my painting process

Many people have asked “what is a fresco?” or “why do you call your process modern fresco?”

In 2005 I began painting watercolor on paper, but because the paper became a huge limitation, I began searching for an alternative. I wanted to find a surface that would not need to be framed. In 2004, while living in Santa Fe, a Mexican craftsman -skilled in old world techniques- taught me an application of plaster to interior walls over adobe block construction using water and trowels. This technique is common in the southwest. The process of applying the plaster with trowels and water led me to search for a plaster surface that would take watercolor pigment. Frescoes play a big roll in art history but I hadn’t ever met a contemporary artist working in this method. Fresco secco is the term used for painting on a cured plaster surface, and after a bit of research, I found that there are many artists still working in this ancient process. Since my process is inspired by the traditional fresco secco and is not technically “fresco secco” as art historians would define it, I call my process “modern fresco”. My first step was to find a plaster or clay that was pH balanced. I found kaolin clay which is known for its ph balance and superior archival properties. When googling a supplier of this product, I discovered Ampersand art panels.  Their construction and craftsmanship impressed me and I decided that I would have this company produce my art surfaces.

My process of paint application is very similar to egg tempera; I use small controlled strokes of overlapping colors to create depth while letting the white clay surface illuminate through the pigment. These small strokes of color are built upon a wet plaster surface. My brushes are tiny round synthetics. Each painting takes many hours, days, weeks to complete and in the end, an iridescent quality emerges. When the painting is finished I seal it with an archival sealer.



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