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Old 21-04-09, 11:07 AM
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EllenT EllenT is offline
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Location: Bruges, Belgium
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Default Mixed/Miche Technique/Method

Hey All,
I am new to this forum, although I have been using egg tempera and the mixed technique for some 25+ years (off and on).
I got the mixed technique information from a friend of mine who studied with Nicolas Wacker in Paris in the early 80's.
Over time, my own usage of egg tempera has become incresingly sophisticated although at this point, I still use it primarily as an underpainting. Nevertheless, I am very interested in exchanging experience and information with others here who are practicing the mixed technique. Maybe this can happen: anybody out there???

As some of you may know, the mixed technique proceeds as a twofold process: First a glaze usually consisting of a color mixed into turps, varnish and oil is laid over the painting. After that has dried just slightly (a few minutes or less), it is wiped back off, leaving a glossy, sticky receptive surface. This surface remains receptive for about 18 hours or so depending on the climate, etc... The second step is working emulsion based oils back into that surface. Soft, sensuous blending with unifying as well as luminous effects becomes possible.
I love it!!!

Here's my question/difficulty:
Depending upon the complexity of the project in both subject matter or size, I find it difficult to mix up enough different paints of varying hues to cover the whole panel in one working session. Any areas of glaze not touched by emulsion based (step 2) paint, quickly become unreceptive to further manipulations upon drying! One solution, I know, is only to glaze enough of an area that I can reasonably expect to complete at one time. The down side of that is losing the relational/global image of the piece (which I also value quite highly). Another solution is to work with a wide enough brush and limited palette so as to cover (coarsely is fine) the intended areas. But I do sometimes wonder if I've gotten the basics or recipes wrong. Is this really the nature of the beast? There is so little pure information available (that I know of), that out of desperation and interest I am currently working on translating Wacker's book (Franšais-English). Tips, tricks or experiece from any and all are welcome.
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Old 26-04-09, 06:24 PM
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jim jim is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: atlanta, georgia
Posts: 74

dear ellen,

read your entry on the forum, and i bid you welcome. i hope you enjoy the website and get plenty of input from various of us tempera painters.

i do have a procedure i would suggest that you consider to see if it would meet your needs and eliminate some of the dissatisfactions you are having.

this is a mixed technique, but mixed in a slightly different sense than what you refer to. in the first stages of the painting, you would begin your work the same way you would typically make a tempera underpainting on your panel, using egg yolk and water as your binder. in subsequent layers of developing the painting, instead of converting to an alternate medium (with some kind of solvent based medium) you mix your egg medium with a small amount of some light drying oil (linseed is the most traditional, but i much prefer walnut or safflower because they are lighter, non-yellowing, and give a very good drying quality).

there's hardly any time needed between laying on glazes with this medium and the possibility of overpainting with opaque color. as multiple transparent layers of glaze are put over the underpainting, because the oil in the paint layers does not immediately cure, it can be smeared and blended with a fingertip to create many of the very soft glaze effects that are generally thought to be more typical of oil, but will in fact work with tempera glaze media. it takes a delicate touch, but it will work.

one of the nice things is there is no downtime for drying, just the time you need to make up your mind about what you're going to do next. in my case, that's quite a long time, sometimes, but a lot of people can make their decisions very quickly. and the paint itself will go along with whatever speed you want to work.

as you work layer after layer, you might slightly increase the proportion of oil content to your medium, but this is just a refinement, and by no means a necessity. one of the things i really like about this procedure is tht there's no need to use petroleum based solvents or any other volatile thinner. it all cuts with water.

good luck
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Old 28-05-09, 01:50 PM
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EllenT EllenT is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Bruges, Belgium
Posts: 22
Default Mixed/Miche Technique/Method

Hello Jim,

I happened to check back with this forum today and noticed your response. Thank you very much. Funny, I did not get an email announcing it when you posted. I guess I have to check back regularly - or else read the forum instructions...

Your tips all make a great deal of sense and sound a bit like what van Eyck must have slowly done. I will try to incorporate the tips and hope to get back to this thread when and if I have more questions.

In the meantime, I did discover some additional information on "Indirect Painting" as described by Reed Kay. He mentions there the necessity of painting into the glazed areas with opaque paint in order to avoid the risk of things becoming too "thin". He, also, is a good resource.

Hey, I just found out how to subscribe to this thread. Cool!

Last edited by EllenT; 28-05-09 at 01:59 PM. Reason: more info
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drying time, emulsion, glazing, mixed method, mixed technique

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