View Full Version : Egg Tempera and D.S. Watercolour Ground

06-17-2012, 08:08 PM
Hi: I was thinking about trying egg tempera but don't want to get into the rabbit glue and sizing, so was wondering if anyone knows how it would work using Daniel Smith watercolour ground on heavy 300# watercolour paper...


06-19-2012, 12:08 AM
You could also try out practicing with egg tempera directly on your 300 lb watercolor paper. When I first tried egg tempera I made some sketches in my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook (fairly thin paper) and they came out fine. They're still fine more than a year later, though they don't have very many layers of paint on them. I read that egg tempera tends to become brittle over the years, so finished works on paper need to be kept from bending.

(I haven't tried the Daniel Smith watercolor ground, so I can't comment on that. I don't think watercolor paper needs any extra sizing to receive egg tempera though.)

I know that the experts recommend only painting egg tempera on traditional gesso/rabbitskin glue on a rigid support, but for just practicing, plain paper is fine, and you'll start to get a feel for the way the egg paint handles before investing in fancier supports.

I have done a couple finished egg tempera works on Ampersand Claybord. There are mixed opinions about the longevity of egg tempera on Claybord. However, I feel I'm still kind of practicing, so I'm not too concerned about using Claybord. It's widely available and pretty cheap, and from what I've heard, Ampersand has recently changed its formula, and concerns about the old Claybord no longer hold.

I've heard good things about the True Gesso panels Margarete mentioned (in the Watercolor forum), but I haven't tried them yet. (I haven't tried real gesso at all.) Some people say the initial layers of paint go on a bit differently on Claybord as opposed to traditional gessoed panels, and some people who are used to real gesso panels don't like Claybord. I'll say that the first few layers do seem really weird on Claybord (they get sucked in and look a bit blotchy), but it's fine after those first few layers.

I'm sure the more experienced egg tempera painters will post responses pretty soon. This forum just doesn't get visited very frequently.

06-19-2012, 06:13 PM
Thanks for your reply... I'm going to have to wait until I get to Florida in the winter to order the ground. The coupon I used for free shipping wasn't good in Canada.

I might practice with the heavy paper though...

06-20-2012, 08:50 AM
Okay - I got a 20% off coupon from DS yesterday to re-ordered the ground...

Alessandra Kelley
06-28-2012, 06:46 PM
I honestly don't know if it's the tempera or the gesso that embrittles over time. Ben Shahn did a lot of tempera on paper, and they seem ok 60 and more years on.

It's a fun medium. Good luck!

07-23-2012, 09:56 AM
I understand that both become brittle - neither one is recommended for use on stretched canvas. I guess if the paper were pretty thick and kept rigid, it might be okay.

I've used Claybord for egg tempera and found it okay. I've just started using traditional gesso, so I'll be trying that soon too.

Alessandra, love the name of your blog!