Sylvia Fein – A Surrealist of the Mid-West

by Pasadena Adjacent

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A few years back the editor saw a show at LACMA titled “In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artist in Mexico and the United States. Ms Fein was one of those women. A self described surrealist of the mid-west, she’s feisty, has got a great story to tell and has lived long enough to see herself appreciated. One of the great pleasures of the recent past has been this push to see artist of invisibility brought to light. Even more so when it’s a woman. Who lives in a fantastic house. And loves nature. The above video (link) is a short film on her life. She was 93 at the time of the interview. Keep working – there is hope for us all.

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Egg tempera produces paint with a matt lustre. The traditional technique is to use cross hatching with a fine pointed sable brush. Egg tempra is made by using 1 part water to 1 part egg yolk. Dried pigments can be obtained at Blicks. Egg tempra is painted on wood panels (this is includes masonite). But the panels need to be prepared. The editor recommends ‘Formulas for Painters’ by Robert Massey. The book offers 200 recipes for making grounds, mediums, glazes, varnishes, fixatives and adhesives. Some recipes date as far back as the Renaissance. Some require a stove. You’ll feel like an alchemist.

You can see a few of Sylvia Fein’s paintings here