Egg Tempera

E. E. Kono practices old master techniques in the traditional mediums of silver-point drawing and egg tempera painting.

 

Tempera paintings are treasured for their unique luster, jewel-like colors, and linear qualities. Each color used in the paintings is created on the palette by combining natural powdered pigments and organic egg yolk binder. The paint is applied to traditional gesso panels in a process that requires hundreds of semi-transparent brushstrokes layered one on top of another. The nature of the technique means that most egg tempera artists work in relatively small scale. It can take several weeks to complete each piece. 

Egg tempera has been used throughout history and across cultures to create art that portrays the sacred. The meditative process of its application and purity of color gives the medium a spiritual quality that was prized until the high renaissance when Europe changed its focus to the corporal; a subject best rendered in oil. In the modern era the ethereal aspects of egg tempera fell from favor, and the medium all but disappeared in western art.

 

Egg tempera has been slowly reemerging in North America with painters such as Benton, Tooker, French, Arnold, and contemporary artists, Safranak, Bergt, Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman and Kono’s teacher, Koo Schadler

(tempering paint)

(transparent layers)