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Old 11-05-11, 02:18 AM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Default Can you use just medium?

Can you use just medium (to like glaze) or does the medium need to be tempered with a pigment before you can put it down?
Thanks
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Old 12-05-11, 12:08 AM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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I use just medium all the time in-between coats to even out the finish. No need for pigment, it's the pigment that gets/needs the tempering.
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Old 12-05-11, 05:03 PM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Originally Posted by Salamander View Post
I use just medium all the time in-between coats to even out the finish. No need for pigment, it's the pigment that gets/needs the tempering.
Thanks Salamander. Would it also be an acceptable finish/top coat too?
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Old 13-05-11, 06:36 AM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Can you use just medium?

Yes, I use egg medium alone as a final coat where needed to even the sheen out. The only caution is take care not to overdo plain medium, especially if you are already glazing and scumbling thin layers as you paint. Too much egg content and it will get tacky, under layers may pick up on you, etc.

Mona
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Old 13-05-11, 03:12 PM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Thanks Mona!

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Originally Posted by mona View Post
Yes, I use egg medium alone as a final coat where needed to even the sheen out. The only caution is take care not to overdo plain medium, especially if you are already glazing and scumbling thin layers as you paint. Too much egg content and it will get tacky, under layers may pick up on you, etc.

Mona
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  #6  
Old 26-05-11, 02:57 AM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Silver Lining,

I hope all goes well in your tempering world. A thought or two about glazing...

You wrote, "Can you use just medium (to like glaze) or does the medium need to be tempered with a pigment before you can put it down?". My understanding is that a glaze is a transparent layer of color - the operative word being "color". The whole point with a glaze is to put on a very thin layer of pigment. If you use an inherently transparent pigment (i.e. one in which, if you took an individual particle, magnified it, and held it up the light, it would appear like a piece of stained glass - these are the best to use for glazing) the ideal would be to get a thin, consistent distribution of these pigment particles. If you are working with an inherently semi-opaque pigment (or even some opaque colors, like cad orange) you can still get it to sort of "behave" transparently - not by applying pigment over every inch, but rather by applying the pigment in a dispersed manner, so that the light can travel around the individual pigment particles. Either way you glaze (by applying a consistent layer of a transparent pigment, the ideal; or a thin, dispersed layer of a semi-opaque pigment) the thing that helps you accomplish this is your medium. The medium isn't the point. The color is. The medium is just the thing that helps you achieve the glaze.

This isn't to say that it isn't perfectly fine to lay on a thinned layer of egg yolk medium atop your painting - it is fine once in a while (being careful, as Mona warns, not to get it too thick and tacky). This is sometimes referred to as a nourishing layer and helps to even out uneven tempering. However this is not a glaze; when medium alone is applied it is more akin to a retouch varnish.

I make this distinction not to be a nitpicking smarty pants about art jargon, but because I wouldn't want you to think there are magical luminous properties to a thin layer of egg yolk medium without color. True, a nourishing layer can help to more fully saturate your colors (to the minimal degree that tempera, with its lower refractive index, is capable of doing so). But it doesn't necessarily create luminosity on its own. Color, specifically transparent color, does that. Does that make sense?

Koo

Last edited by Koo Schadler; 26-05-11 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 09-07-11, 06:17 PM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Thanks for the detailed reply, Koo. That makes sense.

If I want a very transparent glaze, what would be the fines pigment to use? I was going to try Zinc white but herd that was a no no.

I would like this layer to be as clear as possible and not to heavily colored.

THanks,
Silver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koo Schadler View Post
Hello Silver Lining,

I hope all goes well in your tempering world. A thought or two about glazing...

You wrote, "Can you use just medium (to like glaze) or does the medium need to be tempered with a pigment before you can put it down?". My understanding is that a glaze is a transparent layer of color - the operative word being "color". The whole point with a glaze is to put on a very thin layer of pigment. If you use an inherently transparent pigment (i.e. one in which, if you took an individual particle, magnified it, and held it up the light, it would appear like a piece of stained glass - these are the best to use for glazing) the ideal would be to get a thin, consistent distribution of these pigment particles. If you are working with an inherently semi-opaque pigment (or even some opaque colors, like cad orange) you can still get it to sort of "behave" transparently - not by applying pigment over every inch, but rather by applying the pigment in a dispersed manner, so that the light can travel around the individual pigment particles. Either way you glaze (by applying a consistent layer of a transparent pigment, the ideal; or a thin, dispersed layer of a semi-opaque pigment) the thing that helps you accomplish this is your medium. The medium isn't the point. The color is. The medium is just the thing that helps you achieve the glaze.

This isn't to say that it isn't perfectly fine to lay on a thinned layer of egg yolk medium atop your painting - it is fine once in a while (being careful, as Mona warns, not to get it too thick and tacky). This is sometimes referred to as a nourishing layer and helps to even out uneven tempering. However this is not a glaze; when medium alone is applied it is more akin to a retouch varnish.

I make this distinction not to be a nitpicking smarty pants about art jargon, but because I wouldn't want you to think there are magical luminous properties to a thin layer of egg yolk medium without color. True, a nourishing layer can help to more fully saturate your colors (to the minimal degree that tempera, with its lower refractive index, is capable of doing so). But it doesn't necessarily create luminosity on its own. Color, specifically transparent color, does that. Does that make sense?

