Tag Archives: how to paint flat fields of dark colors in egg tempera

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.