Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tempera Resist Portraits

I really like the tempera resist technique, so I thought I'd try a photograph instead of a drawing.

This is my daughter being silly and horning in on her brother's senior picture session. I took the photo file into a photo editing program and changed it to black and white using the threshold adjustment.

I printed the result and traced the black outline to watercolor paper. I then simply painted the thinned tempera in the areas I wanted to resist the acrylic paint wash.

I washed over the dried tempera with two different acrylic paint washes.

When the wash was dry, I rinsed the watercolor paper under running water and rubbed away the tempera.

Both of the photos I used of my kids were outtakes. They weren't perfect photos, but they make interesting art. They're easy and quick to do. Mother's Day, anyone?

I framed these paintings in simple black frames. I think a gallery wall of modern silhouette portraits would look great. I need to do one of the dogs. They're family too.



  1. Hello I was wondering how you put the two washes on to get the marbled result.

    1. Hi Splatter! I thinned two colors of acrylic paint with water and then randomly flicked them over the tempera resist. I started with the blue. Have fun with it!

  2. What exactly do you mean when you say you removed the tempera, this doesn't make sense sense with the way I know to do a resist with ink, and washing it off. I guess that is what I'm losing in the translation.

    1. Since the tempera paint is water soluble, it rinses away when you run water over the paper. You might have to gently rub the tempera off the watercolor paper if it's being stubborn. I go over the process in a little more detail here:
      Hope that helps. Let me know if you're still having trouble.


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