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Work In Progress Egg Tempera paintings from start to finish

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Old 09-04-07, 07:24 PM
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Default "The Moon-Williamson House" - Jeff Gola

This is a painting demo that I posted over on the Cennini (Studio Products) forum in March. Rob M asked me to post it over here as well, and Rob Howard of Cennini graciously agreed to sharing it here.

The subject is the Moon-Williamson house, a restored log cabin in the delightful if quirky Bucks County, Pennsylvania village of Fallsington. It is thought to date from the late 1600's and is also thought to be the oldest dwelling in PA still on its original foundation. The references are from photos I took in December 2005.
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Old 09-04-07, 07:25 PM
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WIP Image 1: This is a 16 x 20, done on one of the RealGesso panels. I transfer my sketch loosely in charcoal lines, then go over the lines in silverpoint. Then I do a wash of a mix of yellow ochre and burnt sienna, followed by a block in of major masses with a ivory black and raw umber mix. I then do another layer of a monochrome underpainting, using titanium white and my black mix.




WIP Image 2: I leave the sky area blank, because I need to make broad strokes when laying in my sky, and any detail I'd paint there would be clobbered. For my ET style, I use small brushes and delicate brushwork everywhere except the sky and large areas of soft color (like snow fields). For these, I use a broad synthetic (2") and much sweating and swearing to lay in the sky. Its always the trickiest part of any ET, for me at least.

Once that's done to my satisfaction, I start laying in the trees that go over the sky.




WIP Image 3: It's now "time to do branches. I'm not sure if other landscape people work like this, but I usually work back to front, top to bottom and left to right.




Here's my setup. Dry pigments in jars, of which I have many. I use the palette knife there to scoop my pigments into the daisy-wheel palette here. Note: the pigment jar says raw umber, but thats not what's in the palette.

The egg/water medium in a dish is then scooped up with a teaspoon (any teaspoon that's been ruined by losing a fight with the garbage disposal... i have a nice collection) into the pigment, and must be used right away once its mixed with the dirt before it dries. Dried or sticky ET cannot be rewetted and used. That much medium (1 yolk + 1 tsp water) shown here usually lasts me well for a day, unless it gets sticky and stringy in hot weather or I'm using lots of it for a sky or such.

Two containers of water (standard watercolor practice): one with an eyedropper in clean water for mixing, another for washing brushes. I'm deeply attached to these particular two coffee cups for personal reasons. Just one of several rituals that gets me in a particular mood for painting.

Copious amounts of toilet paper, which I am not so attached to and just buy the cheapest brand. If Yarka made toilet paper, I'd buy a gross. For brushwiping only, mind you.







Here's a little sequence of the area on the far left side.

For now, I've finished basically the forms of most background tree branches, and I'm now adding shading in places, snow in shadow and highlight in places, and restating dark branches where they pass over or make shadow on these areas.



So far, I still have work to do on the branches and I've put a loose monochrome underpainting on the 2 big trees (known as the "Bride and Groom Trees"). Since I'm a bit tired of doing branches, I'm going to work on the cabin now.




I'm just about done with the cabin and am now starting work on the Bride & Groom trees.

Regarding brushes, I naturally use more than one. They range from 2" to 1/4" flats, and rounds from 6 to 2.

This is just a rough underpainting for the trees, and the lights are only done for placement. The snow in the foreground is going to be the last thing I do.




The trees are done, and I'm starting the layers for the snow field in the foreground. More to do in the background elements, but they're close.

I find snow like this tricky to nail. Many layers of bringing it up and knocking it back; getting color, value, texture and the underlying glow all to hit at the same time. I never know if and when I'm going to get it until I do.




Here's the finished product.

For this, I used: Titanium white, raw Umber, Burnt umber, Ultramarine blue (light and regular), cobalt blue, cerulean blue, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, venetian red, caput mortem, ivory black, mars black, zinc white, and 2 Kremer mixes called Gubbio red (matched the cabinís red trim perfectly), and Terra Ercolano (a wonderful brilliant orange). I think thatís it, but maybe a touch or two of something else I didn't really need.








Some details.

The details are areas about 6 inches long by 5 1/2 inches high.

Oh, and this took about two weeks from start to finish.
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