“ The practice of Fresco painting is not adapted for copyists, or timid

painters, or

irresolute persons, who necessarily avail themselves of the genius of others…….”

(1734 Don Acislo Antonio Palomino de Castro y Velasco)

In 1998 I spent five months at ‘Il Laboratorio per Affresco di Vainella Tuscany Italy, under the direction of the Master Leonetto Tintori studying the techniques of buon fresco, auto staccante, secco fresco, stucco luccido - encausto, sgraffito and scagliola.

  • Fresco painting has an ethereal quality with a surface texture with a semblance of stone.

  • Fresco, like a pedantic Master, tells you when it is ready to be painted, demanding the respect   of   the   artist from the beginning.

  • Traditional Fresco was fraught with the problems of finding Jesuits from whom to buy blue        pigment, wall murals that stretch into an eternity, and bad backs.

  • Contemporary Fresco is a simple process which intensifies colour and light

​I am offering workshops in Fresco Painting which are designed for practicing artists and those who have an interest in fresco as a form of contemporary or traditional painting. This course will provide a basic knowledge of the techniques of buon fresco, auto-staccante and secco fresco.
FRESCO – Varieties of methods
  1. BUON FRESCO  – Buon Fresco is the painting of an image on wet plaster using a ‘cartoon’. With this method the fresco may be applied to limestone, brick or stone walls. The painting surface is made up of a mixture of aged lime putty and washed river sand. There are two layers applied. Firstly the ‘arricio’ and then a finer mixture for the painting surface called the ‘intonico’. One paints onto this wet surface with a mixture of pure pigment and water. This technique was used in Egypt, Europe, Mexico and South America. It is from this technique that other modern methods have evolved.
  2. AUTO STACCANTE  -  In Italy we experimented with ways of taking Fresco beyond the traditional Italian representation into a contemporary context.  This method that enables a finished fresco to be made portable.
  3. SECCO FRESCO  - involves the painting of pigments on to dry (secco) plaster. This is a very effective method for making works for strappo fresco
  4. STRAPPO FRESCO  -  The first stage of restoration where the fresco is removed from the wall onto pieces of gauze with glue. The wall is repaired and the fresco is then transferred back to the wall surface.
  5. ENCAUSTO  - Ammonia and wax are used as a medium for the pigment giving the work a beautiful polished surface similar to a polished ceramic tile when finished.  This is believed to be the method used in Pompeii.
  6. STUCCO LUCIDO – A layer of wax is added to the surface.
  7. SGRAFFITO -   Two layers of plaster are applied with the bottom layer blackened with pigment. When dry the image is scratched through the top layer, thus exposing the bottom.
  8. SCAGLIOLA  -  This method is used for patterned borders on wall designs.
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