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Charles Barbour, Tempera Egg Artist


Charles F. Barbour (Rick) is a native of Western Pennsylvania, currently residing in Eastern Connecticut.

​Charles began playing musical instruments professionally (drums/percussion) in the 8th grade. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Physics and Music, and the Juilliard School, Artist Diploma and Master of Music

He performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (percussionist), and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (Principal Timpani), at 38 and 45 years respectively. 


Charles served three years in the army, 327th Army Band, Baltimore, and the Army Band at West Point, NY.


Active as a watercolor artist and black & white photographer through the 90s, combining watercolor and egg tempera in the late 90s. 

Charles took an extended hiatus and studied with tempera artist Koo Schadler. Charles is currently working in egg tempera exclusively.

The Art of Egg Tempera Painting

Egg Tempera painting was popular in Europe in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, gradually falling out of fashion with the advent of oil painting. It possibly goes further back in time, to the Egyptians.


In all paint there are basically three elements; powdered pigment, a binder that holds the pigment to the surface being painted, and a solvent. Egg Tempera paint consists of powdered pigment, often made into a paste so as not to deal regularly with the powder (which may be toxic), the binder, which is egg yolk, and the solvent, which is water. Because of the egg yolk, the paint must be made each time you paint.


Egg Tempera must be done on a rigid surface that is absorbent. Traditionally, the surface was a well-dried wood panel coated with a number of layers of gesso (Gesso - made from rabbit skin glue and chalk or marble dust). My paintings are on Baltic Birch panels which I coat with seven or more layers of gesso. Do to all the above, there is a certain craft element involved. 


Unlike oil paint which can be applied thickly and blended, Egg Tempera is done in many, many thin layers, eventually taking on a unique luminescence.  The blending is the result of the many layers. A painting may consist of a hundred or more layers. My paintings are labeled “Egg Tempera and True Gesso on Baltic Birch Panel”.

My Approach

In my painting, I am attracted by the inherent luminosity as well as the detail possible in egg tempera. My approach is as follows. Working at this time in still-life, my method is to start with one or more carefully composed photos and combine everything into a mockup of the image, which may also consist of some drawing and painting.


Although the image may be altered throughout the painting process, the majority of the creative work is at this stage. From the mockup, I create a careful drawing of the painting, which is then transferred to a true gesso panel (gesso on 1/2” Baltic Birch plywood). Then the actual painting begins.


I endeavor to be informed by contemporary masters such as Koo Schadler and painters of the Renaissance, masters of composition, light, and superb technique.

My Approach to painting on Baltic Birch plywood.

My Art Work in 2022 - 2023

Floated Panels and Frames

Several of my paintings involve what’s known as a floating panel. In this, the painting panel is affixed to a slightly larger backing panel. I then apply gesso to the backing panel, then gold leaf, which may have some stenciled decoration or embossing. That being finished first, I commence with the painting. This whole assemblage is then set in a frame, the result being the painted panel with a small gold leafed “moat” around it.


I make the frames myself. They are made of solid walnut wood, in an assortment of moldings. They all have gold leaf over the innermost portion that covers the edge of the painting, securing it in the frame

My Framed Art Work in 2022 - 2023

Kanpai in Frame

Kanpai 2023

7 3/8" W x 9 1/2" H

framed orange & Bonsaijpeg

Orange & Bonsai 2023

8 3/8" W x 8 3/8" H

Hibiscus and Orange Framed Painting, 2022

Hibiscus & Orange 2022

7 5/8" W x 9" H

Red Anjou & Hydrangea Framed painting

Red Anjou & Hydrangea 2023

6" W x 8" H

Handle with Care framed painting

Handle with Care 2022

6 5/8"  W x 9 1/4" H

Out with the new framed painting

Out With The Old 2023

6: W x 8" H

Tulips framed painting, Spring, 2022

Tulips - Spring 2022

6" W x 8"H

Japanese Anemone & Sedum Framed Painting, 2022

Japanese Anemone & Sedum 2022

6 1/2" W x 8 1/2" H

If you would like to schedule time for collaboration, pricing, and exhibition dates, please use the contact form below.


Wickford Art Association

(Juried Artist Member)

A Splash of Color

(First Place, Hibiscus & Orange)

New Haven Paint & Clay Club

Exhibits in New Haven galleries and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts

Time Swiftly Passes by

(Honorable Mention 2021)

Mystic Museum of Art 

Culture, Creativity, and Community.

Lyme Art Association


(Award of Merit)

Out with the Old, Framed Painting, 2023


For information about  Exhibition dates, collaboration, or pricing please send us an email!

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