|Egg Tempera paintings by Ruth Stage|
New England Art Club Exhibition 2014, Mall Galleries
- instruction by Ruth on materials and how to make egg tempera and the supports to paint on
- a review of her work
- we all had a go at painting on the gesso boards she brought for us
- a review of the egg tempera paintings in the National Gallery
Things I learned about egg tempera today
Ruth prefers to paint with egg tempera because it doesn't smell (ie good for those who have problems with solvents), has a good finish, dries quickly and looks different. It also has the advantage of getting more robust with age.
- Kremer Pigments from AP Fitzpatricks in Bethnal Green Road
- a 50:50 mix of egg and water for her egg base. I found this made for much easier mixing with the pigment and much easier application to the gesso board.
- a fabulous brush by German Brushmaker Da Vinci which has a very long handle and a very long filbert belly which holds a lot of paint. Jackson's Art import them from Germany but they're not listed on their online website. I found it online and it is described as an Ox Hair Rigger, long length with sharp needle point | Series 1287 - for oil and egg tempera paintings. This pdf file gives you the measurements for the different sizes for series 1287 - Ruth typically uses a size 12. You can get some sense of size from the brushes in my photograph alongside egg cartons!
- breaking the egg under a tap as this helps to remove the white of the egg
- prick the egg yolk with a pin or squeeze the yolk out through your fingers leaving the egg sac behind
- using a different plastic spoon for each jar of pigment to avoid contamination
- only mix a tiny bit of paint as it dries quickly on a palette
- wiping a gesso board with a damp cloth before you start to remove any film, dust or contamination
- using like watercolour ie she would not recommend building light paint on top of dark
- only using a couple of layers of thin paint - and waiting for the first layer to dry before adding the second.
- thinking about where to put the paint before applying it as it cannot be moved around in the same way other paints can - there is now working 'wet in wet' with egg tempera
- scratching out to create texture or to add in a new colour
- choosing subject matter which will work the need fore a different approach to painting with egg tempera. If you click the link in Ruth's name (at the top of this post) you can see a gallery catalogue of her work for a solo exhibition and how she uses calligraphic mark-making over a flat wash.
- working upright most of the time
|NEAC Egg Tempera workshop in the Mall Galleries|
Mine's the large one in the foreground - I'm painting from a sketch of Chartwell under the table!
|"Richard II presented to the Virgin and Child|
by his Patron Saint John the Baptist and Saints Edward and Edmund" ('The Wilton Diptych') c. 1395-9
Egg on oak, 53 x 37 cm
|Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino at the Battle of San Romano (c.1438-40) by Paolo Uccello|
Egg tempera with walnut oil and linseed oil on poplar; 182 x 320 cm
The support was made from about eight planks, was modified in the 15th century, and has a very thick priming of two layers of anhydrite in glue with a thin layer of gypsum in egg tempera on top. Drawing, both freehand and with a straight edge, and incising were observed and, unusually, some incised lines were applied into the paint, while graphic lines of paint were used to reinforce the image.You can find out more about Egg Tempera on the website I constructed following my first egg tempera workshop at the V&A back in 2006 - see Egg Tempera - Resources for Artists . Plus the links below are to my previous blogs posts about the V&A workshop
Egg tempera was the main medium, with walnut oil added for green paint to give some gloss.
- Class at the V&A: The support and the drawing 27 Nov 2006 Introduction to painting with egg tempera on a gesso panel.
- Class at the V&A: the pigments and the grinding 28 Nov 2006 ... at the V&A: the pigments and the grinding.
- Egg tempera class at the V&A: painting with egg tempera 29 Nov 2006 So far I've looked at what I learned about the support and the drawing, the pigments and the grinding to create the egg tempera paint - now we get to the actual painting!
Note: The workshop was organised by the NEAC Drawing School and held in the Mall Galleries during the Annual Exhibition of the New English Art Club. It was one of the activities in the Galleries this week