Category Archives: Egg Tempera

Paintings executed exclusively in egg tempera, that is, the yolk of an egg is used to disperse dry pigments onto a pre-prepared traditional chalk gesso ground. It’s effects range from an opaque gauche-like solidity to a transparent watercolor-like fluidity. As an aqueous solution it dries almost instantaneously; yet as an emulsion of water and oil it takes months to fully cure and harden.

A Piece of Me #06, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #06, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #06, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #06, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

Third now in the egg tempera series on the left. This one went rather quickly mostly because the pastiglia and underdrawing had already done their homework. I created some light washes for the background, applied some of the architectural shadows and then had fun drawing in the back section of the woman’s head on the left. The pastiglia had already sculpted her hair, so the brush strokes picked up that texture quite easily.

You can read an overview about the whole project here.

A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.

A Piece of Me #41, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5/1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #41, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #41, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5/1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #41, egg tempera on panel.

I have been doing underdrawings for the other panels (of this big 64 panel project that you can read about here) earlier this week, thus yesterday I was able to return to the egg tempera series. Here on the left then, is the second in that group. Strangely enough, I’ve been somewhat apprehensive about this one. For the source image is a plastered wall covered with a light warm yellow wash of paint. Otherwise, not much there. Boring. So the challenge was how to reproduce that well enough so as to integrate the panel into the final assembled painting but also create something that could stand alone as an image for the roving eye to enjoy.

painting tools: toothbrush, calligrapher’s brush, cosmetic sponges

In this case, I was able to press a few “new” tools into service as you will see on the left: an extremely fine mesh cosmetic sponge  for the very light tonal washes (bottom, right), a calligrapher’s brush for the local washes and a tooth brush for the gray speckles. I’m pretty pleased with the result.

A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.

A Piece of Me #56, egg tempera on panel.

A Piece of Me # 56, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #56, egg tempera on panel.

A Piece of Me #56, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

Here on the left is the first in a long 64 part series, now officially “off the press”. A full description of the whole project is on my companion wordpress web-blog site, atelierartisanal.com. So in all these panels I want to create a painting – interesting and hopefully beautiful in its own right – separate from any recognizable form either I or the viewer might want to impose.  These are then, all abstract paintings (which in fact are based on close-up sections of a photograph). Thus aesthetically, I am trying to pay attention to: composition (the play of light and the tensions inherent to the already given shapes); color (the contrasts and relations of hues); paint (areas of opacity and translucency); texture (the tactile qualities of the paint, collage, or pre-sculpting); value (highlights, shadows and everything in-between). And though I am interested in reproducing the original image, I’m not interested in absolute fidelity (as, for example, a Photorealist might be). Dissonances can and should arise. Therefore, most designs are transposed free hand – not mechanically. And relative to this image, you can read more about the low-relief sculpting process of pastiglia here.

A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.