View Full Version : Egg Tempera & higher quality canvas

09-06-2001, 03:03 AM
Has anyone used old holland egg tempera or sennelier.

Also, I want to try different canvas/ higher quality canvas. Can anyone tell me if they have experience with fine linen or better quality than Fredericks?


09-06-2001, 09:15 AM
Hi Pilan;

Although I'm using egg tempera now, both on its own and as an underpainting on panel for oil, I haven't used the tubed brands you've mentioned. There has been some discussion on them over on the forum of the Egg Tempera Society, so you might find more info over there. Here's a thread that discusses them in particular, but the messages are rather old:


09-06-2001, 10:39 AM
Jeff thanks for the link. Have you used different grades of canvas than the medium weight of Fredericks brand?

I am looking to try new grades and brands.


09-06-2001, 12:59 PM
Sorry, I have nothing to offer regarding canvases and their properties. There have been several threads on this topic though, so I'd suggest a forum search.

09-06-2001, 10:45 PM
are you planning on using the egg tempera on the canvas? because i think it's too brittle.

09-07-2001, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by sarkana
are you planning on using the egg tempera on the canvas? because i think it's too brittle.

Yes i am. I have read where some of the old masters used tempera on canvas.


09-07-2001, 01:08 PM
You can indeed paint in Egg Tempera on fabric, but it is a little tricky, and I've only seen it done on linen... not on cotton canvas. The ground is prepared differently for linen than for panel... I have a paper on the process from the original Society of Mural Decorators and Painters in Tempera... but I am in the process of moving and it may take me a couple of days to dig it out. I will post it when I find it.

Like Jeff, I have never used the tubed brands of Egg Tempera, and I don't really know how their properties compare to traditional Egg Tempera. I believe that Egg Tempera paint in tubes is actually an egg/oil emulsion paint as opposed to a true egg yolk tempera. As such, a half oil ground might be more appropriate than a traditional chalk gesso. The half oil ground would be more flexible than the traditional ground, so it might be a better approach anyway. If you have Doerner's book you should have a recipe for half oil grounds... and I believe he does talk about using them on canvas.

I will look up that paper sometime this weekend, and try to post at least a summary in the next couple of days.

craig irvin
02-24-2005, 11:56 AM
I have used sennilier egg tempera, and Daler Rowney. They seem ok to me. Also in regards to canvas, I have been using the new Fredericks Watercolor canvas. It is very absorbant. The problem with it is it "lifts" very easily, so you have to be careful to use a soft brush and not to scrub when you apply paint. The egg tempera glows when finished, and is very beautiful. I am frustrated however, by the lifting and am going to try some straight traditional (not acrylic) primed gesso panels instead.

02-24-2005, 02:51 PM
Hi Craig:
For some time I painted with egg tempera, but everything I read on the subject always stipulated a firm support (panel) because the egg becomes brittle which is why it was never used in manuscripts. Have you posted a query in the egg tempera forum?


craig irvin
02-24-2005, 05:43 PM
I think the main reason they always say panel, is because if you gesso with the rabbit skin glue etc. it is a rigid gesso, because you can't use acrylic gesso, and it might crack on canvas. However with watercolor canvas (some sort of special prime) , there is plenty of absorbancy, but I don't know about the bond. It is ok, but as I said, you must be careful not to brush too hard or the lower layer will pull up. I have painted on it with tempera and rolled it up tight, and it does not seem to damage the tempera. I am surprised that I have heard of no other egg tempera painters trying it.

02-24-2005, 06:37 PM
Silly me! I thought wetcanvas had an egg tempera forum.
However, check out eggtempera.com and its forum: