Tag Archives: egg tempera on panel

A piece of me #31, egg tempera over linen on panel.

A Piece of Me #31, egg tempera

A piece of me #31, egg tempera over linen on panel.

A piece of me #31, egg tempera over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A panel of abstract geometric shapes – diagonal trapezoids except for one lonely cigarette butt lower left. Deceptively easy. Create a few washes and that’s it. But no, there were cool tiles, there were warm tiles, there were neutral tiles. How to create an interesting unity of these subtle contrasts of hue? Then also, how to emphasize the extremely reduced value range – inherent to the original subject – so that this panel, too, is interesting by itself? This is the result. I’ll take it.

Write up of the overall project here.

A piece of me #61, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #61, egg tempera

A piece of me #61, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #61, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #61, underdrawing in india ink

A piece of me #61, underdrawing in india ink

Saturated shoes! I had almost given up on this panel because I was having a difficult time getting a warm saturated tonality. So I had put it aside for awhile to let the previous work cure, hoping the surface would be more receptive after a few days. Today I laid on a couple of washes in venetian red, which is a very warm and saturated pigment, and the shoes began to dance! Literally. Well OK, the inspiration could have been Tina Turner on my iTunes but still, I swear I saw them dance.

The black and white underdrawing on the right, the fully colored developed painting on the left. A full overview description of the whole project is here.

A Piece of Me #11, egg tempera over linen on panel.

A Piece of Me #11, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #11, underdrawing in india ink

A Piece of Me #11, underdrawing in india ink

A Piece of Me #11, egg tempera over linen on panel.

A Piece of Me #11, egg tempera over linen on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

This was one of the more, if not most, complex compositions so far. It was both a surprise and a challenge to do since it contained so many figures – and parts of figures. But because of my approach on this project I do not (for the most part) design the composition, rather, I design the approach (and even aspects of that are still luck of the draw). As it turns out, egg tempera on a flat substrate is perfect for such detail.

Interestingly enough though, the composition also contains the components of a traditional landscape. In this case, the edge of my shoulder appears in the foreground far right, along with the tip of a man’s hand in the far left. Then there’s the lady in the blue striped shirt, perhaps best considered still as foreground, though I was careful not to render her as fully saturated chromatically nor with a full value range. Then there’s the couple in the middle-ground, left. Finally, the array of receding figures. By my count about thirteen in all (!).

So I began with a fully developed black and white underdrawing in india ink, see right. This allowed me to proceed with the egg tempera level slowly and gently by laying in light washes to test for color relation and value development. I realized as I worked that it’s very similar to the process of colorizing old black and white photographs. Luckily, most of the clothing on the figures in the background was (cool) blue, which works well for reading distance, so I kept with that. But I also decided to keep a few of the warm background colors in some of the other figures too, although in extremely light washes. These washes helped to provide a chromatic unity to the warm flesh tones of the foreground.

Like the previous panel this, too, was delectable to colorize. I’m happy and hoping to wind up the egg tempera series soon.

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera on panel.

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera on panel.

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

Now the egg tempera pieces are starting to become more complex. This one still has some basic “abstract” shapes but the importance of chiaroscuro in the foreground is becoming more pronounced. This one took me more time, so also more patience while it challenged my skills. For example, achieving the dark black area on the left is already difficult in egg tempera. The medium itself is translucent, the brush strokes dry almost immediately upon contact with the gesso and thick¬†impasto strokes are inadvisable for technical reasons, so blending just isn’t an option. Achieving a field of an extremely dark value or saturated hue then requires the build up of countless layers of light washes. It’s a very meditative technique. You have to love it. Impetuous temperaments, be forewarned: don’t even think about scaling this mountain. You can read a description of the full project here.