I got Ken to paint a test fresco in Lubbock (June 9). The challenge for me then, was to prepare the fresco panel and grind the pigments, so that all he had to do was paint. I was proud that I could reduce the whole set-up to a small kit that fit in my car, and then unpack it on a small table top.
We did have to mix some fine sand and lime (under all that water in the plastic bag) the day before, to make an intonaco fresco plaster:
Mixing the sand and lime. The final plaster was way too wet (not putty-like):
We stored the mix in 2 gallon Ziploc baggies:
I prepared to grind pigments in distilled water:
The metal scoop is a huge convenience, since I can quickly wipe it clean and dip into another color:
The tile place down the street cut a sheet of 1/4 inch Hardibacker into square panel supports:
I only soaked the Hardibacker tile in distilled water for about 15 minutes, because I remembered that the fresco plaster was too wet:
Then, I removed the tile and let enough water evaporate, so that the surface of the tile did not glisten.
I then continued to plaster the tile, following the same procedure we developed in Tucson:
Spreading the lime plaster, after which the panel surface was troweled smooth:
The finished fresco panel fit in a Masterson's Sta-Wet Palette:
The rest of the supplies fit nicely in a plastic box, which I could then easily load into my car:
I plastered the fresco about 3:30, but we didn't get to paint until about 8:30 PM -- which means that the lime sat for about 5 hours in Tupperware before Ken started painting. The fresco might have been too dry to paint on for much more than an hour. However, by then it was dark and we could not see anyhow.
After painting the fresco, we left it inside the plastic box for 2 days. Despite the cruel Lubbock heat, the fresco still had not dried, but did show small cracks developing in several places:
The test fresco seemed to work. I was concerned that the lime putty might have frozen during the 2 Tucson winters it was slaking, which would destroy the fresco mix.
Fresco requires a lot of preparation. My object is to take the nosebleed away from the ordeal, and prepare well enough, so that all the artist has to do is paint.