Gum tempera

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A mixture of pigment in Drying oil emulsified with Gum arabic and Glycerin to produce a bright, transparent paint. Gum arabic and other polysaccharides, such as Gum tragacanth and fruit gums, have been used as water-soluble paint media for many centuries. To form gum temperas, the water-soluble gums are combined with drying oils, and sometimes natural resins, to form milky emulsions. Glycerin is often added to keep the mixture from separating. Even with the addition of oil or resin, the dry gum tempera paint films are water-sensitive and should be treated similar to watercolors.

Synonyms and Related Terms

temple de goma (Esp.); acuarela (Esp.); guache (Esp.); têmpera de goma (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • D. van der Reyden "Identifying the Real Thing" link