February 1, 2016
Laurel Herbold, Egg Tempera

Ever wonder what Egg Tempera is?  If you are like me, you mispronounce it, egg tempura, like the Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.  We hope you didnít miss our February meeting where artist, Laurel Herbold explained and demonstrated, Egg Tempera - A Masterís Technique.

Laurel is a 1993 graduate of Bowling Green University where she majored in Fine Art Painting and Graphic Design.  She is a freelance and custom artist doing many things, from painting and gallery work to large murals and floor paintings.  Three days a week, Laurel works at
Eikona Studios in Tremont doing religious icons, using this masterís technique.  She said that egg tempera is not taught at most schools.  She learned by attending special classes in Pittsburgh in 2010.  Egg tempera is used mostly for religious artwork and goes back to ancient Egypt.

Laurel showed us how to make the tempera paint.  She uses only farm fresh brown eggs from the West Side Market.  The powdered pigments are all natural from the earth....Ēsome can be toxic,Ē she cautioned.  You need to get all the egg white off the yolk.  She said to mix two-parts water with the egg yolk, stir not shaken and refrigerate...lasts up to three-days.  Nothing goes to waste....egg shells are recycled in the garden and she ends up making lots of egg white omelets and macaroons!

The foundation for the painting is most important.  All natural boards are used, mostly made from poplar and birch.  It takes a long time to gesso the boards, using marble dust with rabbit glue.  Up to 40 layers are needed!  Because of the time involved, this job is now farmed out to the monks.  The gesso boards are very fragile....another caution.

Laurel demonstrated how to paint with egg tempera.  She uses a photo reference of a colorful flower.  After mixing small amounts of paint with the egg mixture on a glass or marble palette, she uses tiny brushes with tiny brush strokes.  It looks tedious!  Cosmetic sponges and cheesecloth are useful tools.  It takes many, many layers to achieve the look she wants....sometimes over 200!  She says you canít get the luminosity from any other medium.

She designed and painted two icons for the for the Pope and one for the Byzantine
Patriarch Bartholomew.  She also did a big commission for a Washington, DC church.  Laurel says that an egg tempera painting is 3X more time consuming than acrylic.  Here is a picture she did of Mary.  It took her over a month to complete, including the addition of gold leaf.  Visit Laurelís website at  Thank you, Laurel.

Over 30 members/guests enjoyed this fantastic and informative demonstration.  And, of course the refreshments afterwards.....thanks to Sandi and Ellen.  Ellen writes....

ďWe ♥ our Slavic Heritage" was an ideal theme for February's meeting, with Sandi Richards (Polish and Ukrainian) and Ellen Howard (Czech and Slovak) as hosts.  Mini pierogi, kolbasi, kolacky and potica (a Slovenian nut roll) were among the ethnic treats.  By coincidence, the egg tempera technique demonstrated at the meeting is the traditional medium for creating religious icons in Eastern European countries.



FYI...the smokies and potica were from Raddellís, an ethnic meat market, 478 E. 152nd Street, now designated as Frankie Yankovik Square.  The kolbasi was made by Ellenís family and Sandi made the kolacky.