Saturday, February 4, 2017



For this project we will be working in small groups to make a medieval- style triptych.  A triptych is a series of three paintings that go together, attached by hinges so that it can open and close.  Triptychs were used by priests to say Mass and also as private devotional objects.


Introductory Slideshow Presentation


-sketching paper
-pencil/ eraser
-scissors (heavy-duty such as kitchen scissors)
-fine point black marker or art pen
-art board...I recommend  Canson Montval Watercolor Art Board 16" x 20"
-guache watercolor paint in tubes
-aluminum foil
-watercolor brushes, round tip
-gold paint marker (I recommend Sharpie brand). Note: this is different from a regular gold sharpie. 


Students may refer to this document to help them with this research and planning phase:

Student References

For expanded version with all steps, open this slideshow:

Slideshow--Triptych Altarpiece

For abbreviated version, keep reading.

Phase I:  Research/ Design

My example:

These are the references I drew from in making my own design:



Phase II: Execution 

Measure and cut out your art board into three panels that match up when folded closed. Re-draw a final version of your design and go over it with a fine, permanent marker or art pen.

Get set up to paint.


Separate your egg yolk from the egg white, discard egg white.

Measure about 1/2 egg yolk and 1/2 water into a cup.  Mix.

Mix a bit of watercolor paint with your egg mixture.  Stick with one color at a time as the paint becomes no good before long.

On a scrap piece of art board, practice making hatching and cross hatching strokes.  Be sure to extend your strokes so that lay flat and smooth.

Begin to apply your first layer of paint, one color at a time, using hatching and cross hatching strokes.

For lighter skin, apply a few layers of a red-yellow or brown mix, diluted way down with the egg mixture to make it lighter.  Darker skin doesn't have to be quite as diluted.  Be sure that before adding a second layer that your first layer is completely dry.  You may conservatively add some diluted down red accents to cheeks and lips.

Begin to apply your second layer of paint once first layer is dried.  If possible, go with an even finer brush and smaller strokes to give paint a more even appearance.   Either hatching (strokes in one direction) or cross hatching (strokes in multiple directions) may be used.

Here in Mary's red dress you can see the first and second layer of paint.  In her blue mantle you can see the second and in places a third, more cerulean blue layer.

For the background, use a gold paint marker to get a gilded effect.

With white duct tape, attach the back of your panels so that your triptych will be able to close.

From the front color your hinges with the gold paint marker so they blend in.

If you are ambitious, you may paint on the back of the panels as well.  

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