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sfumato1002
11-26-2006, 07:48 AM
I would like to try Egg Tempera. I was wondering if I could put an imprimatura of burnt siena egg tempera and start the underpainting with burnt umber tempera paint ...and then use oils to build up the painting. Is this okay? Also, Should the oil paint that I put over the tempera be strictly oil or should it be a mix of oil and egg tempera paint. Thanks for the help. One last question, do I have to put a varnish over a tempera layer or kind I just paint over the dry tempera paint. Im really excited about using Tempera but a little scared because I've never used it before and don't know much about it.

turlogh
11-26-2006, 11:05 AM
I would like to try Egg Tempera. I was wondering if I could put an imprimatura of burnt siena egg tempera and start the underpainting with burnt umber tempera paint ...and then use oils to build up the painting. Is this okay?
It's very OK. Many 15th and 16th century paintings were done this way, and they have lasted very well. Egg tempera is an excellent underpainting medium for oil paint.

Note that egg tempera should be applied to a rigid support, since it is likely to crack if painted on stretched canvas. The best ground for egg tempera is a traditional gesso made with rabbitskin glue and marble dust. You can buy prepared gesso panels from www.realgesso.com. You can also make them yourself fairly easily.

Also, Should the oil paint that I put over the tempera be strictly oil or should it be a mix of oil and egg tempera paint.
It can be either. Another 15th century medium was called tempera grassa (Italian for "fatty tempera"). It was an emulsion of egg and oil. A number of well-known paintings, such as Botticelli's "La Primavera" were done in tempera grassa. There are many recipes for paints and mediums made with emulsions of egg and oil.

One last question, do I have to put a varnish over a tempera layer or kind I just paint over the dry tempera paint.
If you want, you can just paint with oil over tempera. Because the tempera is fairly absorbent, some painters don't like the way this feels (a lot of the oil is sucked out of the paint). What I have done is apply a very, very thin layer of oil on top of the egg tempera, then paint into that. A well known tempera painter, Koo Schadler, applies a thin layer of shellac over a tempera painting before glazing over it with oil.

Im really excited about using Tempera but a little scared because I've never used it before and don't know much about it.
With a little practice, egg tempera is very easy to work with. You might want to consider buying Koo Schadler's excellent book on egg tempera. You can order it from her at her web site: www.kooschadler.com. It costs $22.00. Another good, and inexpensive, book on tempera is "The Practice of Tempera Painting" by Daniel V. Thompson. It's published by Dover books and costs less than $10.00.

sfumato1002
11-26-2006, 04:21 PM
turlogh, That was so helpful. Thank you very much! I will get some of that traditional gesso and get started painting ASAP.