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Old 08-01-08, 11:51 AM
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Question Is it not advisable to use the ET medium with knife?

hi All,
am a new user of this site and am glad to see the tempera painting been working with the tempera medium on canvas as was taught in the academy in Hyderabad, India...But i found the painting developed cracks after a time being...i used zinc oxide along with the powdered pigments in order to get the opaque it because of that or its the surface only?...but i experienced the same problem even if i keep the canvas stretched..i like to work in a large scale and this medium only as i do not like the glossy effect of the oils and acrylic...but i find it difficult to carry the work along with the stretcher....can there be some alternative?....
one more thing...are there any readymade gesso treated boards available...i live in Riyadh-Saudi Arabia...Kindly suggest me some store nearby or any site where i can book the material online.
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Old 08-01-08, 01:41 PM
Alexandra van Cruyningen Alexandra van Cruyningen is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 42


I think cracking is due to the support of canvas. Egg tempera needs a stable support and mostly egg tempera paintings are not done on a large scale, although I must say that Botticelli's panels are pretty big to me. You can buy very good panels at realgesso in Athens, Georgia. I use them and find them very good to work on. You can order at their website. But I must say most painters here on this website make their own panels and that is much cheaper...
with friendly regards,
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Old 08-01-08, 04:25 PM
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JeffG JeffG is offline
Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: US (NJ)
Posts: 121

I'm not sure what the academy in Hyderabad, India is teaching, but:

1. As Alexandra said, pure egg tempera should be painted on a rigid, inflexible panel, and not on stretched canvas. Otherwise, your paint is almost guaranteed to crack.

2. Tempera paint should be applied in thin layers.

3. Although a knife may be used for certain effects (Wyeth has stated he used a knife extensively in one of his works), I think it really should only be used to scrape paint off. If you're using a knife to trowel paint on, you're using tempera much, much too thick.

4. Zinc oxide white is a bad choice for opacity. Titanium white is what you should be using to make the paint opaque.
Jeff G
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Old 08-01-08, 07:49 PM
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paintrman paintrman is offline
Kelley Vandiver
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Posts: 95
Default Zinc White

As Jeff pointed out, Zinc White is the more transparent of the whites. Also, according to a study sponsored by the Smithsonian, zinc white becomes brittle and cracks and flakes off in as little as 10 years (if I remember correctly). Granted, the study was done using oil as a medium but why tempt fate? The most permanent white is lead white but I am not willing to switch because I am a very messy painter.

Good luck!
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Old 09-01-08, 04:23 AM
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Thank you all for your quick response...

1. I have refeerred to the website regd the preparation using hide glue...which is the best of boards to be used? it available in art shops or generel plywood selling shops?...Can ET be also painted on Rice Paper pasted on the ply?....and if yes does that also need Hide Glue treatment...

2. Schmincke-Casein binding medium used with the powdered pigments give a similar effect like tempera?Does it also have a risk of cracking in future if used on a stretched canvas?
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Old 10-01-08, 03:16 PM
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RobM RobM is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nottingham, England
Posts: 352

I would definitely keep away from plywood........there are some good plywoods but there are many, many more bad samples which may delaminate.
Un-tempered hardboard (masonite) or medium density fibre board are the most commonly used supports.............these are available in most DIY stores
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