Bluebells (Work in Progress)
Bluebells , Egg Tempera on Paper; © Jennifer Pohl

Every now and then I put a piece back, and later pick it up again to find that it suddenly feels finished. This is one of them; I didn’t want to overwork this little painting, which is a study for a larger and more ambitious piece, as well as my first official work in egg tempera making its way to a real world gallery. (You can also see it in an earlier stage and read about how it began.)

Bailing, Oil on Canvas, J.Pohl, 1994
Bailing, Oil on Canvas; © Jennifer Pohl

A little dreamscape painted for my first solo show.

King of the World
King of the World, Ink on Paper; © Jennifer Pohl

It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t create a new piece for this Illustration Friday’s word fresh. Here’s some fresh work and a fresh baby.

Egg Tempera painting by Koo Shandler
Portrait by Koo Shadler, Egg Tempera

egg tempera painting by gale bunting
Blood Root by Gale Bunting, Egg Tempera

If you’ve been following along you may have read that I’ve begun working in egg tempera, something I started thinking about before the birth of my son, Conor, a little over a year ago. My decisons to put my work in oil on hold and explore egg tempera were mainly for health reasons, but as I find my way, I’ve become smitten with the possibilites.

It is more archival than oil paint, and the colours will stay true and bright for centuries, but it can be a difficult, slow and frustrating medium. It didn’t take long to understand why it is generally not recommended for beginners, but when I see the quality of light in the work of artists like Koo Shadler and Gail Bunting I have all the inspiration I need to continue. Done badly, egg tempera paintings can be… uhm, boring, but when it is done well, there is a light and luminosity unlike any that can be found in other media. I have a huge learning curve ahead of me, but it’s one that excites and energizes me despite all sleep deprivation. A small book by Daniel V. Thompson, The Practice of Egg Tempera (1936) is proving invaluable. I would also love to add Cennini’s fifteenth century handbook Il Libro dell’ Arte to my reference library, but if –like me– you are saving up for art supplies and have a family to feed, there is also an online version.

Now if only I could transport myself to a museum and see a Botticelli in the flesh today, but that kind of inspiration will have to wait….