Suzanne Crolley (Egg Tempera)

While studying under J.P. Sullivan (Asheville, North Carolina), I learned the renaissance master way of painting and drawing, and because of my love for watercolor was drawn to egg tempera.

Egg tempera is the oldest form of painting, predating the Renaissance. It is a time and labor-intensive process, and is challenging as an artist because for every component of a work you must combine and use very raw, basic materials from nature.

The foundation of the egg tempera painting is a traditional gesso panel. The panel is created by applying layer upon layer of rabbit-skin glue and marble dust, sanding between each layer. When finished, the panel must be ivory-smooth because even the slightest imperfection cannot be hidden during the painting process.  Even after the last brush stroke, the work continues to “mature” over time, developing: a rich, glowing patina develops as the materials blend and cure.

My charcoal drawings are created from live models, and are mostly representations of the human female form.  The works give me a chance to study the natural beauty in each subject, found in the perspective, lines and shadows from all shapes and sizes

About My Work

I paint on a a traditional gesso panel, grind my own pigments, tone and tint drawing paper, make drawing charcoal and much more.

It takes planning, patience, time and skill to complete an egg tempera, primarily because each color layer is transparent, the colors can’t be blended and so must be built up one on the other to achieve the desired effect. It is a slow, rich, and ultimately fulfilling process; one I enjoy very much.

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