I prepared 2 more fresco surfaces and left them with Francisco Delgado, before relocating to Tucson (on October 17th) . The panels were just a tad smaller than automotive drip pans, which we used to carry the frescoes, since they were so heavy. Apparently we treated these panels like small walls, when we could have made the plaster much thinner.
Francisco painted the mural (not fresco) on the side of the Sagrado Corazon church in El Paso. This detail is of Pancho Villa eating Chico's Tacos:
The full mural:
The two figures, of a man carrying a woman, were taken from a Luis Jimenez sculpture "Border Crossing":
Basically I used the same steps to prepare these two fresco panels, that Francisco and I took to prepare the first large fresco. Therefore what follows only touches on the things I did differently.
After soaking the Hardibacker panel in distilled water for 2 days, I poured off the yellowish water:
I plastered a scratchcoat onto the 2nd panel, covered it in plastic, and returned 9 days later (Sept 14). The plaster had mostly hardened -- without cracks -- but I could still dig into it with my fingernails. Unfortunately, the plastic had settled onto the plaster, making it smooth and slick, which would keep the following plaster, ie the browncoat, from adhering. Thus I roughed up the dried scratchcoat with metal brushes before it fully set:
The roughed up scratchcoat:
I did not cover the 3rd panel with anything, after I plastered the scratchcoat -- and that scratchcoat dried perfectly. The cement in that mix sets quick enough to keep the lime from cracking.
After plastering the 2nd panel with a browncoat, I covered it under a corrugated plastic board, lifted high enough not to touch the plaster, and covered it all in plastic. That browncoat dried without cracking, in over a week:
I tried a new method to browncoat the 3rd panel -- using a powerful drill to mix the plaster very quickly. Mixing by hand gives me blisters, so I was happy to cheat this way. However, I might have mixed a lot of air into the plaster:
I cut 4 empty distilled water containers in half, and used them as supports, to hold up a sheet of corrugated plastic. Then I covered it all in plastic, to let the panel dry slowly:
However, one crack surfaced in the browncoat of the 3rd panel. If the plaster had dried too rapidly, more cracks would have developed. I suspect that I did not plaster that spot well enough, or perhaps air made the crack (air that I mixed into the plaster with the power drill):
...to be continued...