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Old 26-10-10, 02:58 PM
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EllenT EllenT is offline
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Default Egg Tempera painted over a modelled surface?

About 25 years ago, I used a wood putty/sawdust archival modelling paste to pre-sculpt some wooden panels before painting on them in egg tempera. The paintings still survive today, alive and well, but I don't see any wood putty based modelling compounds available in art supply stores or online. Most modelling compounds on the market are acrylic based modelling paste.

From all that I have been able to read here, and from my own tactile painting experience, I sense an acrylic modelling compound will not work as a substrate for egg tempera. What to do?

Does anyone have any experience or suggestions for a material/product to use if I want to pretexture a (wood panel) surface before painting on it in egg tempera?

I'd be grateful for any suggestions...
THX
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Old 26-10-10, 03:15 PM
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A putty made from hide glue gesso by adding extra whiting. I use it on gessoed frames, and is probably the material used to model surfaces on early tempera paintings.

Being new to this forum, and unsure how to post an image, here is a link to the image on my frame weblog.

Much of his armor, the shield, etc. are 3D.

Last edited by Bron; 26-10-10 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 27-10-10, 06:47 AM
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Hi Bron,

Thanks for the reply. I did some more research of my own yesterday:

Bought some acrylic modelling paste made by Maimeri (top notch Italian colors shop) that is said to be receptive to water based paints, but I'm not sure I want to use it. Though it might be receptive enough to the egg tempera paint, I am not sure about how well it will bond to the wooden panel.

I read Cennini's thoughts on the subject. He seems to suggest the building up of forms using sawdust and hide glue. Followed by a coarse gesso that can be modelled (perhaps like the kind that you suggest), which is then covered by a finer gesso. Do you have any experience with that?

If not, can you tell me the proportions (the recipe) you have used for your "modelling" gesso?
THX
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Old 27-10-10, 02:15 PM
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Hi Ellen.

Cennini's recipes have always seemed "overly" complicated, using different materials for each layer. The sawdust with hide glue was a common technique amongst wood workers when hide glue was the adhesive of choice, either mixing HG with sawdust, or painting the end grain of a board, and scraping to produce a colored filler that would match the lumber used ... in theory.

My recipe for gesso is 20 fluid ounces of of water, 40 grams HG, and a tablespoon of uniodized salt; then 2-3 of the small tuna cans of whiting. I use the precipitated calcium carbonate. The salt retards the gelling of the gesso; helps with leveling and pinholes, but that's another post. To make the putty, I just add more whiting until it's putty. Recipe will vary, dependent on conditions, glue batch, and properties wanted.

An alternative is catalyzed polyester resin (Bondo) Here is a link to an example of bondo as poured ornamentation.

Another example. Caution, nudity.

The polyester resin adheres well to wood, as well as gesso. The second example is almost 20 years old, and was stored in a damp basement. Conditions were bad enough that when the painting and frame were recently exhibited, there was bloom or mold on both painting and frame. The poly resin was still sound, and adhering well to the gessoed frame.

Myself, for an ET painting, and I've been thinking about it; would use the gesso putty, and probably holes as keys for the putty. The gesso is very carvable with regular carving tools; if you want to be fancy, the French, those French, make special tools for carving and chasing gesso.

Bron

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