When life hands you eggs, …

Make omelettes.  Or egg tempera.

Eggs have played many roles in the history of painting.  Egg white used as a medium, called glair (Scrabble ammo, that), was favored by icon painting.   Robert Gottsegen says that most easel painting prior to the rise of oil paint contains egg yolk.

Both whites and yolks make strong films and can be used apart from, inter-layered with, and mixed with oils.  Andrew Wyeth is perhaps the best known painter in tempera.

I decided to do a patch of foliage first in yolk tempera, then glazed in oil.  Here’s the tempera stage with cremanence white and calcium carbonate.

I’m after a sense of lightweight resilience that weeds so often display.  In terms of imagery that means transparent paint punctuated with opaque places.


In terms of realism, it means making the plants sit proud of the surface of the painting.  I’m hoping the egg will provide a more delicate relief than would a plain grisaille.


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