Egg Tempera Workshop with Bill Kerr

Arabella by Andrew Wyeth. Property of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Egg Tempera example.
'Idealized Portrait of a Lady', 1480 (egg tempera on a poplar panel). Image from

Paint like Wyeth or Botticelli!

No, not New England barns nor slightly amused matrons, but rather paint with egg tempera as did these masters.

Egg tempera is an incomparable medium. Sandro Botticelli's egg tempera works are still in near perfect condition, centuries later. In the famous Uffizi Gallery and others in Florence, egg tempera works from the 1500's are pristine while oil works, often much younger are rather alligator like.

So why does it have such a bad rap that the local gallery actually labeled one such work "egg tempura?"

Truthfully, there are a few problems with this paint. It is not suited for canvas or linen. It is not compatible with most gessoes. It is not suitable for long storage in jars or tubes as the egg goes rancid. Mixing powdered pigment into the medium has hazards as a few are toxic and all are seriously messy.

But there are some real positives... Egg tempera is a perfect handling paint with un-matched brush feel. It is very transparent and glazing is exciting as layers dry in about 20 minutes. Clean up is with water or soap and water.

In this workshop "you will eliminate the negatives and accentuate the positives" as the song goes. Bill Kerr, our instructor will demonstrate and guide you through processes to avoid the pitfalls and exploit the advantages. A materials list follows.

January 18, 2020 - 10am-4pm at Tsolum Building, Lewis Park, in Courtenay.

Members: $119, Non-members: $140


MATERIALS LIST - bring these with you.

  • Water colour paints in tubes. Student grade is fine ( as a minimum selection, any bright red, a bright yellow, any blue, burnt sienna, burnt umber) You can share with a buddy
  • Water colour brushes, at least a #4 or #6 round, a #10 or #12 round, a rigger, a 1/2" flat
  • White Designers gouache (not acrylic) or, if not available, Chinese White water colour
  • 2 eggs, the cheaper the better as pale eggs make mixing colour easier. The yellow fades in a day or two so don't worry if your eggs aren't as pale as those in Denny's
  • Two small bowls.... custard cups are good
  • Paper towel