Koo Schadler graduated from Tufts University in 1984 with a BA in Art History. After graduation she traveled throughout Europe and eventually settled in Florence, Italy, so she could look at Renaissance art daily. On returning to the states in 1986 she moved to California where she was introduced to egg tempera through artist Chester Arnold at the College of Marin.
In the 90's Koo returned east and settled in a small town in Southern New Hampshire. For three years she studied classical oil painting with Numael and Shirley Pulido, while pursuing egg tempera studies on her own. Eventually she selected egg tempera and metalpoint as her primary mediums.
Koo is a Master painter of The Copley Society of Boston. She is a contributing editor at The Artist’s Magazine and a board member of the Society of Tempera Painters. Koo teaches painting and design workshops around the US and abroad. Her work is represented by the Arden Gallery in Boston, MA. Her paintings and drawings are in more than 400 private and corporate collections, and many museums nationwide.
The kit includes:
Koo Schadler pigment set (9 ea)
Set of Kolibri brushes (4 ea)
Italian Painting Knife (1 ea)
Artefex Tempanel, 3x5 (2 ea)
Eye Dropper (1 ea)
Six well rectangular palette (2 ea)
Glass plate 10" x10"
EGG TEMPERA MISCONCEPTIONS
13. Expensive, kolinsky sable watercolor brushes are requisite for tempera painting Because tempera is a water-based paint that dries to the touch within seconds it is good at making fine lines. Early Renaissance painters were less interested in natural, atmospheric effects; they made the most of tempera’s linear quality and modeled form with crosshatched lines. Kolinsky (a type of weasel) sable, round brushes come to an especially precise point and are very good at making fine lines, so they are most often recommended for tempera artists. I prefer synthetics brushes, especially Taklons, which come to a point but also can be shaped between fingers into a broader stroke. I apply tempera with large, flat watercolor brushes; inexpensive, hardware store “chip” brushes; kitchen sponges; cosmetic sponges; rubber stamps; fingertips; and anything else that suits the task at hand. An expensive, genuine sable brush works well with egg tempera but is not requisite.
14. Tempera must be painted on wood panels and traditional, true gesso sanded to an ivory-smooth finish. Egg tempera paint becomes brittle with age, so working on an inflexible support is important for durability. However it doesn’t have to be a wood panel. Wood, the best option in the Renaissance, has drawbacks: a grain pattern that can telegraph up to the paint layers, and a tendency to absorb and release water (causing movement and cracks). Aluminum or plastic panels may prove a better support for tempera; experiments are underway. It is also possible to paint tempera on paper or parchment - as long as, due to tempera’s brittleness, these surfaces are relatively inflexible (mounted on a solid support or bound in a book) and the paint is applied thinly. Whether tempera must be painted on a traditional chalk or gypsum and glue, “true” gesso ground remains uncertain. Materials expert George O’Hanlon makes a case that tempera can be made to behave and adhere to a variety of surfaces, including acrylic polymer grounds. In my experience, true gesso’s absorbency creates the best working properties for tempera, and I’m not yet convinced tempera behaves as well or adheres as securely to other substances. Experiments are planned to test the viability of non-traditional grounds for tempera. Sanding gesso to ivory-like perfection was requisite for Renaissance artists who wanted their gold-leafed surfaces to emulate real metal. A flawlessly smooth gesso surface is lovely to paint upon, but technically not a necessity (unless you are trying to mimic the look of gold).
16. You must grind your pigments before working with them. There is a distinction between grinding and dispersing. A clump of earth or lapis lazuli stone is ground into powder with a mortar and pestle. A powdered pigment at the art store has been ground already to the correct size. (Most pigments have an optimal particle size – if ground too fine, some lose color). So you do not need to grind powdered pigments; you need to disperse (or mill) them, either within water (to make a pigment paste) and/or within egg yolk (to make tempera paint). A muller and glass slab (or mechanical mill) are best for dispersing, but a palette knife works well too. The larger the particle size (as in earth colors), the “grittier” a pigment feels during dispersion; smaller particle sizes require more effort to properly disperse.
26. Colors should not be intermixed on the palette. Thanks to modern chemistry, contemporary painters can choose from a huge selection of intense, high chroma pigments. Pure hues were much harder to come by in the 1400s; consequently Renaissance painters were reluctant to intermingle a costly, colorful lapis blue with an inexpensive, common earth color. Additionally, ancient thinking reflected belief in a universe organized through divinely ordained hierarchies: sexes were kept separate, races shouldn’t intermingle, king and peasant were forever distinct, and, according to some Egyptian and medieval texts, colors should not be intermixed. For both practical and philosophical reasons, early tempera painters kept pigments in individual palette wells and only mixed “optically” by applying successive layers of unadulterated hues. Glazing with pure color is still a useful option for modern tempera painters – but it’s also perfectly fine, when desired or necessary, to intermix colors directly on the palette before applying to a painting.