The traditional support for egg tempera is a rigid panel. Otherwise, if a more pliable support is used, the paint would crack and flake off as the support flexed. I paint on ?-inch panels of standard Masonite hardboard, upon which I apply—after two separate coats of rabbitskin glue sizing—five coats of true gesso to the front side and six coats to the back side. This is done to maintain equilibrium and prevent warping by allowing the moisture from the paint layers on the front to equal the sixth coat of gesso that was applied on the back.
Michelle Addis is a freelance writer living in Thousand Oaks, California.