Here I’m posting some of the steps of mounting a canvas and starting a tempera painting.
Here is the stretched and primed canvas on the easel ready to use.
In the spring there’s a lot of light and colorful motif, but it all goes away when the fall comes in. That’s the season I prefer to do tempera painting; when it’s not too hot.
This is the first step; stretcher bars.
Make sure the corners are squared.
Step 2; Canvas Material.
This is called Duck-Cloth. It’s made of good quality cotton and is inexpensive. After stretching the canvas, it is sized with glue. I use rabbit skin glue ( in the white coffee cup) brushed on the canvas lightly with a wide brush.
Once the canvas has been sized and is completely dry, it is primed. It’s made by mixing 3 equal parts of zinc oxide, calcium sulfite and rabbit skin glue. I buy these ingredients here in Madrid; most art stores have these products.
It takes about a day and a half to stretch, size and prime a canvas because of the drying time.
Charcoal drawing on canvas
I made a quick charcoal drawing on the canvas to put everything more or less where it belongs.
Mixing the Emulsion
Here is my set up with newspaper, brushes, spray bottle, pigments, water container. This is a water-based medium.
Pigment mixed with emulsion and water container
When the emulsion and the pigments are mixed together, they should stand up, not run to meet the surface of the table.
Session 1 Light egg tempera under painting
This is the first session.
Session 2 Building up Color
Session 2. Building up Color.
This is the 3rd session. One of the things I like about painting is that I don’t know exactly what it will look like when it’s finished. This painting is still in process.
I’ve done two watercolors of this fountain from opposite stand points. This is the first one. It was a really hot day. When I say hot, I mean hot.
First two and a half hours
I was standing in a sliver of shade next to the bus shelter. painting Neptune Fountain. I had the perfect spot but it was really hot. I stopped painting after two and a half hours and went back to finish the next day.
The second day Painting
I was painting there again the next day for almost three more hours.
Here it is finished.
I went back to the Paseo del Prado last week and painted the same fountain from the other side of the fountain, but from a street view.
Someone from Florida took this picture
He also sent me this picture of me painting.
Someone from Florida took this picture
Again I had a perfect place in the Ritz parking lot. The space was so small, only a mini, mini car would fit.
A street view of the Paseo del Prado in August 2016
This is the second watercolor of Neptune Fountain. It was a lot of fun painting there. I’m glad someone showed me and took me to this spot to paint. It’s not easy finding a good place to paint in the middle of a fast-moving busy city.
The Agrupaciòn Española de Acuarelistas (Spanish Watercolor Society) in Madrid went to the beautiful village called Olmeda de las Fuentes to do some open air watercolor painting. There were more than 40 of us painting out doors in this small pueblo.
A view at the edge of town
The morning was overcast. I walked to the top of the hill with two others, a couple, and looked for a nice shady place, ready for a hot day.
The morning was overcast, no shadows. I waited til the sun came out to paint the cast shadows on the ground.
When I got to this point in the painting, a man who lives in the village pulled up in his car… It was obvious that I was in his parking place; the only shady place left :).
He was so nice. Before I could say anything he said that I didn’t have to move.
Hazy June Morning in Olmeda de las Fuentes 2016
He Parked his car in the sun and asked us if it would bother us. ‘If it would bother us?’ I mean how nice can you get.
Any way, this is how this painting called ‘Hazy June Morning in Olmeda de las Fuentes’ turned out. We all got together for lunch.
The food was delicious.
We showed each other our drawings.
Argentina with her watercolor
Argentina found a beautiful little corner to paint in the village.
Jose Maria Ysmer
Jose Maria Ysmer always picks the perfect place to paint and his watercolors turn out so picturesque and painterly.
Olmeda de las Fuentes 2016
After lunch, we painted for another three hours and then returned to Madrid. It was a lot of fun, just like in April. We all went to Trillo to paint outdoors.
In March the Cherry Plum and Almond trees are full of Pink and White Blossoms. I like to paint them because they brighten up the room and do the same in a watercolor.
Starting out with a light grid and drawing.
I’m starting out with a grid here to keep my parallel lines even with the picture plane. The grid helps me fit whatever I want wherever I want on the paper.
Marking angles as I paint
The grid controls the Talvera vase so it is not lopsided. There are a lot of branches and blossoms to paint, so I don’t draw them one by one, I cast lines in the direction of the branches and mark some of the pink flowers that stand out the most.
Working around the picture plane
I’m working around the picture plane trying to treat everything with the same importance, background and foreground.
The white blossoms
When painting the white blossoms, I leave the white of the paper. What I do is paint around them leaving a blank silhouette. This is called respecting the white of the paper.
Building up and Looking for Detail
I work around the paper emphasising some details. I try to be careful not to make any area heavier than other areas.
Looking for Contrast
When I’m pretty sure everything is where it belongs, I start in with a la prima, putting in the dark contrasting color in one shot in order to bring out the light.
I’m finishing up here. This is the moment when it can gain or lose. It’s the point of no return. I try not to get to that point, but it really is hard to decide when to stop.
Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March 2015
I painted just a little bit more and stopped. I don’t have this watercolor anymore. Next year I hope to make another one in the spring.