Paintings executed in a combined technique of egg tempera and oil. An underpainting is developed in egg tempera usually over an underdrawing in india ink (or silverpoint). Then a series of painting sessions occur by working a resinous glaze into the surface and wiping it off. This still tacky surface receives a full development of semi-transparent egg-emulsified paint, working wet-in-wet. Because the resinous glaze is very thin and the egg tempered paint is very lean it is possible to build up a richly varied paint-surface through repeated layers. This is an “indirect painting” technique.
Third in the mixed technique series (see the category link on the right for a fuller description of the mixed technique). Here, compositionally, I am still navigating within the abstract flooring pieces of the larger composition. The plan for this panel called for a collage. Thus, in the very early stages I glued a number of pieces of fabric to the bare panel, roughly imitating the compositional planes to come. Doing so resulted in a very coarsely textured substrate and covering this with 9 layers of gesso never completely eliminated this coarseness. Yet elimination was never the idea for this project. My idea has always been to live with whatever the process created and still try to create something beautiful from it.
A piece of Me #32, egg tempera underpainting
A piece of me #32, mixed technique over collage, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
So the image here on the right displays the egg tempera underpainting (over the collage) stage. Overall it’s light in value while the hue differences between the tiled planes have been accentuated. The image on the left shows the panel after one working session in oil. Due to my gray unifying glaze, the heavy texture of the collage caused the broad fields to look very dirty. Couldn’t live with that! So, I decided to do one more working session in order to reclaim the beauty of these subtly modulated fields. The spotlighted image above illustrates the difference. BTW: if you’re reading this via email, the wordpress interface doesn’t include the enlarged “spotlighted” image at the top, so (if you are interested to do so) you’ll need to use the link to compare these three stages.
A Piece of Me #57, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
A Piece of Me #57, egg tempera underpainting on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
Here is the second of the mixed technique series (see the category description on the right for a full explanation of the technique). Like #47 before it, this one is another abstract design principally of the tile flooring in front of the great mosque at Casablanca. You can read about the concept behind the whole project here.
To the right you can view the egg tempera underpainting before its layer of oil. To the left the completed panel afterwards. Once again, the increase in saturation and depth seems to happen almost automatically – due to the difference in medium. Additionally, what’s interesting to me, is that I had completed the underpainting a few months back, imagining it to be a final piece (and not just the groundwork for further manipulations in paint). That is, I thought I was creating a finished panel for the egg tempera series – and at the time I was pretty happy with the result. I think the composition lends itself to that satisfaction, but still after I discovered the error, I was curious about how much the oil level could or would enhance the piece. I think it does. What do you think?
After a long hiatus I was finally able to get back to the studio yesterday. Hooray!! This piece marks the beginning of the upcoming “mixed technique” series. For a full description of the mixed technique see the category description to the right.
A Pice of Me #47, the egg tempera underpainting
A Pice of Me #47, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
So on the right you can see the preparatory work consisting of an egg tempera underpainting developed over an india ink underdrawing (no image of the B/W phase). On the left you can see the final panel after a session of maybe an hour or two, working oils into its underpainting. Saturation and contrast/depth is quickly achieved – but only because the groundwork has already been developed. I remember the words of James Brown: “Now brother don’t leave your homework undone”. Viewing the results of the oil though, It’s easy to understand why their discovery in the fifteenth century was such a revolution.
I’m thinking that this speed of image development will most likely be true for all the “abstract” panels of this project (see link for a full description). The figurative panels will, most likely, require more time, thus more working sessions. But we’ll see. Onward and upwards!
Recently I resuscitated a painting project from 2014. I was particularly pleased that I was able to convey in the studio something that I feel about landscape without needing to schlep everything out to the field to work en-plen-air. So this piece is based on a watercolor, supplemented by photographs.
Ever since my early experiments in painting, I have gravitated to painting on panels. Canvas is OK, but I just love the tactile quality of chalk gesso on panel. So I’ve always fully gessoed my panels on both sides – which is in fact how the flemish primitive painters did it too. And indeed it’s always seemed a shame to me to ignore that reverse side. (Sometimes in museums, you’ll see the back side of a painting done with a trompe l’oeil effect to depict a textured surface like, wood or marble.)
When I discovered (in 2009) how well a turtle shell trompe l’oeil effect had worked on a wide frame for a detailed cityscape I had painted, I decided to bring the abstract effect directly into the painting. So I commissioned a local carpenter to build me a wooden panel with a rotating inner core. I gessoed both sides and set to work. This is the result. It’s not really a painting to hang from a wall, since the back sides also participates. But who ever said art should be functional?
back side of the Inside-out view of the Predijkherrenrei painting.
The front side of the Predijkherrenrei cityscape in Bruges Belgium
The back side of the Predijkherrenrei landscape painting.
Two sided oil on panel with rotating inner core. Based on a value study. July 2010. 44 x 59 cm or 17 1/4 x 23 1/4 inches. You can read about the work-up of this piece here.