Painting Techniques

Painting techniques, which I took during my last semester at Cooper, allowed me to explore the egg tempera, oil, and fresco mediums. We began by preparing wooden tablets to apply tempera paint onto. This was a very labor intensive process which involved applying up to eight layers of a rabbit-skin glue and chalk mixture to a plywood tablet covered with a layer of muslin in alternating horizontal and vertical brush strokes. The tablets were sanded for a smooth finish, and the extra muslin torn off to create the ideal surface for painting. I purchased most of my colors as dry pigments, which can be mixed with a variety of binders to form either tempera or oil paint. To make tempera, the pigments are mixed with egg yolks and water.

Egg Tempera 

The still life and angel swaddled in petals were two of the first tempera paintings completed for the course. The Hive Queen, Hive Tree, and Hive Wizard were a series of tempera paintings completed for the final course project. I intend to make more in this series of characters. I want to develop a more complete mythical world for them to be embedded in, perhaps creating a series of short stories or illustrated narrative.


The surface is made by first gluing burlap to the plywood board. Three layers of a limestone and sand mixture were scrapped onto the burlap surface. The most interesting aspect of the fresco process is that the lime will only absorb the pigment for approximately 1 day, so the entire painting had to be completed in a very limited time span. Also, the pigment is simply mixed with water. There is no need for a binder since the limestone chemically absorbs the pigment when it is fresh.