Koo
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  #8  
Old 10-07-11, 01:59 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Silver,

As you may have read in another recent posting, there are concerns about the brittleness of zinc white in paint. In oil paints it seems most worrisome, but it may not be ideal for et either. I find if I thin my titanium white sufficiently with water (so very much thinned, a matter of fact, that I will add a touch more egg to make sure it binds), it can be applied like a very thin mist or diaphonous veil of transparent white. The underlying layers are perfectly visible, but nicely muted and unified by this mist (akin to atmospheric perspective). I remember Dennis Harper mentioning a buff-colored, white earth from Zecchi's, I believe, that he uses in a similar way. However an application of white like this is technically not a glaze, but a scumble. Scumbles behave differently from glazes; they involve white, not color.

A glaze always implies color; ideally, transparent color (but as mentioned, less transparent colors can be used as well, if sufficiently dispersed). If you want a glaze to appear minimal, just make it very thin! But again, if you thin it with oodles of water, you may want to add a touch more egg to make sure the paint sticks.

Some of my favorite glazing colors are: quinacridone magenta, Prussian blue (but be careful, very strong), viridian green, a transparent Italian yellow ocher from Kremer. I also love burnt sienna, ultramarine, green earth, burnt umber...although these are more semi-transparent and need to be thinly applied to appear transparent. There are a zillion transparent pigments out there and everyone has different favorite depending on their palettes.

Koo
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Old 21-01-13, 12:32 PM
MacMullin MacMullin is offline
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Koo, I just finished an ET painting the other day, and I noticed a few of the surfaces were not as consistent as I would like. For the first time (and with out using my head (like Wile E Coyote) and find out more about it) I thought I would use just medium (water & egg) as my final finishing varnish or what you have mentioned as a nourishing layer. I use about 4 parts water to 1 part egg. Moreover, I used a No.4 brush and covered the paintings surface and now I find it looks to ruff and just to shinny - I now wish I had left it well alone.

If one does use a "nourishing layer" what is the proper technical procedure and second, if one can apply a finial finishing varnish to even out the surface and protect the painting, what would this be and it's procedure?

I appreciate any any guidance you can give me.
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  #10  
Old 22-01-13, 03:34 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello MacMullin,

I know well the perils of a nourishing layer. It is easy to make it too strong and end up with a gummy surface. I have no sure-fire answer, but here are some thoughts.

- Its hard to give exact proportions of yolk to water for a nourishing layer, because yolks vary. Some are lean, some are very rich. What's more important than exact ratios (both for nourishing layers and egg yolk mediums) is to develop, through experience, a feeling for the proper quality of your mix. For a nourishing layer, you should be able to stick your finger in and feel that the yolk has been sufficiently "cut" with water. It's akin, perhaps, to low-fat milk. With practice you will recognize the feel. I would say, as a starting point, a ratio of 1 part egg to 4 or 5 parts water is good. But obviously, this isn't always the case, as you discovered. Perhaps you had an especially fatty yolk that day - do you recall? Regardless, in the future I would recommend starting with a 1 yolk to 4 water mix, feel it, apply a sample layer on a scrap piece to see how it dries...through experience you will learn to immediately recognize the proper quality.

- What to apply a nourishing layer with depends on what tool you are most skilled with. Tempera, as we ET painters all know, wants to dry in the form of whatever tool you used to apply it (since we can't go back and manipulate the edges of the paint, unless we want to lift the previous layers!) The same is true for a nourishing layer. Big brushes leave big brush marks; small brushes small ones; sponges leave sponge marks; etc. Experienced tempera artists generally find a tool they have a feel for. They become good at using that tool to apply paint (and nourishing layers) in a controlled manner, leaving as much or as minimal a mark as is desired. It just takes practice, learning to control the big or small brush, or sponge, in such a way that you don't leave too much of a mark. For me, my most consistent layers are applied with wedge shaped, cosmetic sponges. After years of practice I also can apply a consistent layer with a 1 1/2" flat watercolor brush, tho' not as successfully as with a sponge.

- Now that the layer is on it may or may not be tricky to address, depending on how strong or rough it is. The best way to cure egg yolk is with sunlight. Second best way is with heat. I recommend putting the piece in a sunny window, or back of a car (tho' don't let the panel get at all hot to the touch), or on the porch on a warm, sunny day (being sure to protect it against insect nibbles, dog and/or cat licks, and unexpected sprinkles). The more it has cured, the more success you will have in gently polishing the surface to smooth it and even out the shine. However if the layer is exceptionally thick and gummy, it may take a long time to cure - I had one student who waited half a year before she could address a very thick nourishing layer )-: If it feels tacky, or smears, it is not sufficiently cured.

- As for varnishing, this is a tricky - sometimes controversial - subject. Tricky in that there are so many options for varnishing a tempera painting, and controversial because many ET painters object to it. Respectfully, to those who love an unvarnished tempera surface (I agree, it is a gorgeous finish), varnishing is a viable option. Perhaps search here for past posting on that subject. Also feel free to ask a more specific question (i.e. what sort of final look do you want?). There is so much that could be said on the topic - it could take up pages - that it would be helpful to narrow the discussion.

Hope that helps,

Koo

Last edited by Koo Schadler; 22-01-13 at 04:15 PM.
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