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1960 General Rules for egg tempera technique by Noel Rockmore

General Rules for egg tempera technique (Created by Noel Rockmore in 1960)

1.                  powdered colors are ground into a paste with addition of water & put in jars.  Fill bottle with water on top of paste at bottom.

2.                  take fresh egg – crack & separate yolk – put yolk in cup & add tablespoon of water & stir together – this is your medium – pour into bottle & cap it.

3.                  tempering color:  take out a little color paste & place on slab or cup & add an equal bulk of medium – stir mixture with a brush – make test stroke – if test strokes are dull & chalky – add more egg – if strokes dry very slowly & are very shiny – add more color paste - |Rule|:  there should be enough tempering of color to make it a bit shiny when first painted out & dry - || tempered color is stirred with brush each time brush is loaded.

4.                  when painting – tempered color should be thinned out with water – keep paint fluid & thin. || wipe off excess paint from brush for matching –

5.                  any color in tempera laid thinly over any lighter color will act as a glaze or transparency(a)

6.                  Opacity (b) is achieved when any color is repeated over itself –

7.                  Opalescence (c) is achieved by laying any color over a darker color.

8.                  X   block in & build up your general comp. in neutral tone or monochrome (dark) “drawing” with brush -

9.                  lay in general mass tones over drawing – still mostly intermediate in tone – indicate modeling in wash strokes of monochrome drawing – paint over this preliminary modeling with tones a bit lighter than modeled mono. areas in drawing which will pull form together & create opalescent tones –

10.             Reserve matchings of strongest lights & darks to complete forms.

11.             in rendering a solid form for example. –

a)     with brush & monochrome dark paint (or ink) stroke in outlines of general folds & fill in watching of form shadows.

b)     Mix 3 color tones – 1 almost pure color & touch of white – next more white & last quite light with a lot of white

c)      Lay in darkest tone over shadow matching areas –

d)     Lay in middle tone over most of object & then lightest over lapping each tone at junction areas – general half tones are in now, but at this stage the lights are not light or brilliant enough & darks not dark enough –

e)     Model in cross match or small stroke very delicately darkest & lightest finishing touches –

In modeling a head or any other object area lay in areas of painting in tones of middle value & model them later with your stroking, real form building lightest & darkest strokes –

Also instead of or along with monochrome preliminary basic matching you can lay in shadow deep – form areas first with a dark paint, cover this over with a lighter tone & either restore general transparency by laying a darker general tone over light tone which has previously created Opalescence by being layed over dark prelim laying.

Additional notes:

Always keep water addition to yolk around same volume of yolk or at most a little more volume of water than volume of yolk –

General rule for tempering:

(approx.) equal amounts of color paste & medium:

make mixture rather thick & then dilute to use.

Lean! Dry! Brush for delicate matching.

Thin paint for delicate matching.

Middle tones first –

Lightest & darkest last.

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