Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Egg Tempera Landscape - Unfinished Demo

Egg Tempera Landscape - Unfinished Demo

11x 7 1/2in  on museum board,   Not for sale

This was a demo today and unfinished. I will be developing it
more at the next class. The colors are brighter here than they will
be in the finished piece.
If you follow my blog you will know that my absolute favorite
medium is Egg Tempera. (ET)
Unfortunately I have an eye problem
which prevents me being able to spend the time needed
to do it full time, but I am fortunate enough to be able to teach it.

Artist Note.

After the last ET demo where I showed a method using precise detail on the  face
(click to see.) or August 23rd on this blog.
I thought it would be interesting to show a different  technique of what is possible with ET

Here is a step by step of what it took to get this far.

With a highly textured
sea sponge
dipped into
color already tempered
(with the yolk of an egg|)
 I dabbed the color on
thinly in
a random manner.

Turning it around in different
directions to see if anything
would "appear,"... my imagination
saw rocks and water
so I painted a dark negative
area to create the shapes of rocks.

This is a tonal image
so I can see how the
values and composition
work so far.
This really helps me
think about how I am going
to develop it further..

A little bit of info about ET for
those who do not know.
The paints are powdered
pigments which you make into a
paste with distilled water.
These are placed into a small
screw top jar. NO egg is
used at this point.

Here is my palette -
a piece of glass. I place
a small amount of paste
onto the glass and mix
enough of the egg yolk
into the paste to get the
right consistency
and do a test strip with a

stroke of the brush to make
sure it is tempered correctly.
This means it should gather up
like a ribbon instead of crumbling.
Here you can see when I
cleaned the palette it
stuck together beautifully.

This is a wonderful medium  - especially for a water-colorist who wants to
explore taking their art into a new area.

An oil painter who uses glazes will find a traditional egg tempera
under-painting provides a glow of light that cannot be beat.

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  1. Thanks for such a nice explanation. It is a very interesting medium....can't wait to see how you develop it.

    1. It IS an interesting medium and I find it totally absorbing.
      Your new landscape has a lot of painterly movement in it, Helen, and I really like it.

  2. Interesting info Julie, I didn't in fact know what egg tempera was, love the procedure...the not knowing where this will end :-) Have a great day. xx

    1. It is great that you are back in the blogging world, Jane. Your hydrangeas are gorgeous!

  3. Sorry to hear about your eyes. I often use photo reference when I paint cause I of my eye sight (getting older).
    The painting looks awesome and you got so much to teach. I only know one style of painting, or at least it is the only one I accept when it is done.

    Happy painting. =)

    1. This is an extra nice comment, Roger, and I thank you.
      Your style is awesome.
      I teach different medias and techniques because I think everyone has to find their own particular style and usually by trying them all, a personal viewpoint of what is admired or disliked in one's own work is developed.It helps that I love teaching and have an talented group.

  4. I think this is beautiful already! And thank you for the bit of information on egg tempera. I've heard of it and read of artists using it but hadn't known the finer details.

    1. thanks, and the brilliant fall leaf on your tree was a beautiful reminder of my favorite time of year is almost here.

  5. A technique so ancient and fascinating, that you use with mastery!
    I am happy to learn more in practice, thanks to you.
    I love painting from my imagination and I'm interested to see your process and learn on this technique, for me,could be a wonderful news.
    Your landscape is a dream that charms the viewer, dear Julie!

    1. Your poetic writing makes my day, Rita. I do appreciate what your say.
      You did a gorgeous painting on today's blog.

  6. I've never heard of this technique, Julie but it looks so interesting and I look forward to seeing this one always, I would love to be there when you have this demo!!!

  7. Yes! I agree with all the other comments. Fascinating to think of 'egg yolk texture' and the different challenges involved. This Lovely, calm pond-side painting looks finished to me. I especially love the lavender tones indicating a late day light.

  8. Good to hear from you and thank you for the comment.
    Are you going to do any more plein air pieces?

  9. Fascinating information, Julie! I've never tried this medium before, but you describe it in such a fascinating way, I'm going to try it! What exactly does the egg do for it the consistency?

    1. Hi Carol - the sheen of the finished painting is like no other, After it has dried you polish it with a soft, lint free cloth and the egg has hardened to a permanent finish. The paintings never crack or yellow and the museum in a nearby city has a wonderful collection of egg tempera paintings, some which go back to 1200AD and they are in glorious condition.
      Pets will lick them before they are cured though so you have to keep them out of harms way! Andrew Wyeth used ET for all his major pieces. You can check out the Egg Tempera Society's website for more information.
      Great hearing from you.

  10. A fascinating process with beautiful results, Julie! I've never attempted ET before.

    1. Hi Dean - great piece on your blog today.
      ET is more for people who really love to have detail and luminosity. You have the skills for sure...but the patience? Only you can know that and it does take perseverance to learn it. After that the rewards are huge.

  11. I really like this notion of ET. Thanks for the demo, Julie, it allows me to understand the process a little better. I shall have a go at this in about 12 months when I have finished my planned schedule for the current selection of drawings.

    Of course tempering steel also calls for the use of colours! You polish the steel first and then heat it until the 'colours of the rainbow' appear. The colours move to the edge of the metal. As the straw colour reaches the edge, you quench it and the steel is suitable for use as a scriber. Violet colour quenched gives the temper for woodworking chisels, Blue for other type chisels etc...

  12. Can't believe the final results from what you showed initially! Glad that you are still able to use this medium.


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