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FRED WESSEL (click here to go to his web site)

Egg Tempera Painting

August 15 - 19


Skill level: all levels

Workshop is full; email to be put on the waitlist

This workshop will teach the technique of egg tempera painting as it was practiced in 14th and 15th Century Italy  and was documented by Cennino Cennini in his book, Il Libro dell'Arte.  Since we will  have participants who have never painted a stroke in the tempera medium as well as some who are masters of this medium, I will attempt to teach the course simultaneously at many different levels.



Tempera painting is a medium for those who love drawing. This painting technique is fussy and requires great discipline but pays great dividends to those who learn to master it.    The paint is most often applied in cross-hatch strokes and is more like drawing than it is like painting.  It combines the best of both watercolor (application of translucent layers of color) and gouache techniques (using semi opaques to re-establish  the light areas).  The brilliant and jewel-like surface is often described as luminescent.


The paints are made by mixing powdered pigments (ground to a paste with water or directly) with the yolk of an egg.  I will supply the pigments.  This color mixture is applied over a detailed under-drawing or grisaille painting thus allowing the artist to separate the painting process into distinct tasks.  The artist first composes, draws and establishes the values of the painting in black and white….in a grisaille style image.   The painter can now give his or her full attention to issues of color.   Beginning Tempera Painters may wish to work from a detail of an Old Master painter’s work.


The course will cover the following:


•         Wash Under-Drawing with india ink

•         Correct Tempering of  pigment mixtures

•         The Traditional Method of modeling for development of form      

•         Methods of Glazing down to darks and modeling back up to lights

•          Developing an even tonal  transition


 Also, for those wishing to learn the Early Renaissance technique for painting flesh tones:


•                 Painting all flesh tones in a cool green ( terra verde)

•                 Re-establishing shadow areas in warm green (verdaccio)

•                 Fortifying warm flesh tone areas

•                 Glazing warms to establish complete warm/cool skin tones 




If you are one of our experienced tempera painters you can choose your own project and I will work independently with you on it.  You can choose set up a small still life, do a portrait or select a project that you are passionate about. 




materials list

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