View Full Version : I've Painted 5 layers and its still transparent

04-27-2013, 09:16 AM
Hi all

I have just started painting with egg tempera. I'm using pigments and egg yolk one to one with a bit of water. My problem is that after 5 layers of glazing or blocking in my canvas primer underpainting is still showing through. Its taking ages!. I'm wondering how many more layers will i have to do before the canvas disappears and all i'm left with are the layers of paint. Its still very transluscent when held up to the light.

04-27-2013, 09:24 AM
Hi Sabana,

I've asked Doug, our Administrator, to transfer your thread to the Casein, Gouache, and Egg Tempera Forum. I think they will be able to answer your question better than we here in Watercolor can. :D


04-27-2013, 10:09 AM
Are you using transparent or opaque pigments? That might effect coverage.

04-27-2013, 12:36 PM
My colours are as follows

Cobalt blue
Yellow Ocher
Burnt sienna
Cadmium red light
Zinc black
Ivory Black

I have no experience of egg tempera. And it may be a real rookie question. As i have heard of people using dozens of glazes. But at this rate It will take me more than 3 months to complete (16 x 24).

04-27-2013, 03:00 PM
Hi Sabana,

I'm pretty new to egg tempera myself, but I've done a few. A couple questions - what are you painting on? A canvas? with an underpainting of what kind of primer? I'm asking, because it's generally recommended to paint on a board (wood or hardboard) with a primer of traditional gesso (animal glue with whiting), or something like Ampersand Claybord.

There can be underdrawings or underpaintings on top of the absorbant primer using thin ink. But there shouldn't be a non-absorbant acrylic primer under the egg tempera. Just want to make sure that what you're putting the egg tempera on is absorbant and rigid.

Anyway, about the transparency, it can take quite a few layers. I paint on Claybord, which is really absorbant, and it takes several layers before the paint stops soaking all the way in and starts to look nice and starts building up richness in color. So far I paint small, because at least for me, it does take a long time to build the layers up to look the way I want them. Naturally, it builds up faster the less water you use, but it doesn't sound like you're using too much water. I mix my yolk right from the start with an equal amount of water. You definitely don't want to err on the side of too little water. You would get faster coverage, but if the paint is too thick and will then crack or flake off.

I hope this is of some help. Good luck!

04-27-2013, 03:14 PM
Hi Cathy.

Thankyou so much for your reply. I can see now that i am expecting far too much too early and that a picture this size will take a lot of work. Your paintings of flowere are lovely by the way and so detailed.