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Forgotten Techniques

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I’ve been working on this painting for two whole months now.

Little-by-little she is slowly taking form as I use a glazing technique I learned almost twenty years ago when I was in art school.

At the time I was working on a double major in art history and painting, while also teaching part time at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

For a brief phase I became fascinated with Renaissance paintings created using egg tempera. After I was done teaching I would make the museum guards sweat and rub their hands together nervously as I hovered as close as I could get to the paintings where this technique stood the test of time.

Then one day, to my great surprise, a visiting artist came to class and his whole gig was painting in egg tempera.

I had no idea that artists still did this kind of thing and because we were “poor art students” with limited funds and rare access to raw pigments, he taught us a more modern technique that could achieve almost the same effect with more accessible materials.

I was smitten at first brushstroke and went on to create a series of tiny still life paintings using this time-consuming technique.

Still not finished.

That’s why I found it quite comforting and even a little auspicious when I woke up in June from a very vivid dream of where I was mixing up paints using this “forgotten” technique.

I didn’t even bother brushing my teeth or taking a shower. I went straight to the studio and began glazing like I’ve been doing this for decades.

Just proves that as artists nothing in life is ever truly forgotten. It’s all there written in the fabric of our hearts, patiently waiting for the time when we are finally ready to remember.

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