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Go Back   WetCanvas > Explore Media > Casein, Gouache, and Egg Tempera
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:55 AM
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Harry Seymour Harry Seymour is offline
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Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

“Ready to Go” was done in 2007 using solely a palette knife. I was once told such a work would be like painting with melted butter and would not hold up because egg tempera cannot be applied thickly and each successive layer must be applied over dried strokes. This work was done using a dispersion pigment (liquid from Guerra Paints) mixed with egg yoke, but keeping the consistency thicker than I would typically do when painting with brushes.

Now after 4 years the painting is completely dry, no flaking and looks the same as when originally done. I share this with you in the spirit of Robert Vickery’s claims that egg tempera can be a far more versatile medium than tradition dictates.


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Old 10-31-2011, 08:31 PM
Mayberry Mayberry is offline
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Nice gestural quality! And I like the rich colors. Do you think it's a matter of getting the right amount of yolk that kept it from cracking or flaking? (I'm guessing plenty of good, waxy yolk is better than not enough.) I'm working on one with prussian blue for the first time, and I didn't get enough yolk in the blue at first. The blue areas turned matte and started flaking off. So I added quite a bit more yolk, and it seems better.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:23 AM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

FWIW, Andrew Wyeth stated that he did the painting "Raccoon" primarily with a palette knife and used that tool on several other paintings.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:50 AM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Cathy-yes getting the right combination of yolk and paint is critically important. I suspect more yolk than less is best, but too much would produce a strong shine.
Jeff-thanks for the info on Wyeth. I'd love to see some of those works. I thought I'd seen most of his famous works but obviously there is much more to his rich array.
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:39 PM
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Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Darned impressive!

I have definitely been in the don't-paint-thickly camp, but it looks like you've done a great job with a palette knife.

I wonder if it's a bit like painting alla prima in oils (where the normal fat-over-lean rules don't apply because you paint all at once and all the paint is wet simultaneously)? But that's just conjecture.

Dispersion pigments often have a bit of surfactant added which may affect the handling properties.

I will say, not enough egg medium leads to dull matte films and/or paint rubbing off.

Prussian blue rubbing off may also indicate not thorough enough mulling -- Prussian blue, as well as other very strong, dye-based pigments need a really, really smooth mulling, or microscopic pockets of pigment will come off the surface when touched.

However, too much egg medium leads to cracking. I've seen it happen.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:56 PM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Alessandra,

You clearly know of what you speak. Thanks for the info and I will certainly peruse your blogs and website.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:28 PM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Nice experiment! What are you painting on for this painting?
After seeing Danby's early showing in the Moos Gallery in Toronto, I moved to the west coast and on a visit back to Guelph where he lived (outside town) I asked if I could visit to discuss the egg tempera technique and his boards (gessoed masonite I think). He let me and my wife visit the mill and we talked for an hour and he advised me to try acrylics instead but my first one was done in the same style with the detailed inked in underpainting.This was in the mid-70's.
That was certainly a challenge to do the boat scene with a palette knife.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:17 AM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Jon-thanks for looking at my work. This piece was done an Ampersand white claybord.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:01 AM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Nice scrambling of colors. This painting is well done!
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:19 PM
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Re: Egg tempera with a palette knife-revisited

Thanks for your comment.
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