This is a 4"x 6" drawing of "Turbulence" done with graphite on bristol board. All of my work starts with this kind of approach. I have completed a small color study of this piece and I am curious about the possibility of doing this as a larger 8" x 12" egg tempera painting. I have done an enlarged xeroxed copy of the image at 8" x 12" which I will use to prepare a tracing on to a museum board.
The tracing for the painting is prepared using a sepia pigment combined with turpentine and painted over the back of the xerox with a rather light coat. Next, a very hard, sharp lead is used to trace the image onto the museum board. It is a rather tedious process; however, it is a real time saver when compared to doing the entire drawing at this larger size from scratch. Since the tracing at 8" x 12" is pretty loose compared to the original at 4" x 6," it is modified and refined with graphite until it is pulled together and ready to be painted over with black India ink. With thirty hours put in it is about finished. This inked drawing will provide the foundation for layer upon layer of egg tempera paint. I will post my progress as the painting is developed.
The agony and the ecstasy of working in egg tempera
The first layer of egg tempera is Indian Yellow which turns the inked drawing to a green. The second layer is Vermillion which turns the green to a greyed orange. There are multiple layers of paint left to go to buid up the base of this piece. This layering gives egg tempera its characteristic luminosity. It doesn't look that great at this point and it is always a challenge to keep the faith during the journey to a finished painting. Stay tuned!
After the Vermillion layer is completed, another layer of Indian Yellow is added to intensify the underpainting. Zinc white is translucent and is hatched and cross hatched over the grayed orange base to restate the highlights and to unify the values. Titanium white is more opaque and is used to develop the the lightest values. The next step will be to add a red shade of Winsor Blue which hopefully will play off its red orange compliment.
The first layer of blue is starting to develop the final color. The greens, reds, oranges and blue are playing off each other in this layer. Still a long way to go; however, it is starting to get encouraging.