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Old 03-12-2013, 11:27 AM
ianos dan's Avatar
ianos dan ianos dan is offline
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

You're right Koo ! Probably ,he used egg tempera for ,let's say, 70% of the painting,and then he worked on top with some more oily medium ,for glazing .
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:05 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Here's an experiment l made on a cardboard ,very small one, when l discovered the unfinished paintings by Michelangelo.
I used egg tempera ,for the first time in this method,using just a very small brush and making crosshatching ,l tried to emulate the volume form the reference photo.
It'a only an experiment,the pigments are not the best quality ,but for this purpose ,it's ok.
I used black ,white and some yellow ocher ,to make a green earth color underpainting for the face,an after that l made a pinkish hue to make the lighter parts of the face,blending them into that green underpainting.
The hair it's made from vermillion and a touch of yellow ocher.
Not finished,and scratched,but my purpose was to learn,so forgive me guys for the presentation ,but l believe that somethimes it's helpful to share your mistakes and unfinished pieces,or fails,becasue this is how you can learn,not being selfish and hypocrite to show only the finished pieces .
The reference image l found on Google ,don't know the name ,but anyway,here's the experiment l made for this very interesting thread.
So ,as Koo sais before,you cand make almost invisible the crosshatching ,but it requires a lot's of skill ,and l am almost a beginner in this media

Last edited by ianos dan : 03-13-2013 at 09:06 AM. Reason: mistakes
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:09 PM
Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Hello Ianos,

Smooth blending without hatch marks is achievable but challenging in tempera - for your first effort this is excellent.

In addition to learning how to control your brushwork and mark making, there are other "tricks" to achieve smoothness. Here's one. Because tempera is generally built up in many, many thin layers, it can help to occasionally apply thin, glazes and/or scumbles over parts of or even the entire image - sort of like laying a mist of transparent white, or a cellophane-like veil of color, over everything. If done smoothly and thinly, these unifying layers of paint will help minimize brushstrokes...but they generally take practice to do well.

Regarding the traditional, Italian green underpainting, called a "verdaccio" (which means a messy, dirty green) - the main purpose was to begin to establish the value pattern in a painting, and to create cool halftones in pale flesh. There wasn't one version of verdaccio; the color ranged from a relatively clean green earth, to a very dirty green earth, to a bluish dirty green. It can be made by combining other colors (as you did) or you can buy certain earth tones that approximate it (two of my favorites are Verona Green Earth, and Raw Umber German Greenish Dark, both from Kremer in NYC). The verdaccio in the Manchester Madonna is relatively clean and tends toward blue.

Because you are building up thin, opaque paint on top of your verdaccio underpainting, you are getting a "scumbling" effect. By that I mean the same cooling of the underlying colors that happens, for example, in atmospheric perspective (when thin veils of atmospheric mist turn distant hills blue). Combine that scumbling with the already blue, cool version of the verdaccio you used (if you emulated the Manchester Madonna), and it leaves the halftones in your portrait, Ianos, perhaps a bit too cool and grey - giving your otherwise lovely red-head a slightly unhealthy pallor. I mention this only because its something to be aware of in tempera painting; as you build up the layer after layer, a scumbling effect can unintentionally occur and cause some unwanted coldness to creep in. The key is to either start with a warmer underpainting; or occasionally glaze more warmth as needed (not so much that you lose cool halftones...but just a bit, to control the degree of coolness you are getting).

If you are working with genuine vermillion, please be careful - its made from mercury and a very toxic color. Its modern replacement is often made from cadmium - not as bad as vermillion, but still a pigment that should be handled carefully.

Hope that all makes sense and helps.

Koo
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:31 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Thank you so much Koo !
Glazing in tempera seems to me very difficult to achieve because it dries so quickly ,and it can lift or damage the already painted surfaces (l've done this on a icon ,but it looked messy ),l think l need more experience in that )).
Yes ,the Manchester Madonna has a clean coolish green ,and it seems to me that he covered the drawing on the figures left unfinished,probably he had a preparatory drawing at his side,because from this image ,l can't see incised design ,that he could use ( I saw that in icon paintings) ,so probably had a sketch or a more developed drawing from whitch he worked (or probaly used some tracing paper to use over this verdaccio layer?),because otherwise,you can't draw without a contour (but he was a master ).
l'll read some more of this in your book Koo,at the glazing chapter,an make some more experiments ,to learn this beatiful technique.
I know that Botticelli used warm underpainting (like an yellow ochre) ,and if l look to a close up of a painting made by him ,the underpainting is still visible in halftones ,maybe shadow areas,because his paintings are still very bright
Thank you for your advices and care
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:09 AM
Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Hello Ianos,

I appreciate that you are gracious and enthusiastic with comments. Given the challenges of tempera for newcomers (it is unlike any other medium), your first portrait in tempera is truly excellent

The incising into the gesso that icon painters often do, to affirm the drawing, was not generally done by Renaissance painters - it is too much of a visual "interruption" to the greater realism they sought. I don't know how Michelangelo worked on the Manchester Madonna, but I know for frescos he made drawings and then transferred them via pouncing (holes were punched in the drawing lines; then a pigment pouch pounced on top of the holes, leaving a trail of small dots - i.e. the drawing - on the surface). I would image he did some sort of transfer as well on top of his green underpainting. I work similarly in that I block in large areas of color, than transfer my drawing on top. I use homemade transfer paper, since I can customize the color. I generally use earth pigments.

