Egg Tempera Forums

Go Back   Egg Tempera Forums > The Forums > The Forum for Tempera Painting Issues

The Forum for Tempera Painting Issues Sharing the knowledge and experience of fellow tempera painters.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-09-15, 08:37 AM
markbriscoe markbriscoe is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Spain
Posts: 15
Default Using egg white in mediums

I have been experimenting using some egg white in my tempera/oil emulsions. I have tried drying the white and then grinding it to a fine powder so I can regulate the amount I add and also it prevents the medium from going too runny. A few months ago I stored some dry egg white flakes in a jar. After a few weeks I noticed they had gone a deep amber brown colour (leaving them in the sun didn’t clear it)… I actually just about never use the white in my mediums but I have seen recipes that include it and was curious to see if it had some wonderful qualities. So far, to be honest, I can’t see anything significantly amazing in it. My question really is, does anyone else use it or know if it will discolour the paint over time as it seems to go brown. Or any other knowledge observations with egg white in paint? Many thanks.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-15, 02:48 PM
Salamander's Avatar
Salamander Salamander is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Oceanside, CA
Posts: 340

I never have, though I've heard of it's use as glair in the writing of illuminated texts only
Reply With Quote
Old 19-09-15, 03:49 PM
Koo Schadler's Avatar
Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
Tempera Painter
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Alstead, NH & Zirahuen, Mexico
Posts: 318

Hello Mark,

That is very interesting. Three cheers for the alchemist among us. Just recently I've been wondering if the white discolors, because glair is sometimes recommended as a sort of varnish over ET and I don't know whether or not glair yellows with age (unlike the yolk, the yellow color of which is UV sensitive and bleaches out over time). I will ask around and see if I can get a chemist's response to the question of egg white and discoloration.

I do know that the white is composed of mostly albumen, which is a protein that lacks flexibility - it gets very brittle with age. This makes glair a poor choice for a varnish.

I believe albumen speeds up drying times when added to a paint, but I'm not 100% sure...

I will see if I can find out more.

Reply With Quote
Old 24-10-15, 09:31 AM
markbriscoe markbriscoe is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Spain
Posts: 15

Thanks Salamander and Coo for your response. I have only just discovered them (didn’t get a notification)
The reason I asked about egg white was I found some recipes in Robert Massey’s ‘Formulas for painters’ (the copy I have is more than 20 years old) that included 2 recipes with egg white in the Tempera section. Also I heard that JMW Turner used a medium that included egg white in the under layers of his paintings…
Anyway, TBH I have nothing much to report. I tried using it in a couple of emulsions and it seemed to make the mix a little more ’stringy’. I was hopeful that it might have some unique textural qualities but so far nothing remarkable. Continuing with yolk/oil :-)
Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-15, 02:55 AM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 231

I've often made egg + oil emulsions, but only with the yolk. Comments I've read of those who use a whole egg say that the medium tends to be more cloudy, but otherwise works fine. Egg white contains more water than the yolk, so any medium mixture should account for that if water is to be added.
Some artists use a medium/technique called "mische" where paint is made with dry pigments and an egg/oil mixture. They use the whole egg in their medium. I've not seen any complaints about discoloration. Their recipe also includes a damar varnish component which may help in that regards.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:34 PM.
Design modifications, graphics and CSS by RobM
June 2010

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.