Something has been amiss in this blog about Thought for Food. Of course there is the rather random order of the posts due to circumstances outside my control and rightly the blog posts have focussed on the intense and fascinating discussions at the Thought for Food meals. But importantly, my attendance at a two day course held at Wysing Arts Centre over a year ago, has been a fundamental building block on which the development of new work has been built. Led by artist Sohelia Sokhanvari, the course covered the techniques and practice of working in egg tempera, from grinding pigment to making an emulsion then creating paints that have such a unique quality that it is hard not to fall in love with them.
Being so closely connected to the production of the material makes for an embodied response to creating a piece of work, not least the knowledge that this is an act in the context of the history of painting. Currently an unfashionable medium, egg tempera had its day before the advent of oil paint, and there are many examples in Renaissance works and earlier spiritual paintings. Often combined with gilding it fell out of favour to slower drying oil paint. Despite a short revival in America from c.1920 to 1980, egg tempera is an uncommon medium for artists today.