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Old 06-06-10, 05:53 PM
vermillion9's Avatar
vermillion9 vermillion9 is offline
Gettin' Eggy With It
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 88
Default Theres' always something...

In my experience, whether in a class or online or general conversation, there is always something I am not told that I really needed to know that would have saved me time or money or both. Does anyone here have a lesson that they have learned the hard way in egg tempera that you feel should have been told to you? Or is there a "learn from my fail" moment you would like to share? I'm just starting so I haven't had any real mishaps...yet. Which I would like to avoid if at all possible!
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Old 06-06-10, 07:41 PM
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RobM RobM is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nottingham, England
Posts: 352

There are many potential pitfalls.........
Gesso panels.
My first attempt at making gesso panels was a total disaster........
1. The wrong proportions of RSG/whiting/water. (There are some well tried and tested recipes on the main site (
2. The dreaded pinholes. After painting on my first panel it looked like Van Gogh's starry night skies..........but mine was not a night scene......
Learning to prepare gesso panels is a must and there is plenty of advice both here on the forum and the main site.
You mention saving money......start off with just a few basic pigments. Again, there are a number of topics on just this.
Get the right proportion of pigment and egg medium, it does vary and only comes with trial and error but the rule of thumb is equal proportions of pigment paste and medium (Pigment paste discussed elsewhere).
Don't paint too thickly, many, many films of thinly layered paint is the best approach and in the long run the quickest way to achieve the desired result.
Slowly build up the underlying structure of the forms you wish to portray.

Whilst it may be an advantage to have a web site such as this with much information to hand and the experience of the many forum members, I started in ET well before I became computer savvy and this site in its current form had not been started.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the exploration of the medium including the many frustrations and panels being angrily thrown into the bin!!!

Hopefully, this forum and the main site will put you well on the way as a newbie to ET and yes, we are here to share. When and if you need further advice on certain aspects then just get here and ask..........
Phew................need a lie down after all that typing.
Have fun exploring
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Old 06-06-10, 11:47 PM
gainor gainor is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
Posts: 24
Default Pitfalls of learning Egg Tempera

Like Rob I had a disaster with making my own panels, and the pin holes were such a disappointment I still don't make my own panels and take a chance on what I can buy.

When I first started learning ET I bought quite a few books on the subject and started to teach myself based on these books. I thought I HAD to work over an India Ink underpainting to make a real Egg Tempera painting. When I discovered this forum and realized that many artists don't work over India ink I was so relieved. I had only painted one panel using the ink underpainting but it was not a fun experience, to the extent that I thought that if I had to do that I wouldn't continue working in this medium. I have since discovered that most artists have adapted the medium to their tastes and working methods, and using this website as a guide most every situation you will encounter will have been discussed here. There are a few rules that you need to follow, which Rob has pointed out, which ensures the integrity of your painting.

Egg Tempera is a wonderful medium, but don't expect it to behave like others you have used, and keep in mind that it is not "spontaneous" and plan ahead before you paint.

Have fun. I thought it would be SO HARD to learn, but it is not difficult, and there is lots of help on the internet.

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Old 07-06-10, 12:30 AM
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vermillion9 vermillion9 is offline
Gettin' Eggy With It
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 88

Pinholes. Yep. I had the exact same experience. *shrug* Good thing there's paper! I like to use ink for practice so I can nail down shading. Trying to render appropriate shading and color, at the same time, was a major headache. Now, I do a sample in ink and use that as a guide for the color. I guess I can't think of more than one thing at a time...
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