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Old 31-05-03, 05:49 PM
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Default Tubed Tempera

Are you very attracted to the egg tempera medium (perhaps you too have idolized Wyeth and Cadmus),and have you investigated and researched and have become somewhat daunted by what seems like a high learning curve and effort required for the medium, making you attracted to the ready made ET materials on the market?

If so, I make this post to implore you to get it right from the start! After "getting my feet wet" with tubed egg tempera paints and Clayboard, I almost gave up on ET and I hope to get the word out that this isn't an easy route to success with ET in my experience--let alone for the beginner!

Convinced my lifting problems were due to the Clayboard and not my new elegant French tubed paints, I spent a week learning to make authentic gesso panels... Which I did quite well, sanding them to a mirror finish...

But still on the wonderfully authentic gesso panels(that absorbed the india ink for the underpainting faster than a sponge) the tubed paint would frquently lift right down to the ground--and I tried thinning with egg and water, water alone and even Sennilier's medium... Even with the driest of brush strokes, and the lightest of touches, the quick and numerous layering of egg tempera lore just wasn't working well at all...

Convinced that I was doing everything right (I have had great success with dry brush water color in the Wyeth tradition) I finally broke down and bought loose pigments, a morter and pestal and ground my own pigment pastes (which isn't all that much work really, but as I thought, it IS messy and rather yechhy)...


Now I can make the very rapid and quick layering you associate with ET. Plus the colors! They are much more intense and lush than with the Sennilier tubed paint! While both the tubed and traditional artist made paint both dry to a nice low luster with incredible depth, the handmade pigment paste ET has a depth and crispness that the tubed egg/oil paint just does not have...

If you're serious about ET, then I strongly recommend you start right--paint on true gesso panels (not clayboard) and buy loose pigments (or pigment dispertions from Guerra Paint in NYC) from the start. The results will be MUCH better and you'll ultimately probably save money. I wish I had the $80 plus bucks I invested in the tubed paints back!

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