In this week's Painting Techniques blog we'll be taking a look at pastel. Used mainly for portraits and occasionally landscapes, pastel is known for its vibrant range of colour and ability to blend. Its versatile nature also allows it to be mixed with other mediums to create richer pallets and textures.
Visual & Decorative Arts Blog
What is Tempera?
Broadly speaking tempera (Italian for ‘temper’) was a process that involved some sort of binding material (other than oil). Traditionally this was egg-yolk, a substance that was also extensively used in fresco painting, but any albuminous, gelatinous or colloidal material could be mixed with pigments to achieve similar results.
The terms fresco and tempera are sometimes used as if they were synonymous, but the distinction lies not so much in the mixture but the material to which it was applied. Thus tempera is more commonly associated with the paintings on mummy cases and papyrus rolls in pharaonic Egypt, or medieval paintings on ivory or wood panels, although some wall paintings in ancient Egypt, Knossos, Mycenae and Classical Rome probably relied on this technique.
Egg-yolk, sometimes diluted by a little vinegar, was the preferred medium, though a thin glue produced by boiling animal skins was also extremely effective, while Pliny mentions milk as a binding substance. Although tempera is mainly associated with relatively small paintings executed on wood panels, the paint was not applied directly on to the wood. The surface had to be prepared and this entailed a process that was not unlike the plastering of walls, but on a much smaller scale.
Some of the most visually stunning works of art have been painted directly onto walls and ceilings. The amount of time and effort that must have gone into these pieces is reflected today in the care taken to preserve them. Understanding the history and method behind this technique can help us appreciate it even more.
So often people look at a picture – the end-product of an artist’s endeavour – for the form and content, and do not focus on the technicalities. A knowledge of the methods, techniques and materials and how they interact provides an invaluable insight into the art of different periods and styles as well as a better understanding of the individual artist.
Intricate, beautiful, detailed, charming and nostalgic – this selection of illustrated 2017 calendars are a delight to behold. From beloved children’s characters like Miffy and Elmer or the nostalgia of Rupert Bear and the Moomins, to the wonderful Art Deco fashion drawings from the Courtauld Gallery’s collection, there’s something for everyone.
This week it’s the turn of our photography calendars to take the spotlight. From spectacular visions of the night sky to historical London or great sporting moments in football, here are 10 of our best photographic calendars.
Our visually stunning art calendars feature a fantastic collection of works from prominent and beloved artists. Here’s a rundown of 10 of our best 2017 wall calendars featuring work from 20th-century artists.
Salvador Dalí was the most complex and possibly most controversial artist of the twentieth century. Although his popularity with the public at large has never been in question, the attitude of the art world towards this giant of twentieth-century art has often been more ambivalent. The 1930s are referred to as Dalí's Surrealist period and it was during this decade that he created many of his best-known works. This includes his iconic The Persistence of Memory (1931).
Vincent van Gogh (1853–90) is without a doubt one of the most famous artists of the Western world. The record auction prices achieved for his paintings, fuelled by the desire to own a part of this troubled soul, are now legendary. In a letter to his sister Willemina, Van Gogh wrote: ‘Often it seems to me night is even more richly coloured than day’, something which is evinced in his beautiful night painting Starry Night Over the Rhône (1888).