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Entries in historical styles (1)

Friday
Sep212012

Painting a Fresco

My friend Olivia, was, what my Uncle Bert would term, "a classy broad".  She had a voice that reminded me of Katherine Hepburn and she wore clothes well.  She knew about art and she was snobbish about shoes.  Olivia and I were not close;  and when I told her that I admired and loved her, she would blush and pass it off.  However, when she died suddenly and I heard about it secondhand from a friend about it, I wept, and to this day I still have a lump in my throat for my friend Olivia.

So, when I fell in love with the fresco painting of Livia's Garden....the gorgeous, poetic fresco in the Empress Livia's garden room....the one from long ago and buried Herculaneum.  I wanted to paint my version of it.  And of course I named it "Olivia's Garden". While I didn't paint it with tempera paint on wet lime plaster, I did paint it with mat acrylic paints on venetian plaster.  I LIKED painting on plaster then and do to this day, and quite a few of my clients like it as well.  I don't copy directly, but I relate to the style and the poetry of its execution.  Here are some examples.

......and the studies I made before I painted the final work. It's important for me to do this. For me, a copy just doesn't sing.

  

It's a bias of mine....doing study and renderings before I do the work.  And to put my own stamp on it. Drawing is a way of knowing, and with historical styles, for me, it is the best way immerse myself in the forms of an age.  And, if one skips learning to draw, the results are merely pretty colors.

Here are a few more "fresco" pieces I have done for clients.

A "fresco" on Venetian plaster for Seattle's Jergens Paint company. The owner asked me to include his father's signature (designed by Iskra Johnson, famed letter designer and illustrator), and elements of the painting trade–note the drop sheet and the paint brush and bucket along with scenes of Mt. Ranier and local songbirds.  This takes pride of place in their company atrium.

Then I painted a children's grottesca on a 60"by 20" venetian plastered wooden panel. The texture and the way the plaster takes the paint is really to my liking.

Here's a detail.  Pan with his pipes and portraits of the two children of my client's household.  The boy and girl opening the theatre curtains to let the sun shine through.  And a jazz band stomping away under the top pergola.

 

There's a dusty subtle quality to painting on plaster

Above is one of my small pieces on plaster–my warbling mascot for my Etsy shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/NightinGaleStreet?ref=si_shop

And, of course, my original inspiration.  Livia's Garden.  Now in Museo Nacional in Rome.  Ahh–so lovely!