Sausalito - Artist

Natasha Marquardt
Petaluma - Northern California Artist


Natasha Marquardt was born in Sankt-Peterburg, Russia in 1975. She began taking art classes at age seven, followed by art school, and she graduated from Art College. In Russia, her career includes ten years of miniature painting - icons. Employed by art studios and galleries, Natasha did restoration work, but primarily she painted portraits commissioned by customers from all over Europe.

Natasha is very experienced in lacquer art and icon painting, having a classical training in tempera. Her recent works are in acrylic but they are applied using the same methods she has used all of her life to produce lacquer art - whether on small wood boxes, stretched canvas, or board.

She is married with two children and moved to Petaluma in 2004.

Below are descriptions of the techniques employed by Natasha.

(Definition Of Applications from


Tempera (also known as egg tempera) is a type of artist's paint and associated art techniques that were known from the classical world, where it appears to have taken over from encaustic and was the main medium used for panel painting and illuminated manuscripts in the Byzantine world and the Middle Ages in Europe, until it was replaced by oil painting in Europe. It has remained the required medium for Orthodox icons. It is paint made by binding pigment in an egg medium. However, the term tempera in modern times is also used by some manufacturers to refer to what is called in America poster paint,[1] which is a form of gouache that has nothing to do with real egg tempera.

One might observe simply by washing breakfast dishes that egg yolk dries quickly and adheres firmly. Tempera was traditionally created by hand-grinding dry powdered pigments into egg yolk (which was the primary binding agent or medium), sometimes along with other materials such as honey, water, milk (in the form of casein) and a variety of plant gums. Many of the Fayum mummy portraits use tempera, sometimes in combination with encaustic. Oil paint was invented in the north of Europe during the Middle Ages (Theophilus mentions oil media in the 12th Century) and was the principal medium used from the 15th century in Early Netherlandish painting in northern Europe. Italy, Greece, and Russia were the major centers of tempera painting. Around the year 1500, oil paint replaced tempera in Italy. Tempera continued and continues to be used in Greece and Russia. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there were intermittent revivals of tempera technique in Western art, among the Pre-Raphaelites, Social Realists, and others.

Tempera paint dries rapidly. The techniques of tempera painting can be more precise when used with traditional techniques that require the application of numerous small brush strokes applied in a cross-hatching technique. The colors, which are painted over each other, resemble a pastel when unvarnished, and are deeper colors when varnished.

Tempera is normally applied in thin, semi-opaque or transparent layers. When dry, it produces a smooth matte finish. Because it cannot be applied in thick layers as oil paints can, tempera paintings rarely have the deep color saturation that oil paintings can achieve. On the other hand, tempera colors do not change over time[2], whereas oil paints darken, yellow, and become transparent with age.

True tempera paintings are quite permanent, and examples from the first centuries AD still exist, eg the Severan Tondo and some of the Fayum mummy portraits. Prominent egg tempera artists include nearly every painter of the Italian Renaissance before 1500 AD. For example, every surviving panel painting by Michelangelo is egg tempera.

Russian Lacquer Art:

Palekh miniature (Russian: Палехская миниатюра) is a Russian folk handicraft of miniature painting, which is done with tempera paints on varnished articles made of papier-mâché (small boxes, cigarette and powder cases etc.).

Russian lacquer art developed from the art of icon painting which came to an end with the collapse of Imperial Russia. The icon painters, who previously had been employed by supplying not only churches but people's homes, needed a way to make a living. Thus, the craft of making papier-mâché decorative boxes and panels developed, the items were lacquered and then hand painted by the artists, often with scenes from folk tales.

Palekh Russian lacquer art on papier-mâché first appeared in 1923 in the village of Palekh, located in the district of (Ivanovo Oblast), and is based on a long local history of icon painting. This handicraft and style of miniature painting bore different names throughout its development, such as the Palekh Artel of Ancient Painting (since 1924), Palekh Artists’ Association (since 1932), and Artistic Production Workshops of the Artistic Fund of the USSR (since 1953).

The technology of making a semi-finished product was borrowed from the lacquer handicraft masters of Fedoskino (see Fedoskino miniature). The Palekh miniatures usually represent characters from real life, literary works, fairy tales, bylinas, and songs. They are painted with local bright paints over the black background and are known for their delicate and smooth design, abundance of golden shading, and accurate silhouettes of flattened figures, which often cover the surface of the lids and sides of the articles completely. Poetic magic of the Palekh characters, decorativeness of landscapes and architecture, and elongated proportions of the figures go back to the icon-painting traditions. The miniatures are usually set off with a complicated pattern made with gold dissolved in aqua regia.

Russian Icon Painting:

The technique is known to us through Cennino Cennini's The Craftsman's Handbook (Il libro dell' arte) published in 1390, and other sources. It changed little over the centuries. It was a laborious and painstaking process. The usual ancient painting technique was encaustic, used at Al-Fayum and in the earliest surviving Byzantine icons, which are at the Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai. This uses heated wax as the medium for the pigments.

This was replaced before the end of first millennium by tempera, which uses an egg-yolk medium. Using small brushes dipped in a mixture of pigment and egg-yolk, the paint was applied in very small strokes. Because tempera (like encaustic) dries quickly and is not conducive to mistakes, each stroke had to be perfect each time. This exacting perfection shaped the nature and style of the art produced.

By the beginning of the 15th century, oil painting was developed. This was more tolerant, and allowed the exceptional detail of Early Netherlandish art. This used a very painstaking multi-layered technique, where the painting, or a particular part of it, had to be left for a couple of days for one layer to dry before the next was applied



Art Gallery-Preview

Contact Info:






Copyright © Artist Community. All right reserved.