A customer has written a question and I thought I would share the answer with everyone, in case it might be of help to you
Hi, I’m a bit confused. When I tried painting with the Sennelier Egg Tempera as it comes out of the tube, I found that it would lift and mix when I attempted to put second and third glazing layers. I am using an acrylic gesso ground.
I thought perhaps I was missing something and supposed to treat the tube contents as a pigment paste, so I mix it with an equal amount of egg yolk as one would do with one’s own ground pigment paste. The result seems to be much better. I can glaze different colours over each other without getting mix through – even when thinned with water. The result, on acrylic gesso ground, is however, what feels like a waxy surface. It can be scratched off, even after 10 days drying, though you do have to work at it.
So my question is: Am I supposed to be using it straight from the tube as opaque layers, or mixing it with egg yolk as described above. If with yolk, does it remain in this waxy state, or will it dry out further?
Would be grateful for some pointers.
None of the artists here in the office use egg tempera. But I did a bit of on-line research to check things out for you. This was a superb source of info: www.eggtempera.com
It sounds to me like the surface is not absorbent enough. If it is scratching off and each layer is lifting off then I think you will need to use genuine gesso on a wood panel. The acrylic gesso boards seem very absorbent to me when I paint on them in oils, the oil just sucks right in and it goes matte. But the egg tempera must need it to be even more absorbent.
Genuine gesso is made from chalk and hide glue. We sell whiting and rabbit skin glue for making gesso.
Egg tempera is a labour of love using perishable paint and I guess that even includes the surface primer.
This is an earlier post about gesso.
The ready-made egg tempera is considered very good by the serious artists I was reading about. And some do mix it with egg.
It contains a small amount of linseed oil to make it keep better.
This artist, Julie Green, says the Sennelier can be applied a bit thicker than home-made: http://www.greenjulie.com/resources/2011/11tempera.PDF Her site is nice to look around.
I hope this helps