I am frequently asked the question "what is tempera?". Even most of the artists I know think it refers to what is called poster colors.
Tempera is an artist's medium dating back to the panes and illuminated manuscripts of the Byzantine world and the Middle Ages in Europe. This paint is made by binding pigment in an egg medium, along with other materials such as honey, water, milk and plant gums. It was the most widely used technique until about 1500, after which it was gradually replaced by oil paint.
Italy, Greece, and Russia were the major centers of tempera painting, and even in the present day, it is used to render the Orthodox Icons.The tempera technique was briefly revived in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Western art, among the Pre-Raphaelites and Social Realists.
Tempera paint dries rapidly. The techniques of tempera painting can be more precise when used with traditional techniques that require the application of numerous small brush strokes applied in a cross-hatching technique. The colors, which are painted over each other, resemble a pastel when unvarnished, deepening when varnished.
Tempera is normally applied in thin, semi-opaque or transparent layers. When dry, it produces a smooth matte finish. As it cannot be applied in thick layers, tempera paintings rarely achieve the deep color saturation of oil paintings. However, tempera colors do not change over time, and do not darken, yellow, and become transparent with age as oil paints do.
True tempera paintings are quite permanent, and examples from the first centuries AD still exist, such as the Severan Tondo and some of the Fayum mummy portraits.
Tempera is a an easily manufactured, non-toxic, eco-friendly medium. See how you can make some of your own.
Fall and Winter bring before us the most colorful and exciting changes in scenery, inviting us to capture the beauty on paper. Spend a few lunch hours in the park with your colored pencils, tortillon, and colored drawing paper. The result can be as stunning as the one you see above.
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that
are bound with a medium of drying oil -- especially
linseed oil, poppyseed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. These oils confer
various properties to the oil paint, such as less yellowing or different drying
times. Certain differences are visible in the sheen of the paints depending on
the oil. Painters often use different oils in the same painting depending on
specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a
particular feel depending on the medium.
Paintings in this medium are very popular amongst artists
and collectors because of their ageless character. They lend themselves to a
plethora of subjects, and well executed paintings remain vibrant and attractive
for several centuries. The two paintings here were painted by Rembrandt and Caravaggio almost 400 years ago!
Traditionally, artists begin by sketching the subject onto
the canvas. The oil paint is mixed with turpentine or artist grade mineral
spirits or other solvents to create a thinner, faster drying paint. Then the
subject is built up in layers. A basic rule of oil paint application is 'fat
over lean.' This means that each additional layer of paint should be a bit
oilier than the layer below, to allow proper drying. As a painting gets
additional layers, the paint must get oilier or the final painting will crack
and peel.Oil paint remains wet longer than many other types of
artists' materials, enabling the artist to change the color, texture or form of
the figure. At times, the painter might even remove an entire layer of paint
and begin anew. This can be done with a rag and some turpentine for a certain
time while the paint is wet, but after a while, the hardened layer must be
scraped. Oil paint dries by oxidation, not evaporation, and is usually dry to
the touch in a day to two weeks. It is generally dry enough to be varnished in
six months to a year. Art conservators do not consider an oil painting
completely dry until it is 60 to 80 years old.
A still-newer type of paint, heat-set oils, remains liquid
until heated. Although not technically not true oils, the paintings resemble
oil paintings and are usually shown as oil paintings.
The easiest way to start painting with oils may be with
Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oils. These water-soluble oils are
easy to clean up and have no hazardous fumes.
Time to stretch a canvas, grab a brush, and start!
Gouache is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water. The particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and the presence of an inert white pigment such as chalk differentiates gouche from water color. This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.
The term “gouache” originates in the Italian “guazzo”, which means "water paint, splash", and referred to the early 16th century practice of applying oil paint over a tempera base. The term was extended to the watermedia in the 18th century in France, although the technique is considerably older. It was used as early as the 12th century in Islamic art and as early as the 14th century in Europe.
Gouache dries slightly lighter than it appears when wet, which can make it difficult to match colors over multiple painting sessions. This, combined with its quick coverage and total hiding power, mean that gouache lends itself to more immediate techniques than watercolour. "En plein air" paintings take advantage of this characteristic.
Many famous artists have painted a small number of gouaches, but it is used more for graphic works such as posters and other design work, where it is desirable for its speed and durability.
The gouaches découpées created by Matisse are a good example of the technique., notably his Blue Nudes series.
Water color painting is the technique of using pigments suspended or dissolved in water to create images upon paper, papyrus, bark papers, plastics, leather, fabric, or canvas.
Buon Fresco painting, as used in the Sistine Chapel, was an example of early water color painting in Europe.
Watercolor paint is usually applied with brushes. The paint is diluted with water before use to allow for lighter areas within the painting. This transparency provides watercolor its characteristics of brightness, freshness, and clarity of color since light has passed through the film of paint and is reflected back to the viewer through the film.
Traditionally, dating from at least the last century, the white of the paper is the only white used in transparent watercolor. Opaque paint is seldom used for whites.
Watercolor techniques are quite demanding, and maintaining a high quality of value differences and color clarity are typically the most difficult properties to achieve and maintain.
Watercolor afficionados prize it as a studio medium for its lack of odor and ease of cleanup, and also its portability and quick drying.