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Uncommon Materials to draw or paint with

Do you paint with acrylics and salt? Watercolours and red wine? Tea and pencils? Inks and lemon? Then this is the right place for you!

The UM June 2012 How-To: Andrew Cain - Painting with butter

Ina Mar Ina Mar 165 posts
Try something new, after school and workshops.
I have learned technique is useful as an artist but
experimentation is what truly puts our creative sides to the test.


Andrew Cain

I am deeply touched that Andrew Cain replied to my request to write a how-to for our group, because I immensely admire his art.
Andrew paints with butter, beer, fruit and some other stuff that I’m sure you are going to like!
Andrew paints his soul. He paints anxieties, souls, life tales, tales of emotions, psychological conditions, but also religious themes as nobody has ever been able to express them. Two words come to my mouth when I see these images: human and truth. He paints the naked truth of human beings, and the humanity of gods.

When you deal with your inner conditions, this usually gets “messy” – and that’s what happens when painting with butter and beer too. Andrew is not afraid to mess either with souls or with butter. His human figures might seem tormented and fragile at a first glance, but there is a strength that emerges from them.

Please discover this artist. Take the time to look at his images and try to see behind them.

Our other How-Tos

Andrew  Cain Andrew Cain 9 posts

Painting with butter
(Andrew Cain interviewed by Ina Mar)


“Spare me from these dreams” by Andrew Cain
Mango, banana, beet, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, and dye on utrecht printmaking paper.
What kind of butter do you use?
The type of butter I used in my works is actually a vegan butter made by the brand earth balance, its consistency and resistance to melting makes it easy to keep out for long periods of time, and easy to mix with the pigments I use to create my own paint or ink substance.

How do you use the butter?
I mix fabric dye into the butter to create a colored pigment for the butter and use the pure substance to block out water when I mix the dyes with water.

Do you take any special preparations?
I usually just have a couple of disposable rags or old brushes to mix the pigment with the butter with some reused plastic containers from KFC or the grocery store.

Do you also purchase conventional art supplies? Which conventional materials do you usually mix or use together with butter?
I go to the craft store to pick up some fabric dye. It’s cheaper than watercolor and gives a similar effect, with more vibrant colors.

When did you start using butter?
Around January of 2012

How did the idea occur to you to use this material?
Boycotting the purchase of expensive paints and tool I started using fabric dye to make washes and drawings, but not satisfied with the one layered dimensions of the wash, I thought about how paint is made, basically just a pigment and a vehicle, after using the butter as a blocking agent in the painting i decided to mix it with the butter to create my own type of paint at a very cheap scale, and so far it’s been working for me. The butter is made from a vegetable oil and soaks into the paintings after a few hours drying just like any other paint.

How original is this material? Are you the only one who uses butter have you seen other artwork painted with butter?
I think many artists have done something similar to this but I have not met any who use the same methods i have so far.

What supports do you use? How do you apply the material on the support?
I have been applying the mixture with a paper towel, and my hands as of yet, to get finer lines, i have tried using a brush but the material is best used for large backgrounds, I use carving tools to cut in lighter lines and details, using it more as a subtractive method, like ink on a lithographic stone.

Have you tried different kinds of supports? How does butter react when applied to different supports?
As of yet have only tried this on paper.

Why did you choose this material?
Mainly expense and experimentation.

Is this material related to your everyday life and habits and how?
I work at a health foods grocery store which is how the idea for this particular butter came about. My girlfriend made vegan rice crispy treats for a co-worker and the butter was left out over night and when I was about to toss it in the rubbish bin noticed how it could be used as a vehicle in my art.
How is this material related to your creative process? (eg. What comes first: the idea or the material? Does the material define or influence the theme? Does the material inspire you?)
Right now I think the material is influencing my work, I am an aggressive painter and drawer so this process slows me down and allows me to plan out the next step in my drawing.

What can you tell us about the conservation of this material? Have you noticed any changes in time (eg. hue, texture, intensity)? Do you store the artworks in particular conditions in order to conserve them better?
When using the dyes they crystallize in the water, if the dye has not been fully saturated leaving a dust ( kind of like mixing plaster) which can be reconstituted in water or butter, or used as a charcoal like substance to smear and tone.

Why did you choose to paint with an uncommon material instead of using the old good watercolours?
Budget restrictions, a box of dye is apprx, 1.49, four sticks of butter 4.69, a tube of water color that would give me the same amount of color and material would cost over $100, plus with the in-expense of the dye multiple colors can be mixed and used, so I have an arsenal of color and materials for much more reasonable price than traditional paints.

Does your material make a statement?
That I’m cheap, smart and prolific.

What other uncommon materials do you use?
Beer, Fruits and Vegetables, make for a good treat and tool when making art. I am always looking for different cheap effective ways to make art.

Do you ever say to yourself, “What the fuck am I doing?” If so, what do you do to get past it?
I usually stop look at it and think what else can it be. If i can figure something out, I keep working. If not, I turn it over an start again.

Give one last useful advice to artists you would like to experiment with butter!
* Keep your tools and fingers clean this gets messy and if you work in a place were your fingers are constantly seen… wear gloves.
* Try something new, after school and workshops, I have learned technique is useful as an artist but experimentation is what truly puts our creative sides to the test.

trial and jury
by Andrew Cain

remedy
by Andrew Cain

soul vaccinaction
by Andrew Cain

father and son
by Andrew Cain

Primal
by Andrew Cain

pretentious
by Andrew Cain

Blood lines
by Andrew Cain

hope
by Andrew Cain

Dancing souls
by Andrew Cain
Cindy Schnackel Cindy Schnackel 4607 posts

Very interesting, vibrant work! One thing I may have missed is how do you preserve them? Do they ever really dry? Or are they only living on in digital form? Either way, cool work!

Dianne  Ilka Dianne Ilka 986 posts

Facinating! It’s amazing what we can come up with to save money. It’s the same reason I started using coffee :)

Andrew  Cain Andrew Cain 9 posts

They dry really well the paper absorbs the vegetable oil. Binds with the dye and creates a dry sheen, and the fruit turns into a crust like texture. It’s pretty awesome

© Angela L Walker © Angela L Walker 881 posts

Amazing! Great job, Andrew! I lingered here a while in awe of how you made these wonderful and very creative works of art! :)

Fay Helfer Fay Helfer 12 posts

WOW! simply amazing