Tempera Grassa Repository

Using Tempera Grassa

When the tempera grassa emulsion is made, it is mixed with dry pigment to create a tempera grassa paint. This can be done in the traditional way of pigment mixed into the emulsion with a glass muller.

In mischtechnik, the primary pigment used is titanium dioxide white, because the emulsion is used to establish highlights.

However, the tempera grassa is very versatile and tubed oil paints can be mullered into the tempera grassa, turning the oil paint into tempera grassa emulsion.

The tempera grassa paint is put upon a palette in a conventional manner and water is used to distribute the paint. More water would mean the paint behaves more like a gouache. Less water and the paint will perform more like oil (grassa).

Learning tempera grassa is a complex subject based primarily on becoming familiar with the paint through our exercises and study. Patience with yourself and the materials is recommended.

Drying Time

Tempera grassa is a complex paint oweing to all the ingredients that go into it. Theoretically this means it has ‘layers’ of evaporation and setting. First the water and tupentine will evaporate, leaving a much more sticky paint on the canvas. The damar and egg will begin to firm up in absense of turpentine and water, but the final binder to set will be the oil component. This oil component, if thinly spread, can dry within a day, or if used more fat may take a few days. It depends on atmosphere and thickness of paint and absorbency of ground.


If you make a lot of tempera grassa emulsion, keep it in a jar where the size of the jar means there isn’t much air in the jar with your quantity of emulsion. Keep it in the fridge. If your impliments and jar and the air conditions were fairly free of microorganisms, the mix will last for weeks. If the situation was humid, muggy or smoggy, the tempera grassa may go ‘off’ faster. You will tell by the smell. The tempera grassa may also seperate into layers of oil and egg and so on, so its good to shake it up whenever you remember.

If you make the tempera grassa into paint by mixing it with dry pigment or oil paint, it will keep for longer, particularly if its kept out of air (such as if you tube it up).