Friday, May 9, 2008

Celtic Swirls on a blue ground & how I got started with frescoes

These panels were painted with my pigments bought some time ago for my mural paintings. The designs are inspired by decorative woodcarving. These are painted on roof-tiles. Andrew Gathercole`s workshop really helped me get started up in several ways, where to buy the materials, where to find frescoes both ancient and modern. Since then, I have visited several churches with interesting frescoes, then I bought lime locally,and studied lists of lime tolerant colours, sorting out any possible supplies I had in stock. Ordering from suppliers has been a problem as no-one on the phone can answer any queries, they only process orders. One of my queries is .. if a colour e.g. viridian green is known as lime- OK, can I then buy that pigment, cheap and cheerful, at a local shop, or will it only be OK if it is ordered just from the specialists who OK`d this colour?

How I got started with frescoes

We were in California with our son Paul and wife Catherine ,and just spent two days plastering a barn with mud and lime plaster (as you do). We were packing to leave in twenty minutes and I said to the barn owner "This is lime fresco material, Wow ,if I had some powder pigments I could paint a fresco." "I have!" he said and he ran back into his house and came out with a box of pigments. I mixed them in bowls.

He found me an old board and a trowel, I slapped on lime plaster and tried to paint on the wet surface with a hog bristle painting brush. Hopeless! It was like painting on custard. I had minutes to go. With force I sprayed the paint on the wet surface well with colour. I looked closer and the force of my painting stroke had created little cups in the soft plaster, each lined with strong colour. Yessss!.

I washed brush and charged it with the next colour. By now I was painting "Wind in the grasses" I called it. I picked up a slender stick and added linear strokes. The others were packing the car. "Time to go" they called. I sat my first fresco flat in the back and we were off.

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