View Full Version : Where does one get egg tempera ?

04-05-2013, 11:31 PM
I've recently taken an interest in egg tempera. I've been trying to apply traditional tempera techniques using some cheapo stuff I got at Michael's. It's worked alright, but I really want to try the authentic egg tempera...

I work at an art supply store and our distributor doesn't carry it. Every chain place I've been to just has cheapo poster paint tempera. Can you buy the "real" stuff anywhere, or do most people just make their own?

04-06-2013, 12:09 PM
Daler Rowney and Sennelier make tubed egg tempera. (New York Central Art Supply nycentralart.com sells both.) I have used the Sennelier and was disappointed in it.
An easier way into egg tempera is to mix tube watercolor with egg yolk. To separate the yolk from the white, you need to hold the yolk by its sac until all the white has dripped off; then puncture the yolk sac to drain the yolk into a shot glass or tiny dish. Add a bit of water, and you can use the yolk/water as a medium for tubed watercolor, much as you would use a painting medium when using oil paint. A bit of trial and error with lead you to the correct proportion. Just a touch of yolk is all you need on your brush. For learning purposes, it is perfectly OK to paint on watercolor paper.
Good luck!

04-06-2013, 12:33 PM
Here are a few interesting links:
-- Egg Tempera on makingpaint.com (http://www.paintmaking.com/grinding_egg_tempera.htm)
-- Making Egg Tempera from DSmith (http://www.danielsmith.com/content--id-105)
-- Making Egg Tempera Paint from eggtempera.com (http://www.eggtempera.com/technical-info/egg-tempera-paint)

All three of these sets of instructions call for using pure fresh dry pigment -- not watercolor paint -- as the pigment source.


04-06-2013, 10:50 PM
Hmm I might try the Daler Rowney and see if I like it. I'm rather fond of their System 3 acrylics, but everything else I've gotten by them has been hit or miss.

04-06-2013, 10:58 PM
Yes--the authentic egg tempera process uses dry pigment. However, to try the egg tempera process out, it really isn't necessary to invest in jars of powdered pigment. On the other hand, dry pigment can be used to make watercolors, egg tempera, oil paints, and pastels, so it's a good investment for someone interested in making their own paints. On the other other hand, one can make one's own fresh dry pigment using small chunks minerals (lapis, garnet) ground on a knife sharpening plate. There's more than one way to do things, and lots of good videos, as Studio 1F recommends above.

04-07-2013, 11:00 AM
. . . . On the other hand, dry pigment can be used to make watercolors, egg tempera, oil paints, and pastels, so it's a good investment for someone interested in making their own paints. . . .
Here is a "Starter Set" of dry pigment from Kremer. (http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?cat=01&lang=ENG&product=14302) You certainly don't need the Ivory Black, which you can mix from the other colors, so maybe you could ask them to substitute another more useful color.


04-08-2013, 04:36 PM
That's a pretty reasonable price for a set of pigments, but I'm not much for mixing my own paints. Might be fun to play with though...

04-09-2013, 04:32 PM
Hi there,

I do mix my own paints using dry pigments. I enjoy the process, you don't need to use much pigment to get good results. My tutor, when i did an egg tempera class said that the Masters used only a small amount of pigment mixes.

When I'm at home I mix a small amount of pigment paste (dry pigment mixed with water) on a tile with a small drop of egg yoke. Depending on the finest of the ground pigment the mixed paint will go along way on your gessoed board. The paint mix needs to go on almost dry, if you get a shiny look to your glaze or coat this usually means there's too much egg yoke in the mixture and will come up when you apply the next glaze over it.

If I'm at an outdoor show demonstrating egg tempera painting in a Roman context. I mix the egg straight into the paint paste on my tile with a glass mullar. This tempera then is scrapped into pottery bowl. for use during the demonstration time.