February 2, 2015

Four New Drawings

#45, egg tempera on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.

With this new group of drawings, I've returned to some stronger color relationships; my last group attempted much more subtle ones. For the background of #45 I used viridian green with a bit of titanium white added, in several layers. I use a glue size medium to tone the paper, a solution of food-grade gelatin and water, to which I add pigment, usually powdered.

#46, egg tempera on hand-toned paper , 15 x 15 in.

I've always found yellow a difficult color to work with because it is so strident, so when I toned the paper I used some ochre to deepen the hue and lessen its harshness. I think that the transparent hues of green and orange aren't bad with the yellow.

#47, egg tempera on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.

I have used the motif of overlapping hexagons before, but this time I added lines to delineate the diamond shapes that occur....

#47 detail

....and I added additional layers of transparent color to separate the shapes. I used a thin layer of white on the upper right green and lower left blue diamonds; I darkened the other outside diamonds with a thin layer of blue. It was a very simple way to create more complexity.

#48, egg tempera on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.

This final piece is more subtle, with a pale blue and very transparent sienna layered background. I tried to pick up the colors of the toned paper in the rectangular shape at the center. I glazed a layer of a darker sienna on the top half of the rectangle; underneath is the painted blue rectangle and the blue of the toned paper. I love the way egg tempera makes it so easy to achieve luscious and varied color effects.


  1. Luscious is right! I am drooling over the colors in the maroon piece.

  2. very beautiful, and thanks for the detail too. I went to your "labels" so I could see the earlier and subtle drawings you've recently posted -- the difference is very striking! I like both these voices; they are like different musical instruments in the same family, for example cello, viola, violin. The colors you post today make me wish I'd been painting instead of cleaning up my office and computer files (because I am avoiding even more unpleasant chores, hah).

    1. Thanks, Ravenna; it's so nice that you see the different voices in the different colors.
      I have a link to the previous drawings; the blue text indicates it: "my last group". Maybe it's not a strong enough color, but if I changed it all the links on the right side of the page would be screaming.
      I just puttered today; it was too dark to paint with the snow piling up on the skylight and the gray skies.

  3. Beautiful colors over compass-codifications.

  4. The subtle one, #48, spoke to me: more fluid with interpretation, less fixed.

  5. Thanks for the nice comments, JBS and Julie.

  6. #45 is in motion. Opening. Closing. In transit.