Smooth glazes and scumbles in tempera are difficult - but very useful. I use them continually while painting. With practice you will learn how to do so smoothly, without lifting, I'm sure. My preferred method is to use a sponge - Pietro Annigoni worked this way as well.

Koo
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:10 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

l read about him ,and he was a master in tempera grassa .he used more oilly medium ,you have wrote about this medium in your book ,and someone described his method of painting ,as a multilayer technique ,but l didn't understood what was the lake he used between the dried layers( kind of varnish?)?
l also use transfer paper ,made by myself, just a piece of paper,same size as the painting or panel,rubbed with some charcoal ,or some pigment, on the back .
I saw preparatory drawings of Michelangelo,but never a carton for his frescoes (to bad he burned almost all of them ).
A sponge? if you want to make a glaze on the face,how do you use the sponge ,it's full of irregularities and gives texture to the painting!I thought that only on a landscape or something that allows you to play with its texture ,you can use it.
Very curious how you use it ,without a mask or something
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:24 PM
Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Hi Dan,

Its Dan, right? I've been calling you Ianos, thinking it a Romanian name, and because it was listed first...but now I think it must be Dan. Please let me know, which is correct?!

Most (all?) Renaissance painters on panels (versus fresco) were painting in many layers, so Michelangelo's layering wasn't unique per se (although he certainly was!). It is how egg tempera paintings were made, and initially how oil painting was done too.

A lake isn't a layer of paint - its a sort of pigment. Certain colors come as dyes (soluble; they dissolve) not pigments (insoluble; can be reduced to an individual particle). You can't paint with dyes because they would forever bleed through your paint layers. However its possible to attach a dye to an inert, uncolored particle and, by doing so, turn a dye into a pigment called a lake. So when you buy, for example, red lake pigment it is actually a red dye precipitated onto a mordant. So its not accurate to think of a lake as a layer of paint.

In egg tempera, there is a technique called "petit lac" (which means little lake, of course) in which you float a small puddle of tempera paint onto a painting, then let it sit and dry. Its often done in icon painting. I'm sure Renaissance painters used petit lacs once in a while, but I don't think it was critical to their working method.

But I don't think you are referring to either "lake" or "lac". I think - and please correct me if I am wrong - you are thinking that the Renaissance artists applied their paint in layers (yes, that is correct - sometimes a few, sometimes many) and occasionally inserted in between paint layers, a layer of varnishes (a resin, oils, something along those lines). The latter is probably not correct. In fact, from what I've read, there doesn't seem to have been many (if any) options for resins or varnishes in the 1400s & 1500s..they hadn't yet been sufficiently refined or developed for panel painting. And rarely is there a good reason to periodically insert layers of anything but paint into a painting. Layers of varnishes could yellow, cause brittleness, and introduce inconsistency into the paint layers. I doubt they did it.

However they did layer transparent pigments over opaque pigments... over and over in a painting, sometimes many times - and this sort of layering, known as glazing, can create luminosity, depth and atmosphere. I know you are an experienced painter, so apologies if this is already known to you.

Sometimes people think that the luminosity in a glaze comes from the medium in which the glaze is suspended - so, wanting more luminosity, they add more medium (be it oil, or a resin, or whatever) to glaze. But luminosity comes from transparent color over opaque color - it is the pigment that is important. The medium is just the vehicle by which you disperse the pigment. Does this make sense?

This isn't to say the medium is irrelevant, because mediums have inherent qualities. For example most transparent pigments will appear a bit deeper and even more transparent in oil versus egg yolk, because oil has a higher refractive index than egg yolk. So the medium has an impact, and is essential in helping to disperse the color thinnly - but in and of itself it doesn't create luminosity.

This is a fun topic and I could prattle, but that is enough. By the way, I do use sea sponges for texture, but for an even application of paint I use a cosmetic sponge - they are smooth. Next time you go shopping for lipstick ask for some - I especially like the wedge-shaped varieties. It takes practice, but its a great way to apply tempera paint.

Koo
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:51 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Dan is my name,yes ! Ianos is my family name (but it's hungarian because of the Austro -Hungarian empire that took a the vestern part of Romania under its rule ,so the name from Ioan was transformed in Ianos),so you can call me Dan
I think l didn't understood corectly the term used in that text ,about Pietro Annigoni ,because probably referred to that izolating sort of varnish ,between the layers , l think that was the meaning of lac.
l've read about "petit lac" in yout book ,and l think it's also a kind of glaze( that requires experience in tempera),but that it's a "secret" that ,in order to respect your work and effort in writing this book ,l want to keep it for me and encourage other people willing to learn this technique,to by your book and read about it
Whe always learn techniques ,especially me ,so ,l know what means a glaze ,but l'm always amazed by it's properties ,and never say that l know to much about this almost mystical technique.
Yeah ,l'll use lipstick only to make a Joker face )))
Thank you Koo for your time in solving some of my great questions about the lost techniques of painting
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