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Dear MITRA administrator,
Which ground would you suggest for painting with egg-oil emulsion (tempera grassa)?
Ground should go on rigid support like wood panel. Emulsion ingradients are: linseed oil, egg and water in different ratios, nothing else.
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In general, I would suggest a traditional chalk-glue ground
or traditional true gesso (Gypsum in animal glue) ground on a stable and rigid
support. While the addition of oil is often though to allow for a wider range
of ground but especially substrates but my experience has been that unless the
oil component is exceedingly high (and even then this is really no guarantee) it
is still best thought of as a paint requiring a rigid support with an absorbent
ground. I have not read any reliable reports, and certainly no comprehensive studies,
to show that these mixed, emulsion media are appropriate for supports that are
more flexible. Much of the early 20th century experimentation with
these mixed emulsions; especially on flexible supports have had rather disastrous
Of course, a ground with a similar proportion of protein and
oil would also be appropriate. I would expect that a half-chalk ground (an oil
and glue emulsion ground) would likely be perfectly appropriate for such a
Honestly, I would even suspect that a lean acrylic
dispersion ground on a rigid substrate would likely be fine but this is one of
areas where I am not sure if enough work has been done to determine the
long-term longevity of such systems. I will send out a few feelers around to
see if there is any data on this issue.
We don't have older tempera grassa samples that would allow us to determine long-term stability of these films on acrylic dispersion grounds. But I found time to apply some tempera grassa recipes on: GOLDEN Gesso, Black Gesso, Absorbent Ground, Pastel Ground and traditional chalk-glue ground. The tempera grassa consisted of yellow ochre pigment, egg yolk, stand oil and various amounts of water, and in one case OMS instead of water. Between the recipes there were no differences noticeable on the various ground. All emulsions worked best on the chalk-glue ground. On the acrylic grounds subsequent paint layers lifted when brushing over the same spot more than 4-5 times. Of the acrylic grounds the Absorbent Ground seemed to take the emulsion paint the best and paint lift was the least.