EXAMPLES OF TEMPERA

OR SHOULD i SAY egg-samples…

It’s a well known fact that up until relatively recently, painters made up their own colours from ground pigments and whatever carrier mediums they preferred; most commonly oil, water or egg yolk. One of the marks of the successful artist was being able to afford an apprentice (or two, or three…) to do the blending of the paints for them, and so the acquiring of the skill of paint blending became a crucial rite of passage for all aspiring painters.

By the time I entered art school however, the era of commercially produced, convenient pre-prepared paints, of all media was firmly established, and pestles and mortars had long disappeared from our studios. Nevertheless, I, and one or two fellow students of a more traditional persuasion were curious to experience, at least fleetingly, both making and using our own paint.

Fortunately, our school was close by an art shop that still supplied raw pigments, so we were able to have some fun making up our own oils, watercolour and egg tempera and then trying them out on paper and canvas.

Presented here are the results of my own experimentation with tempera and watercolour. Because water was free, and even back then eggs were relatively expensive, I was able to create a far broader palette in the latter, and had to restrict myself to just two colours in egg tempera – Prussian blue and burnt umber – hence the several monochrome sketches…

Becky – tempera on paper – 1981
Hannah and Harry – tempera on paper – 1981
Hannah – tempera on paper – 1981
Hannah on the phone – watercolour on paper – 1981
Ruth – tempera on paper – 1981

2 thoughts on “EXAMPLES OF TEMPERA

  1. I enjoyed the work of Andrew Wyeth who used egg tempera, but never contemplated trying it myself. And had I done so, I don’t know where I would have found the pigments. Now, of course, just about anything can be found online.
    Earlier today, I pulled out a sketch book and thought I needed to do more with it. But having no formal training, I always was too critical of my efforts and wanted to produce detailed finished drawings. I love the expressiveness of your sketches above, and perhaps they will inspire me to actually use the sketch book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ray, and I love Wyeth’s work by the way! I was a reluctant sketcher when I began at art school, but came to find it very liberating, and it I think it helped me greatly with my more “finished” work. I wasn’t actually a big John Constable fan, until I saw his cloud sketches at the old Tate Gallery, and they literally changed the course of my art career…https://www.google.com/search?q=constable+cloud+sketches&oq=Constable+sky+ske&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i22i30.12943j1j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      Liked by 1 person

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