Painting with tempera is very easy and very difficult at the same time. First you create an emulsion which can differ slightly according to its purpose and according to the stage the painting is at. Paint pigments will then be mixed with this emulsion, which serves as a binder.
Egg tempera is made from chicken eggs. The paint needs to be freshly prepared before each painting session as tempera paint only keeps its consistence for a short period of time.
I prefer this technique as my binder is natural and the surface of the picture will appear raw, clean and “real”.
Using tempera paints represents a “world of endless possibilities”. However, this technique has its own rules and laws: for instance, how long a layer of paint may be fresh enough due to thickness or the variety in pigments or surfaces in order to still be able to change it; or how long a layer of paint may need to dry in order to apply another layer.
Egg tempera is applied to the panel in a series of strokes and wipes. I grind pigments – either pure ones or mixtures - for each individual brushstroke. This is very time-consuming and takes a lot of effort, depending on how many different layers of paint I am working on and whether the tempera paint will also be used as a base for oil paints.
Due to the fact that the look of the paints changes during painting and while drying it is crucial to know how the pigments behave. Equally, it is important to know if the pigments “go together” in a particular mixture. This can only really be learned through experience, and it is always exciting to try new combinations.
I am fascinated by the freedom this technique allows, particularly when I think of the enormous variety of different effects that can be achieved: from a watercolour-glaze to “clean”, powder-like, from pastel to oily-paste-like. As multi-faceted as creating the surface of a painting can be, the natural binder always keeps it somehow “genuine” and “real” for me.
Painting with Oil Paints
This equally old technique which can be used on its own or in combination with a tempera paint base presents me with all well-known advantages. I specifically love the scent of these paints.
Painting with Homemade Watercolours
I produce my own watercolours in order to have the correct shades of my favourite pigments available when painting. This also allows me to create slightly cloudier shades of paint which cannot be bought.