Saturday, January 22, 2011

More January updates!

I took advantage of the January break by working some long hours on the fresco. To this point, the tall figure is the result of three 21-23 hour days of painting, plus a fourth 20 hour day that was scraped off (painfully so). The hallway lights were off at the time I took these photos; the mural is being lit from the sky light in the atrium. When the lights are on the wall is lit fairly evenly, without shadows.

This last image was a fun shot that I took standing next to the mural. I simply looked up and shot the photo. I love how the vantage point skews the proportions and it gives you a good sense of the scale of the figure (gigantic). If you look carefully (click image to get a larger view) you can see faint lines that come from the transfer. Essentially I draw the image to scale on a large piece of paper. I hold it up to the wet plaster and transfer the drawing by incising the drawn line with my fingernail, which leaves a linear dent on the smooth white plaster. The dent fills in a tad darker when passed over with paint.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January update

hello everyone,

I'm still chipping away (literally in some cases) at the fresco. Here are some images showing where the image is today, which takes you all the way to my latest section, a 4.5 foot-tall face (a couple images down). In Sr. Wiley fashion, this face alone is the result of a working session that began at 8am on one day and ended at 5am the next (21 hours total, 12+ were actual painting).

A note: traditionally fresco paintings are completed sectionally in horizontal rows, starting at the top of the mural. This helps ensure that unexpected drips fall onto unfinished portions of the painting, rather then sections that were completed the day before. Despite the logic of this practice, and with great caution, I've chosen to work the figures first, irregardless of their vertical placement. I plan to finish the negative spaces between them, which include transparent echoes of figures towards the end of the fresco.

This image shows the greenish-gray under painting, commonly referred to as the "verdacchio". Once the completed verdacchio has sat for 30 min, I can add transparent glazes of color . These layers of color build slowly until enough have amassed to fully pigment the image.

This is my palette. It includes cups of fresco-safe pigments ground in water. I mix colors (mostly) by layering transparent glazes from this basic set. I use paper towels to control the amount of water in my brush, which helps prevent dripping and allows me to respond to the plaster's changing thirst, with more or less wetness.

Traditionally painters squeeze out excess water and paint from brush with their finger tips. I've opted not to squeeze and instead use paper towels to control the water because some of the pigments are toxic.

The irregular white border around these figures will be carefully chipped away with a sharp chizel before working on sections that bump up to these figures.