Flower Pots at Heathcote

Flower Pots at Heathcote
9x12 acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finished Egg Tempera Painting

"Girl with Harp"

6 x 6 egg tempera on panel $125.

I got the painting finished and as you can see, I made some changes.

I wanted to repeat the verticals of the harp, so at first I put in some palm fronds. That didn't work well as they overpowered the focal point, which is the girl and harp. I took them out, which is fairly easy with egg tempera. Before it hardens, it is possible to lift or rub out areas and I did that to some extent, then did some more sponging for texture.
I did some shadows on the left that looked vertical and added interest. I also did some horizontal shadows on the right of the girl which draws your eye toward the girl. Her head is "framed" by the lighter and brighter greenish yellow color. I love the shadow under her hand that gives the illusion of movement.

It is a pretty successful painting in terms of composition, I think. The background is subtle, yet textured. Like many musicians, she is so comfortable playing her instrument that she looks away, but her eyes tell you that she is into her music more than where she is looking. There is often a hypnotic look in a musicians eyes---I notice it so often, as if they are in another world. Click on this to see the details.


  1. To me, egg tempra is a lot like gouache in the way it looks; the difference being that you can't change it after it's dry. Does it have a similar "feel" when you are painting with it? I like what you did with the partly rubbed out palm and the sharper shadow.

  2. The girl's face and skin are so good, this is a real talent area you excel in.

  3. Hi joyfulartist,
    When egg tempera is totally dry, it would be hard to change, too, but it takes a long time for it to reach the hardness that makes it so permanent. It dries quickly as you apply the paint, to the touch, but after a year, say, you can't even scratch it! Gouache dries quickly,too, but it is an opaque watercolor, and full bodied while egg tempera is midway between transparent water color and opaque gouache. It is more flexible than either. With egg tempera, you can paint darker over light and still get transparancy or light over dark and get opalescence. They don't "feel" much alike when you apply them. Gouache sort of feels like satin wall paint, for lack of a better way to describe, while egg tempera feels actually more like a very transparent oil color might feel. Hard to describe. Very much a challenge and I have a lot to learn!

  4. Beautiful work and serene mood!
    Well done!