There are a huge number of varieties of paints. Tempera paints are among the very first, and the technique of tempera painting is rightfully considered one of the most ancient and difficult to master, since tempera paints behave differently when they dry than the more familiar oil paints.
What is tempera paints and their history
Tempera paint, or as it is also called tempera, is a paint made on the basis of an emulsion binder and a pigment. The name comes from the Latin word "tempera", which translates as "mix".
Tempera paints were used even before the advent of oil paints and were widespread. For example, they were absolutely irreplaceable in icon painting. Their history goes back over 3500 years.
The binder emulsion of tempera paints consists of three elements: water, various types of adhesives, which vary from the type of tempera, and oil. Emulsifying agents include casein, egg white and yolk, gum arabic, dextrin and soap. The adhesive solution, when combined with oil particles, creates an emulsion. In this state, the oil makes the paints elastic and prevents them from cracking.
By its properties, tempera is something intermediate between glue and oil paints. It can also be diluted with water as well as oil. And she can work both on paper and on canvas. In principle, they are applicable to any kind of surface, but it is better to use soft and elastic brushes. In terms of shape, flat or round brushes are recommended.
The main advantages of tempera include the speed of its drying, which significantly speeds up the process of creating a picture, and its amazing durability - the works made with tempera retain their brightness for many centuries.
Today tempera paints are manufactured commercially and sold in sets.
Types of tempera paints
Based on the component on the basis of which the emulsion is made for diluting the tempera, there are egg, casein-oil and gum arabic tempera, which is also called glue. In other words, the name of the paint is derived from the binder used to "mash" the dry pigment.
Egg tempera was especially common in the Middle Ages and was used for a long time even after the appearance of oil paints. The paint, prepared on an egg basis, dissolves easily, mixes and practically does not change its color when dry, does not lighten or darken. Works made with egg tempera retain color saturation and brightness for a very long time.
Casein oil tempera is a water-soluble paint that consists of the smallest pigments mixed with an emulsion of linseed oil and an aqueous solution of casein. This type of paint involves painting on primed canvas, cardboard and wood. After drying, it hardens quickly and adheres firmly to the substrate. Today it is the most common type of tempera.
Gum arabic, or glue, tempera is based on glue, for example, PVA. She is recommended to work not only on paper, cardboard and plywood, but also on linoleum, plaster, concrete, glass. However, glue tempera should not be mixed with other types of paints.