Tempera Techniques

August 27 - 31, 2020

Fee: $875

Level: all levels

Purpose of this course:


1) To gain an understanding and appreciation of the unique characteristics of egg tempera painting

            2) To explain the technique and practice of egg tempera painting

            3) To be exposed to a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques.

            4) To prepare and paint a work in egg tempera.


 Introduction into tempera painting


            1) Explain the different types of tempera

                        A. Egg tempera

                        B. Glue tempera (distemper)

                        C. Various other water soluble media associated with tempera.

            2) Nature and Characteristics of tempera painting.

                        A. Thinly applied, no impasto

                        B. Colors higher key, no rich blacks

                        C. Quick drying, must understand and exploit limitations


The Practice of Tempera Painting


1) Grounds

                        A. Gesso on various rigid supports

                        B. Paper and illustration board

                        C. Canvas

            2) Preparing gesso, handout with recipe, addresses and product names.

            3) Demo of applying gesso and smoothing board.


 Discuss pigments


            1) Best pigments to use in tempera, which to avoid.

            2) Demonstrate how to grind with water and store in jars until needed.

            3) Discuss palette and brushes.

            4) Demonstrate separation of yolk from white.

            5) Tempering of colors and different ways to set up a palette

            6) Everyone uses the same panel to practice different paint application techniques.

                        A. Solid fill-in technique.

                        B. Cross-hatching

                        C. Glazing

                        D.Forms of correction and manipulation of dried paint

                        E. Techniques for various textural effects.


Discussion of traditional and more contemporary approaches to the medium.


            1) Painting experiments using the three most common forms of building up tempera. (handout   with    explanation).

            2) Lay in a gradated sky using two techniques.

            3) Experiment with different textures in the foreground, sponges, scraping, splattering.

            4) Continue working the surface using glazing and over painting and under painting techniques.


Optional: Select a detail of a traditional tempera painting: Historical or contemporary


            1) Transfer a tracing of the detail to a panel.

            2) Underpaint in green and begin to build up colors.

            3) The important element of this exercise is to see how a master of the medium worked in tempera, then to see how the student can integrate their own vision.

See Materials list here


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Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio

813 Edgecliff Drive

Langley, WA  98260





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