Interview with James Edwards:
Tempera is a temporary paint. Why use a school tempera paint?
Simple. It’s designed for children. So, it’s completely non-toxic which I love. Also, Super Tempera is the easiest to clean, which is always a consideration (as I like to be expressive with brush strokes - so can splash). I like to work quickly.
What is critical is that I edit rough sketches into a finished painting. Now that’s how I work, I realise that’s not for everyone. I have tried so many mediums that I thought might accommodate this, tried them all, you name it. In the end FAS Super Tempera Paint seems to fit the bill. Ok, you have to wait some for underlays to dry some before overpainting, depending on what your trying to achieve. The white is very opaque, which I like.
I like the 250ml bottles. It’s a handy size. I like doing landscapes outside and also meet up groups that involve painting a model and you need to make things as compact and mobile as possible.
What surfaces to you use?
Tried using various papers. I find using white paper a real struggle, never got on with it. And tried various expensive papers. In the end, out of experimentation I tried sugar paper, it’s kind of grey which is great but buckles when wet and dry. So more recently, I have been using normal brown wrapping paper which comes in a roll and I cut to size. It does buckle a bit wet, but then dries flat. It’s cheap, so I can experiment. Seems to work great.
How lasting or durable is it to use this medium?
Here’s the thing. In this day and age, I find paintings I do kind of exist more on the internet. I take a photo of the painting and put it on Instagram and Facebook. I have tried painting with my iPad, it’s not the same. I want texture and the feeling of the paint on the brush.
Admittedly, working on brown wrapping paper is not archival quality. But that’s not what I am about. For me it’s getting an idea down quickly. Super Tempera and brown paper offer me this.
Do you find any issues with colour mixing?
I use primary colours. Never use black. To get a dark colour I mix all the colours. I love the pastel shades you can achieve. Especially the white, for highlights.
I use Blue, Yellow, Crimson and of course White.
What do you do with your artworks? Sell Them?
I do not sell my art. I put them on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes people like a picture a lot and I give it to them as a gift. You can never tell what people will like. I just try to paint the picture I want to do, if other people like it - that’s a bonus.
Do you use a varnish? If so what (matte or gloss).
I don’t use varnish. It’s an idea, I have never thought of that. As I understand it varnishing can really bring a pictures colours to life. However, if I did, it would have to be something completely non-toxic, as I would not like to work with any questionable chemicals.
Anything else you think would be helpful to people out there that might just try this?
I love the act of painting. I feel the experience of doing it is very beneficial, mentally. I find it deflects negativity. And if I can do a painting that someone likes and give it to them as a gift, (knowing they would like it), that has made my day. I feel generosity is so much a part of all of this, (as we are all in this together), it brings an added dimension to it all, it really does. I feel that very deeply. I work as a nurse, and if my job has taught me anything it’s that life is just too short.