Saturday, February 23, 2008

Koi Downstream


I painted this Koi today with a media that I haven't mastered, I painted it on clayboard with egg tempra, its a bit tricky but I can see the possibilities.

The two things I noticed that are diffent is the drying time and the consistancey.

This painting was painted in a class situation with instructor, Ashley Lathe. He’s an artist in residence at the Mc Coll center of the Arts in Charlotte NC.

I enjoyed his class and found him to be an informative and easy going instructor. He demonstrated the mixing of the paint with the egg yoke and then proceeded to paint a small painting, explaining the various strengths and challenges of the media.

Before starting, you should used soap and a bit of water on your brushes to coat the brush hairs. Apparently if the egg dries on the brush its almost impossible to get out. So you might want to have your brushes ready to go before you mix up the paint. Also consider using cheap synthetic brushes till you become used to the process. No one likes to ruin a good brush.

We didn’t use dry pigment but took a little shortcut and used watercolor pigment. This was good news for me since I have a fishing tackle box full of watercolor paint. First we separated an egg and kept only the egg yoke. Then we pierced the egg yoke and only used the inside of the yoke throwing away the membrane. We added 2 tablespoons of distilled water to each large egg yoke and mixed it thoroughly. Using an eye dropper, the yoke mixture is then placed on a glass pallet with equal parts watercolor pigment. Then mixing with a spatula to insure the yoke and the paint are completely mixed, your ready to go. Of course, you only make the amount of paint to cover an area you can paint before the pigment becomes too sticky. This is where experience helps.

If you need to make a color from more than one pigment say yellow and blue to make green, do this before adding the yoke.

Ashley explained to us when painting with the egg tempera paint you should always pull paint from a pool of paint and not from outer dryer area of the paint. This will give you more time before the paint dries on your piece. I also chose to wet my clayboard to give me a wet into wet look for the first two layers of paint. This also gave me a little extra time to get a feel for the consistency and the drying time of the paint.

This painting is a bit darker than I usually paint only because the egg tempra does not dry back like watercolor. It holds its luminosity and is very translucent.

This type of painting seems to work well for glazing because like watercolor you can put a second color over the first to create a third color. There is a stain glass look to the finished product because when dry, the paint continues to have a surface sheen. Texture was easy to achieve and you can almost use anything including a palette knife or a scratch tool These paintings do not have to be framed under glass and should last many lifetimes if properly handled.

All in all this was a good experience and I’m sure you’ll see egg tempra paintings in the weeks to come.

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