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  #1  
Old 12-09-11, 07:10 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Default Tempera Grassa

I am about to begin a copy of a Hans Memling Painting, about 29 x 26", and I want to do it in tempera grassa (TG). I have dabbled only very briefly in TG; have never done a full painting, never mind of that size. I have books that discuss the topic I plan to peruse, but what I'd really love is to hear from anyone who has had direct experience with TG. The recipe I plan to use is given below. Any suggestions, advice?

Thanks,

Koo

-1 whole egg (include both the white and the yolk; however extract the yolk from its sac to eliminate any stringy, fibrous material.)
- 3 teaspoons drying oil (linseed, walnut, poppy, safflower)
- Optional: 3 teaspoons dry white wine or white wine vinegar, as a preservative.

Combine the whole egg with the drying oil by slowly adding the oil, drop by drop, into the egg while vigorous stirring. It is the same process as making mayonnaise. Once you’ve achieved a consistency similar to mayonnaise, you may stir in 3 teaspoons of dry white wine or vinegar as a preservative. Add water as needed when you are ready to mix with the pigments. Combine your tempera grassa medium with pigments (or pigment pastes) as you would to make regular egg tempera paint.
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Old 13-09-11, 01:22 PM
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Bron Bron is offline
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Koo,

I have no info to offer, but am curious about the process, so, if you please, keep us posted.

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  #3  
Old 13-09-11, 03:03 PM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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I've experimented a bunch with it, though not with that exact recipe. I have found that walnut works the nicest, but dries a bit slower than the linseed oil. Sometimes the open work time is a little tricky to get used to because it tacks up a bit and when that happens it's easy to lift the lower layers, at which point you'll need to stop for a while.... longer than with pure et.
Hope this is of some help, -Eric
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Old 14-09-11, 02:34 PM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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If you can get ahold of him, I bet Jim would know. Here is a link to an older post where he mentions it - http://www.eggtempera.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1043

-Silver



Quote:
Originally Posted by Koo Schadler View Post
I am about to begin a copy of a Hans Memling Painting, about 29 x 26", and I want to do it in tempera grassa (TG). I have dabbled only very briefly in TG; have never done a full painting, never mind of that size. I have books that discuss the topic I plan to peruse, but what I'd really love is to hear from anyone who has had direct experience with TG. The recipe I plan to use is given below. Any suggestions, advice?

Thanks,

Koo

-1 whole egg (include both the white and the yolk; however extract the yolk from its sac to eliminate any stringy, fibrous material.)
- 3 teaspoons drying oil (linseed, walnut, poppy, safflower)
- Optional: 3 teaspoons dry white wine or white wine vinegar, as a preservative.

Combine the whole egg with the drying oil by slowly adding the oil, drop by drop, into the egg while vigorous stirring. It is the same process as making mayonnaise. Once you’ve achieved a consistency similar to mayonnaise, you may stir in 3 teaspoons of dry white wine or vinegar as a preservative. Add water as needed when you are ready to mix with the pigments. Combine your tempera grassa medium with pigments (or pigment pastes) as you would to make regular egg tempera paint.
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Old 12-10-11, 03:10 PM
Patton
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Koo,
If you are using true lapis lazuli as your blue pigment the acidic nature of the wine and or vinegar will darken this pigment over a short period of time.

Last edited by Patton; 12-10-11 at 03:12 PM.
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  #6  
Old 17-10-11, 06:20 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Thanks for all of your input. I'm working away on a single face from the larger Memling painting, working on a tiny 3 x 5" panel for now, so I can get a feeling for the paint before I dive into the big piece. So far it is working very nicely - not quite et, not quite oil, somewhere in between. A little more painterly than pure tempera, and yet it dries within seconds. I am running into some lifting as Salamander warned but hopefully will eventually learn the right touch. All the oil painters in the class are watching with interest! I'll let you know how it progresses.

Koo
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Old 02-11-11, 01:11 AM
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mona mona is offline
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Thumbs up Tempera Grassa

Koo, kudos! I am so glad to see someone else experimenting like this with egg-oil. You are so brave to try this so large as it is, and with this formula, even with a preliminary study! Do you feel it gives you as great an ability with detail as with plain egg tempera, and does it feel like you can use the tempera grassa alone instead of oil over isolated egg tempera (or perhaps this is partly what you are still scoping out)?

A few more questions: can I ask what the difference is, as you, or Eric, or anyone else sees it, between the terms 'egg-oil emulsion' and 'tempera grassa'? There are so many formulas and combinations out there to try (online for example) when oil of some kind is being added with egg. Does it become tempera grassa, for example, if the whole egg including the egg white is being used in the formula, and egg-oil emulsion if it is an egg yolk-only formula? And if egg white is in the mix, is it the oil which becomes the stabilizing ingredient, since we are traditionally taught to use only the yolk for egg tempera, or alternately only the white when preparing glair, to avoid cracking and chipping issues?

About two years ago I tried a simple formula for egg-oil emulsion of one part egg yolk, one part linseed oil, and one part distilled water. I had somewhat mixed results, and some picking up of the under layers, but I was also, as I went forward with my painting, experimenting with the proportion of lean to fat by increasing the oil in my mix each time I returned for another painting session. Having started in egg tempera, I felt perhaps I could gradually swing it around to oil at the finish. Since the painting itself was going well, but under layers were still occasionally picking up, I wound up doing a layer of liquin on top to isolate my egg-oil when I was almost done, and although I put it on the side, and still have a few minor modifications in oil paint only that I want for it, here's a link to what it looks like at present: http://monadianeconner.com/#portrait...each-gallery/7

My personal perspective is that whatever gives my painting the end result I want is what I am willing to try, although I know opinions differ on this, and some of us prefer plain egg tempera only, and I, too, look forward to experimenting more with formulas.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-11, 03:31 PM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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I think the "Grassa" term only means it contains added oil
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  #9  
Old 04-11-11, 02:36 AM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Tempera Grassa

Thanks Eric. Would that mean that these are interchangeable terms, even when the whole egg is used? In a 2007 post, CMunisso says: "Using yolk and oil, is the basis of the traditional italian "tempera grassa" (fat tempera)."

http://www.eggtempera.com/forum/showthread.php?t=489

Mona
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Old 04-11-11, 03:23 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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The main benefit that oil gives to a yolk mixture is the ability to paint on more flexible surfaces like stretched canvas; although, you'd still want to keep the layers relatively thin. You could build up the thickness with multiple layers. The added oil also gives the paint a more glossy look than using yolk alone, especially if you use stand oil.

The egg white is almost all water and some protein, whereas the yolk contains mostly oil and fat. It's also only the yolk that emulsifies with oil. There's no problem in using egg white in a mixture, to my knowlege, but it gives you more egg volume so you need more oil, or you can substitute some of the oil with diluted resin (Damar and turpentine.) Since the white already contains water you should lessen the water you would add to a mix that would only use yolk and oil. I don't know of a specific term for a mixture that contains a whole egg, but there is "glair" which is just the egg white.

Edit: by the way, digging through some notes of mine I found in a book "The Art of Cennino Cennini" by Christiana Herringham there's a footnote added about using "fig-milk" with a recipe that includes whole egg (not including oil.) This milk is a natural latex that comes from the cut fig branches. Supposedly it adds preservative qualities and makes the egg more water-resistant. Never used it myself, however.

Last edited by dbclemons; 04-11-11 at 04:14 PM.
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