Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Mary in Kimberly" egg tempera panel update


In this session I worked on some subtle layering on the hair on top of her head, softening and shaping the eyebrows, and on giving the forehead more dimension.

A few more tips about working with egg tempera. If you try the suggestion in my video demo below about substituting gouache or watercolor, of the two, gouache is your best substitute option of the two, but I mentioned both if you don't have gouache on hand.

Choose a rigid support. The ideal surface for egg tempera is a rabbit-skin glue gessoed panel. (Acrylic gesso will not absorb as well or adhere the paint as well). Other surfaces I have used are Strathmore or Crescent rag illustration board (without gesso), something with a smooth tooth. I recommend this for beginners to try, but choose four-ply, not bristol, and avoid getting the board too wet to avoid warpage.

Apply the paint very thinly, and in layers. A common mistake most beginning egg tempera painters make is to apply the paint too thickly in one individual layer. Build your paint gradually and remember that the principle is translucency. You are building layers to create an illusion of a color, for example a layer of green, with a layer of vermillion on top would make a warm shadow on a face.

For any other questions that may arise I recommend this great online forum about egg tempera: Egg Tempera Forum





7 comments:

Karen Bruson said...

Mona, This portrait is absolutely beautiful. I love the blue highlights in her hair on the top of her head. Just lovely.

Kathleen Coy said...

Yes, her hair is so lovely. It looks very real and luminous. I find human hair the hardest thing for me to draw or paint.

artbyakiko said...

I also love the highlights on her hair.
Thank you, Mona, for more tips on egg tempera.

Vern Schwarz said...

Love the richness of this Mona. I can sense the softness and volume of her hair. This egg tempera info is very interesting. Thanks for taking the time.

Gary Keimig said...

wonderful application of the medium. You are really getting the feel of this medium. Great painting

Mona said...

Thanks everyone, and Akiko and Vern you are welcome. Still lots to do with this portrait, but it's getting there and I hope to post more frequent updates on it going forward.

DEB said...

Gorgeous! Just gorgeous! Hanging out with you Mona, I get inspired to try more things. I have no time for more things! :( I bookmarked the egg tempera forum though...someday.