Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An Experiment with Egg Tempera

"If I hadn't taken up painting, I would have raised chickens...it's all art."
Grandma Moses

I agree. Finding the same beauty in a clucking hen that you would in a great painting is one of the joys of life. I've been fortunate to enjoy both painting and raising chickens. My two sweet hens pictured here produce a lot of eggs - A LOT of eggs. All summer long we get about a dozen a week. That's more than enough for a family of three, so besides what we eat and give away, I got the idea to make egg tempera paint, the type of paint used in the days of ye olde knights and damsels. Which led to my next idea - to attempt a medieval-like painting (emphasis on LIKE, since I don't quite know what I'm doing). But I've never let that stop me.

I sent away for some pigments and did some research on how to make the egg tempera emulsion. I found this site to be very helpful: All the Strange Hours
Gosh, I love that name...

The recipe I used was recommended for beginners: pigment, egg yolk, and distilled water.

I found from experience that it is best to use all of what you mix in one day. On day two, it will smell revolting. A week later, you could kill someone with it (or it smells as if you did!).

This is a small section of a painting that I'm currently working on. It's in its very early stages. I took my inspiration from a French stained-glass window from the 12th century.

8 comments:

Zach said...

Fascinating post and work. It is always really neat when you try and go as authentic as possible with different methods. Also, really nice tie-in with the chooks and the egg tempera, I liked the build up with your pictures.

monix said...

Do keep us posted as this develops, it is really enthralling and that is a word I associate with mediaeval stories.

Jodi said...

THanks, Zach and Maureen. I will keep you posted! "Enthralling" is quite encouraging.

Niamh said...

i want to see the picture in real life, it looks translucent in the pic! definitely cool

imchosen4worship said...

Wow. Just ... wow! I'm always amazed at the things you try. I wonder how many different types of paint there are. Way to go!

Terra said...

Your egg tempura experiment is going very well. In a high school art class I did one small egg tempura painting.
I like the quote from Granma Moses. Tasha Tudor did both, paint and raise chickens. Have you seen the photos of Tasha Tudor's wonderful old fashioned farmstead?

Jodi said...

Thank you, Terra. Yes I have seen Tasha Tudor's homestead, at least the photos. I own a lot of her books. In fact, deep down I AM Tasha Tudor (ha ha).

Anonymous said...

I like the way you bring freshness to ideas that reach far back in time. Something very satisfying about having a constant supply of eggs for cooking on hand, and for paint as well! The chickens look proudly dignified. We can't wait to see the painting progress. Thanks for your 'constant supply' of inspiration, Miss Tudor!!

Joan xoxo

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