Talk:Egg tempera

From Academic Kids

The big indigestible 'howto' chunk of this page SHOULD REALLY BE MOVED ELSEWHERE, In my opinion. --dcf 12:50, 2004 Jun 21 (UTC)

An egg yolk has a membrane which contains the liquid yolk. You don't want to use the membrane to make paint. It's like using the skin off the exposed surface of house paint which has been setting open too long.

In preparing egg tempera, isolate the yolk and dry the membrane slightly by rolling it on a paper towel. Pick up the yolk GENTLY by the membrane, dangle it over a receptacle and puncture the membrane with [for instance] a toothpick to drain off the liquid inside. You will want to use distilled water. Chemical additives in the water can make the paint change color over time.

Your initial mixture of powdered pigment, yolk and distilled water will dry out and cease to flow well after you've been working awhile. This will happen whether or not you keep the mix covered--yolk just gets thick upon standing. You will have to keep adding water as you work, because the pigment-yolk paste dries out, and the paint won't flow. The result is a gluey, plaster-like buildup on your work, and it's very ugly. Too much yolk in the mixture makes the paint look greasy and clumpy; too much water makes it run. You can't hurt it by adding more of everything one substance at a time until you get what you want. Most pigment powders settle out; you have to keep stirring your paint. Keep coffee stirrers on hand for that, or a palette knife.

I use a child's tea-party set for holding the yolks and the water. I also fill 2 large syringes, one with yolk and one with distilled water, as this makes it easy to control the amount of each you add to the pigment and has the added advantage of keeping the yolk from thickening with exposure to air.

JEB Malcolm

                         DO REMEMBER THIS:



     Even if the powdered pigment your're using  isn't toxic, it is 
     finely ground and gritty, and it will damage your lungs if 
     if you breathe too much of it.  Don't allow anyone into your studio 
     when you're working with it, and wipe all your surfaces down
     with a damp rag when you're through.  

Vermillion--the real stuff--is made from cinnabar, which is mercury ore, and cadmium red, orange and yellow contain--well--cadmium, which is poisonous. You have to be careful. Research the pigments you use. Artificial pigments, such as the quinocronones, work very well and won't kill you or give you cancer. You don't have to use the same pigments Michaelangelo did. He used them because he didn't have a choice. If you just have to use a toxic pigment to be happy, for your family's sake, be smart and buy a respirator.


You may be able to do painting with the described ingredients, but its's not even close to the classical tempera recipe which uses an emulsion of oil and water, emulgated by whole egg, not yolk alone, with the possible additions of mastic or dammar. --Pjacobi 23:08, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Why not fix the article then? Disputed tags tend only to be used when there is an actual arguement on the talk page. Perhaps you could add a section on classical tempera recipe - who used it, how do we know etc. Theresa Knott (The snott rake) 23:25, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
One should be aware that there are many variations on how to "temper" pigments to make paint. Egg yolk tempera is one of the simplest formulas. There are also whole-egg temperas, egg white (glair), egg-and-oil emulsions, egg and varnish (such as dammar or mastic), distemper (hide glue), and so on. Despite the disputation above, the classic egg tempera mixture is, indeed, chicken egg yolk mixed with pigment and water. Refer to and links within that site for clear directions on painting in egg tempera. --Dharper 12:32, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

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