Frugal Artist Series, #4

December 24, 2009

I’ve also used egg yolk as a binder.  It’s a main ingredient in making egg/oil tempera emulsion used here in the Northwest School, (Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, William Cumming, et al, genre of art).  If you try this, know that plain yolk will set up very quickly.  The trick is to separate it entirely from the white.  To do this you separate the yolk and then roll the yolk on a paper towel.  Then pop the yolk gently with a needle and express the yolk into a baby food jar.  It will keep okay for a few days or so.  Try adding a drop or two of glycerin and emulsify the two together.  This will help the life of the spreadability a bit.  Of course the trick is to get it to emulsify.  I have a handheld blender for making paint with though it’s a little overkill for one yolk.

I love painting with egg-oil tempera.  One of the things you can do with it is buff it with a soft, lint free cloth once all is dry.  That makes it take on a beautiful sheen.   I learned about this from my painting teacher, William Cumming.   If you want to read a very interesting life story about an artist, (beginning in 1917 to today!), check his out at:  or and see some of his paintings at: and read his hilariously cantankerous quotes at:  You’ll find stuff like “Yogi Berra was sort of a Zen master.  Somebody asked Yogi ‘what time is it?’ and he said ‘ You mean now?'”

"My Dog", William Cumming, courtesy from Woodside/Braseth Gallery website: (

It was in Bill’s class I learned that I was a painter.    I had never known it before and frequently forget it still despite painting everything from fine silver to fabric. It was my favorite class and I loved listening to him go on and on and on, (like he does). I was lucky enough to have him give me one of his sketch book pages (in 1983 or so).  I still have it, of course, plainly framed and hiding here somewhere. As he always said: there is only art.  Everyone is born an artist… and “Try IRONING colored pencil drawings”.  What a gift.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: