“My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”
– William James, American psychologist
Lara tells me her hens lay one egg a day. But not everyday, she adds. We walk into the hen-house and I meet all the chickens. She walks over to the laying boxes and picks up an egg and hands it to me. This is Dottie’s egg.
Dottie’s egg is small and heavy. And while I have painted with fresh egg yolk before, I’ve not actually met the chicken that laid it. Lara and I are bartering eggs for peaches. She has 6 to give me on that particular afternoon. I feel the preciousness of each one. Especially when I take Dottie’s egg into the studio and prepare to work.
I’ve been asked to paint an arm and hand. Between meeting the chicken who laid the yolk I use and because of recent issues with my hand – the task comes with new meaning. I pay careful attention to each layer, each structure.
The painting begins as a casein ↑ until I receive fresh eggs ↓. While I have worked with egg tempera for years, it always feels like something new to me. Each time I use it, it feels like I struggle with it – until I don’t.
Lara is a fellow artist and Yogi, as well as a masseuse. Before I leave her home she works on both my hands a bit.
Thank you Laura. And thank you Dottie.
The basic ingredients for egg tempera painting are egg yolk, water, and dry pigment.