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Old 26-01-10, 01:59 PM
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Default Unsual techniques

Are there inventive new techniques possible with egg tempera? For example i have always heard that any painting with thick paint would crack, etc. Is there any substance to add to egg tempera that would make this possible? Is there anyone doing experiments like this.

I have painted with traditional egg tempera for a while now and love it but keep wondering if now and then I could do something radical without it cracking????

Any thoughts??
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Old 26-01-10, 08:15 PM
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jim jim is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: atlanta, georgia
Posts: 74

the general principle of a layer of egg yolk tempera needing to be thin enough to avoid cracking over time seems to hold fairly consistently true. you can get by with a heavier tempera layer if you mix a drying oil in with your medium before the pigments are mixed in. a number of oils are useful and have a long tradition of use, these being linseed oil or stand oil, walnut oil, and my favorite, safflower oil.

but more dramatic, high impasto effects can be achieved in tempera painting by the simple expedient of creating dramatic textures at the level of your gesso. your initial layer of gesso could either be applied very roughly, or immaculately smoothly, as is often done. and then an underpainting can be worked out. this can be done in dry media (charcoal, pastel) or in wet media, such as tempera with a binder of rabbit skin glue and water.

as gesso cools, it becomes thicker and for a fairly brief amount of time can be brushed over dry layer of gesso with very prominent brush strokes and high relief. this can be done with the gesso in its normal white state, or with whatever amount of pigment mixed in with it that you care to use.

once the early stages of your design were worked out with these media, and you had as much impasto built up as you cared for, either with palette knife or whatever, then after a day or so drying out, you can commence with your egg tempera stage, and you'd have a rough and ready underpainting that could have loads of vigor.

best of luck
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Old 26-01-10, 11:58 PM
VK VK is offline
(Ramesh Vyaghrapuri)
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 53

This *free* book (not sure how I got it) has a lot of recipes with egg and talks about painting thickly vs thinly.
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Old 27-01-10, 11:29 AM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Chicago, Illinois USA
Posts: 417

Also you can do a lot of things while painting thinly. You can spatter or sponge. You can scrape and sand. Ben Shanhn did some works that had underpaintings of large, bright, abstract shapes, which he seems to have let thoroughly dry and then painted over with different imagery, scratching to let the undercolor show.
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