I painted Walt Whitman for my wall. This is a close resemblance 🙂 : I used an egg from one of my own chickens1 to make egg tempera and I used pencil also.
I looked at this public domain photo, although I straightened him:
George C. Cox was the photographer and Adam Cuerden retouched that original photo of Whitman.
Since I want to view my painting from a distance, I really had to exaggerate with white globs of marble dust paint.
1. The egg came from Birda (Birda, because she’s a bird. Get it?)
I’m impressed by what egg can do in less than 2 days. Let me show you the first day. I drew it and painted an underpainting – on terrible drawing paper! – the 1st day:
Now on that terrible drawing paper, which gave me awful problems, like weird circular spots that wouldn’t take paint, the second day:
That’s several layers of egg glazes on the face (in 1 day). The background is almost completely casein. I’m probably going to quit working on it. I was in such a hurry, I didn’t even know I had grabbed a piece of cheap wood pulp sketching paper. 9 x 12 in. (22.9 x 30.5 cm)
Update, 29th of June: I can’t believe it! After working and working on it, I have almost the exact same result as the one I originally posted! Here’s the latest, with the earlier below:
I’m working on a real portrait, of a beloved. I can’t quite get the exact perky look. And every time I change it, I get further away from what I want. So, while I almost have the look, I’m posting a photo of the WIP (work in progress). Oh and of course I have to look at a photo, because I’m not good enough without staring at a photo long hours.
I tried coating paper with gesso and glazing with casein. Sure enough, the casein lifted from the gesso. 🙁 So, I switched to egg. Same problem. So the paint is coming completely up while I change every feature.
Oh note – I’ve always hated my ground charcoal (as a true black) in every medium. But in egg, I actually like it.
Well, that’s an opaque I’m using now –
According to Daniel Thompson, of The Practice of Tempera Painting, the fact that I’m using transparent pigments means that I’m just watercoloring with egg. Just kiss my grits, D. Thompson!
Maybe I’ll have something better to present her……in a few….days….
I did an egg face – I’m happy with how the paint goes on:
Reference photo credit & thank you to Creative Commons licensed ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Thomas Leuthard: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasleuthard/5198470559
I used whiting for the beard and mustache and I really regret that you can’t see the raised effect. His stubble is made of raised bumps.
This is a little fast, so no fine detail. Close up, you see swipes and wipes. Fine lines, aka hatching, only for wrinkles and hair.
Oh, and thank you also to my sister’s chicken who laid the egg I used!!
In my previous post, I painted an egg tempera dahlia and then the same dahlia in casein to compare.
I also started it in acrylic, but my mixed up acrylic is a pigment hog and it is too permanent. I switched immediately to casein.
My comparisons of the egg and casein dahlias:
1. I was surprised at how similar the glazes were. (Very surprised that I could glaze with casein, since I usually can’t. The difference: bare paper. ?)
2. The casein colors were more saturated; intense. (Homemade casein.)
3. On paper, the egg layered in washes easily, similarly to the casein application. (With ox hair, soft synthetic and Styletto!)
4. I used marble dust as a white paint in both. It worked great in both and gave texture to the egg.
5. I preferred details with egg. The egg vehicle seems ‘firmer’.
My conclusions are: I love paper! Everything seems better on paper. (Back the good ones with a board and varnish them.)
I’d like to use casein and egg together. No reason to use just one. I’ll see how it plays out.
p.s. This is the traditional painstaking method of painting with egg tempera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4y2NVVCpDU . That is NOT what I’ve been doing. That is why I stayed away from egg tempera for so long. What I’ve been doing is using actual wet paint. The paper has been absorbing the water, I guess, so that I can immediately put more wet paint right over that. With brushes of a nice size. Honest to goodness.
1st of June: It’s migraine awareness month, and guess what? I pulled weeds I know I’m allergic to, and am fighting a migraine. Well, they won’t pull themselves. This is the egg painting I’m working on:
and when I ‘get back’, I want to tell about a book I’m reading and immediately start comparing acrylic glazes to egg glazes.
4th of June: Well, I’m back. I, of course, don’t have more to show on the painting. The book is “The Acrylic Painter’s Book of Styles & Techniques” (Seven successful artists show you how to master the versatility of acrylics). Chapter 3 with Barbara Buer. Here’s her website: http://www.bkbfloralart.com/ Yep, I’m applying her tips to egg.
Anyway, in the book, Barbara Buer explains her technique for using acrylic like watercolor glazes. Work each petal individually, then touch up later to unify – I’m trying that. Have you gone to her website? Jawdropping.
7th of June: I’m finished with the dahlia in egg paint:
I’m very happy with glazing with egg tempera on paper. I put wash over wash.
Next, I’ll do a dahlia in acrylic glazes.
14th of June: I didn’t like the acrylic paint I mixed up (from gloss medium). I almost didn’t get a spill cleaned up from my tile floor; it dried and wasted, etc.
I thought, “Forget this; I’ll finish it with casein.” So:
Actually, I ran out of paint and didn’t bother to mix more, because I was so close to being finished. So, I’m comparing it with the egg tempera dahlia and….the casein dahlia looks sharper and more focused – and brighter. Other than that, they both have a lot of depth; I like both. I glazed in the same way.
Oh yes!!!! Always before, I’ve had a problem glazing with casein. This time I glazed with no problem. The difference must be that I painted on bare naked paper.
Folks, I just got a vote for the egg tempera one.