Mary and Elizabeth

Mary and Elizabeth. Watercolor and gold leaf on paper. It measures 7″x7″. The Latin translation reads: “The essence of Heaven flooded into you”. Zacharias, the husband of Elizabeth was praying in the temple when he was visited by the Archangel Gabriel. We don’t know how old she was but it refers to her as barren and old.

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
— Luke 1:13–15

The Archangel then went to Galilee to inform Mary that she would become pregnant and give birth to Jesus. When Mary heard that her relative was “old” and pregnant, she went to visit her. This painting is that meeting between relatives where they are both astonished. Elizabeth gave birth to John that became John the Baptist. I am not really sure why I made them ducks but I have been enjoying the ducks in the duck pond at work.


Elijah.  Watercolor and gold leaf on paper.  7″x7″.  Latin translation:  Wake up!!!!!  Narrative paintings (paintings that tell a story) were done like this a long time ago and are unique in that the main character appears twice.  He is asleep and also in the distance he is walking away after the angel wakes him up and feeds him.  The inspiration for this painting once again comes from Hans Memling.  Some of the funny things about this painting are that I put two of the Deathly Hallows in the painting (Dumbledore’s wand and the Resurrection Stone).  The Invisibility Cloak might be there…we wouldn’t know, it would be invisible.  As you know, the Deathly Hallows have been around a very long time. 

Process Photos

I am always interested in process photos.  I took photos at the end of each day and you might think this only took a couple of weeks to paint.  No, I spent about two months on this project because it was so complicated.  I made my friends promise that they would stop me before I painted another egg tempera painting because it takes so much time.  Hopefully, you will understand why even with only these few photos. 

In the first photo you see the MDF board that has been primed with Fluid Medium (VAE).  The Vinyl Acetate Emulsion protects the painting from discoloration from contaminants in the MDF board.  The second photo shows the drawing on a special gesso called Tempera Ground.   It is a new product from Natural Pigments that doesn’t include rabbit skin glue (for animal lovers).  The third photo shows the base coat of Tempera Ground for the stone as well as the base coat on the objects (I painted over the Tempera Ground in tinted acrylic gesso for the objects).  The last photo shows the solid layers of gray egg tempera for the stone niche being put in. 

In the first photo the niche is still under way.  In the second photo, I am now happy with the shadows and I am ready to start splattering with a toothbrush.  In the third photo, you can see all the splatters but the white dots in the shadow look life floating dust so I have to tone down the splatters in the shadows.  The fourth photo shows the painting in egg tempera finished for now.

To cut down on the time, the objects were just painted in oil.  In the first photo you see the chalice being started.  I start and finish the painting in one layer in oil.  In the second photo, I have finished the chalice and I am starting the corn snake.  The third photo shows the finished snake and the start of the butterfly.  The last photo shows the finished objects and the very dry looking egg tempera background.

To finish the painting, I sealed the egg tempera with an isolating layer and then glazed oil over the shadows.  It takes weeks for the egg tempera to cure so I can apply the oil glazes.  I am now waiting for everything to be completely dry so I can varnish, frame, and finally sell the painting.