I am a painter of miniatures in the ancient egg tempera tradition used by renaissance painters. These tiny works (the image is 3 inches across in this case - I do paint smaller), are painted and gilded in the old way. It is time consuming, precise work.
This image is an old Catholic depiction of the Bleeding Heart of Jesus. It has an amazing history, and has been seen in visions by Saints since the 1600's onwards. According to the writings of Sister Mary of the Divine Heart, Jesus had made this promise: "I will make it a place of graces. I will distribute copiously graces to all who live in this house [the Convent], those who live here now, those who will live here after, and even to their relatives." Jesus also promised her: "Know this, My daughter, that by the charity of My Heart I desire to pour out floods of graces through your heart over the hearts of others. This is why people will come to you with confidence; it will not be your personal qualities which will attract them, but Me. No one, even the most hardened sinner, will leave your presence without having received, in one way or another, consolation, relief, or a special grace. In June 1899, Pope Leo consecrated the whole world to The Sacred heart of Jesus.
My background is in scientific illustration in the days when we didn't have computers. I did it my way - and I still am choosing this difficult and sometimes lonely path. Another benefit of producing my own paint from the minerals is the luminous glow the colours have. It has also given me a clearer understanding as to how the old masters achieved their results, allowing me a connection to artists of the past.
Most tempera painters use clove oil, but I have another oil that has greatly enhanced the finish. It is not so thirsty, and gives a deep luscious feel to the work, a quality that you won't often see in galleries. I believe that the use of this medium ground with the minerals has greatly improved the longevity of the paint by increasing flexibility and reducing yellowing after many years of drying, and perhaps after possibly hundreds of years.
The reason for choosing to follow this extremely difficult pathway was due to two reasons. Firstly my curiosity to explore paint mediums used by Renaissance artists, and secondly to use an oil medium that is far superior in quality to anything on the market today. Visiting galleries throughout Australia, and Europe, I observed a luminous appearance to many of the artists’ work. I began to wonder what enabled these artists to produce such profound pieces, and realised a large influence were the materials used. This is what has kept me engaged for a long time, and still is...
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