Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Application of Tempera Color

I have started applying color to my tempera painting. Now there's no going back. From now on this process will be long and tedious. After doing the underpainting I started to apply a layer of Indian Yellow to add a kick to the upcoming layers of color. Before going on about the beginning stages of this painting I must say that I do not use already made tubed egg tempera. I don't trust it! Every time I sit down to work I have to crack open a fresh egg and get rid of all the egg white. Then I role the egg yolk on a paper towel to make sure that I've gotten rid of all the white. The tricky part comes here when you have to pick up the egg yolk very delicately and puncture the egg yolk membrane and let the yolk pour out into a small container, something like a shot glass. Then I add an equal part of water, mix and tada! I have my binding medium. Once I have my egg medium I mix the pigments, with equal parts to medium, as I go on my little well palette. As you can see above, my Kremer pigment box has all the colors I might need.
After the application of Indian Yellow I start building up the painting very slowly by crosshatching the color. I load my brush and then run it down, twisting at the same time, on a paper towel to get all the excess color out. This helps out in laying down clean lines.
At this point you can get an idea of where I'm going with the background color. I already know what I want, I just have to work at it to achieve the inspiration color, which I will reveal once I post the final image of this tempera onion. The image above shows layers of Indian Yellow, Cobalt Green, and a mixture of Cobalt Green and Zinc White.
Back to the pigment box. This set of pigments is by Kremer Pigments and it's called the 25th Anniversary Set. This beautiful wooden box with twenty five colors was a special production by Kremer to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company's birth a few years ago. This set was so popular that it became part of the permanent product line. This set is ideal for oil painters since aside from the twenty five jars of color the set also brings a small jar of cold pressed linseed oil and a small jar of Kremer's fast drying oil painting medium. I substituted those two jars with two other colors that are part of the Historical Colors line. You don't have to paint in oils to use this box though, as you can see the set could be used for tempera painting because you only need small amounts of pigment for this style of painting.


Coco said...

The wooden box collection is really cool.

The tempera process is so fascinating to me as I know nothing about it. Just egg and water... wow!


Luis Colan said...

Hi Coco,
Just egg and water!...that's how they used to do it in the old days, and those paintings are still around looking good as new.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could tackle egg it all thin layered glazes..can you go gutzy with it?
My anniversary set is gathering dust :(

Darren Maurer said...

That is very interesting. I would like to watch you paint that piece.

Luis Colan said...

Hi PB, I wish I could go "gutzy" with tempera, that way I can work faster instead of cross hatching dozens of layers. Tempera does not stretch across a painting surface like oil. The only way to make it work that way is if you make and Egg-Oil emulsion, which I still haven't had the chance to lear, but I have seen the outcome and it is beautiful!

Hi Darren, as technically it is an interesting way of painting but like I said it takes a while. I you have a lot of patience I guess you could watch!

Bob said...

Cool Demo. I may give this a try.