Traditional Mediums

Egg Tempera | Saponified Wax | Encaustic

I have been experimenting many binders and Emulsions. I am listing here the most satisfying to my opinion.

1 tsp (tea spoon) = 5 ml
1 TBSP (Table spoon) = 3 tsp = 15 ml

Egg Tempera Recipes

Simple though it is, Egg Tempera is the most powerfull and reliable traditional painting medium that nothing can replace. Done with pigments and a medium based on chicken eggs, Egg Tempera painting was of current use until the end of the 15th century and is now expanding since its revival in the 19th century. Egg Yolk is a simple and soft medium. Colors keep true and fresh. Through time the paint harden and improves. As water evaporates, little excess of binder is left in the finished painting, getting so an optical effect of intensity and depth. At execution level, it is a fast drying paint to be diluted with water. Because of its emulsifying potential, Egg medium can be adjusted or reenforced by the adjunction of oils and varnishes. It can be worked according to any personal style or approach. Comparable to Fresco in quality, it is also used on dry plaster wall.
Egg Oil Emulsion A
Steps Ingredients Quantity Volume Volume
1 Yolk 1 15 ml 15 ml
2 Damar Varnish 1/2 TBSP 7,5 ml 13,7
Stand Oil 1 1/4 tsp 6,2 ml
3 Glaire 1/2 20 ml 40 ml
Distilled Water   20 ml
4 White Vinegar   5 drops 10 drops
Clove Oil   5 drops


Egg Oil Emulsion B
Steps Ingredients Quantity Volume Volume
1 Yolk 1 15 ml 15 ml
2 Popyseed Oil 1/8 tsp 0,6 ml 19,3 ml
Damar Varnish 1/2 TBSP 7,5 ml
Stand Oil 2 1/4 tsp 11,2 ml
3 Bee Wax Solution 6 drops    
4 Glaire 1/2 20 ml 40 ml
Distilled Water   20 ml
5 White Vinegar   5 drops 10 drops
Clove Oil   5 drops

Until now, I used dry pigments. If you want to use this same emulsion with water pasted pigments you should not put water in the Emulsion. I usually start painting with emulsion A and when close to the end, I switch for Emulsion B.
Bee Wax or Carnauba Wax Solution
Ingredients Volume
Lavender Oil (warm it to melt) 2
bleached Bee (or Carnauba)Wax cuttings 1

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Saponified Wax Recipes


Saponified Wax Solution
Ingredients Volume
Boiling Distilled water 2 1
Saponified Wax flakes 1 1

Saponified Wax Emulsion
Ingredients Volume
Saponified Wax Solution 4
Damar varnish + Standoil 1

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Encaustic Recipes


Encaustic Granules
Steps Ingredients Weight 1   Weight 2
Mixture to be melted
Bleached Bee Wax (soft & flexible) 50 g < > 40g
Carnauba Wax (harder but /brittle) 40 g < > 25 g
Damar Gum (or Varnish) 10% to 35 % 10 g < > 35 g
2 Total amount   100 g   100g
3 Producing granules Slowly and in small amount, poor the warm mixture into moving cold water. Collect the solidified granules for later use.      
4 Painting process To paint, put down a couple of granules on a moderately heated anodized aluminum palette. Add pigments and mix. Caution to toxic fumes, work in a ventilated room and have an exhaust fan over the palette.      

Middle size metallic painting knife
Old bristle brushes or metallic brushes
Mini gas soldering iron equipped with a warm air blower
wood, anodized aluminum or food stainless steel

Encaustic paintings samples

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Hugues Delbergue

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