Saturday Sunshine: in Egg Tempera

What a dark, damp Saturday we have had. Many times we stood at the kitchen window open-mouthed, as the rain hammered on the roof, rendering it almost impossible to hear anyone speak, as rivers of water flowed past the house. These dark days really start to make it feel like winter, and we have been preparing for the inevitable weather for the past few weeks (heavy curtains hung, unused open fires temporarily blocked up, fuel in the shed: stacked and stored ready)

I have been eyeing up half a large kilner jar of last years mincemeat, but I am insisting I hold out making the first batch of mince pies until November (besides, I’m currently obsessed with making (and eating) apple-tarts) 

 So in the dark of today, I thought we would make our own sunshine:

with egg yolks!

I read Cenninis book years ago, and was always amused by his instruction that to paint (in egg tempera) young peoples skin tone one needed a town hens-egg, and for ruddier country peoples complexion, one needed a deeper yolk from a country hen.

I had 5 yolks from two days ago when I cooked (disastrous) meringues (-I forgot to turn down the heat…) so we mixed these with some watercolour paint to make the egg tempera.

I always loved the sheen and quality of egg tempera, and thankfully this wasn’t lost on little (and not so little) ones (our eldest son usually doesn’t partake in these art and craft activities anymore as he is a practicing moody teenager) 

What we did: we poured the egg yolks into a bowl (there is a filmy sack around it which you remove, and sometimes if they have been sitting uncovered, there can be a hard coating too) 

Into small pots (kept from our Floradix multi-vitamin bottles: ever so useful for so many things) we put some watercolour paint

(my watercolour tubes were in the studio, across the yard, and I really couldn’t bring myself to dash out in the torrential downpour)

so we used watercolour dyes, which weren’t as strong as I had hoped. Nevertheless, no-one seemed to notice or mind. We mixed approximately half and half-paint and yolk, mixed thoroughly then began to paint. It dries quite quickly, so really beautiful effects can be achieved by layering colours, and the paint feels beautifully soft to use.

Just as I began to use some of the paint, our smallest person decided that he needed to nurse. Right now. So tomorrow I am hoping to mix up some more and to use it on the art-angel-dolls I have been making. And to finish these little collage pieces I have been putting together in order to make into printed cards:

In the midst of everything else, it feels so good to be creating in tiny moments that pop up during the day 🙂