February 25, 2016

A New Painting: "Angled Bar"

Angled Bar, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 8 7/8 x 6 1/2 in.

I feel as though I put umpteen layers of paint on this piece, trying to get to a color that worked: I wanted it somewhat dark in value, but at the same time intense in color. Because it's a cool blue-green, it wasn't easy. I often had to go back to a much lighter color, then layer a darker one over it in order to achieve the intensity I wanted. Then there was the triangle of another color at the upper right: it went through many iterations, from a darker hue of the main color, to an almost black, like the shadow at the lower left, to different blues. I settled on a blue that had a green cast to it. The black shape adds another element that balances the deep dark below it. I painted that dark using layers of color––ultramarine blue, phthalo green, quindo red––and because egg tempera is translucent, the layering of colors can result in a near black, a color that is deeper than a straight black would be. This painting is the second in a group of four vertical images that are primarily one color. You can see the first one, Tall Red, here.

Angled Bar detail


  1. Your editing travails with hue, tonal values, and relative densities appear to have been for the better. To my eyes... they are quite harmonious and relate well within their shapes, adding nicely to the overall recessional dimensionality of the composition. Very Nice Piece Altoon!