Tag Archives: egg tempera over india ink

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 #1, egg tempera on panel.

A Piece of Me #1, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #1, egg tempera on panel.

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

A Piece of Me #1, underdrawing in india ink.

A Piece of Me #1, underdrawing in india ink.

A piece of a man’s head with a hat. An evocative untold story? Or no story at all: just this. The weave of the hat was an absolute delight to render, both in the india ink stage on the right as well as the egg tempera on the left. The black and white preliminary drawing then, allowed it to come alive with a light wash of terre verte followed by another light wash of yellow ochre. Fun too, was the supporting neck with its soft fuzzy hairline. The neck, underpainted with terre verte, provided a warm contrast to the cool hat above and the cool shirt/sweater combo below. The perceptive effects of color are always relational. And off in the distance the arabesque details of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca beckon.

You can read a description of the full project here.