsion makes a great nontoxic addition to accelerate drying time. I prefer canvas for oil. I mean, I don’t even like practicing on anything else. Canvas is expensive. This is sad. šŸ˜¦


Homemade casein binder mixed with pigments gives intense colors with depth. It’s translucent. I only use it on watercolor paper, after realizing that watercolor paper has little fingers that reach up and clutch paints, to hold them firmly. Casein never cracks on that surface.

Colored pencils

I’ve done lightfastness testing on a few different brands and realized that the lightfastness ratings on the pencils are worthless. Only Derwent Lightfast stayed bright and true on my patio. I’ve decided I prefer using washes of paint to start a halftone ground. It fills in the white pores of the paper and gives the halfway value/color of the work. That jumpstarts the drawing. If I had to do an entire large work using only colored pencils, I’d go crazy.


I bought a graphic tablet in late December 2021. Ugee M708. I use Krita as the software. I love both. I’ve added Krita Extras, the wet oil brushes (RGBA), Impression brushes, charcoal, smart canvas templates….they’re found at

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