In the workshop we created two types of frescos. One on a large wall structure and the others on small ceramic tiles. There is a cement mixture that is referred as the “scratch coat,” which is only really needed for large structured frescos and is lime, sand, and cement. The main key for fresco is that the plaster has something textured and absorbent to hold on to. The second layer applied is called the “brown layer” which consists of sand and lime. The final layer on a fresco is the “painting coat.” This is lime and very fine sand or instead of lime you can use marble dust which gives a whiter and almost sparkling surface. The amount of water used in your fresco layers determines the amount of time you have before curing begins. When the surface cures a chemical reaction occurs creating crystals on the surface of your fresco which seals the pigment into the plaster!
The images you see below are a compilation of the steps we took in creating the large wall fresco. Michael taught us this specifically to experience joining two sections of fresco. "Giornata" is a term, originating from an Italian word which means "a day's work." This describes the daily segments of the painting.
When painting you must use pigments mixed with distilled water only. Regular water should be avoided when painting fresco and the milk from your lime can be used to create opaque layers. The beauty of fresco is the amount of layers painted through time to create colors and tones. We practiced a great deal painting indirectly…meaning creating an area of green by applying transparent layers of yellow and blue over one another. You must NEVER paint over the same area twice and too soon. The fresco needs time to absorb the color, and painting too quickly and too often can damage the crystals on the surface and the absorbency of your fresco.