Egg Tempera Frescoes

Last week we made egg tempera paint using a recipe I found in several places after trolling the Internet. The directions were, use egg yolk, anything that would make a pigment (we tried crushed dry pastels and food dye), a bit of water and vinegar. The idea was to make mini plaster ‘frescoes’, inspired by the beautiful Italian frescoes found in churches in the early Renaissance. We used meat trays for our plaster mixture and happily worked away with our glossy transparent homemade egg tempera paint. The following week, I pulled them out for the kids to finish-but we found they had gone a bit mouldy (one of my students looked mortified; his carefully painted Jesus looked like he had green chicken pox). We google searched our concerns ‘why does egg tempera go mouldy?’ with no joy. Apparently no one else in cyberspace has had this happen. The weather has been a bit on the wet side, and maybe our yolk ratios were too generous. Still, I love the learning that happens through mistakes. There is a lot of science in art. We are continuing our look into Renaissance art-I will keep posting!

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