Sometimes you just need time to play and work on something just for the fun of it. I’ve had an idea for a backsplash for a long time and when I needed to organize a painting demo for artwalk El Paseo in Palm Desert at Richard Danskin Gallery I thought this was a good opportunity to play with the idea.
To make it interesting for the demo I half painted it in Arizona, wrapped in wet towels and burlap and then worked on the other half during the demo in California 6 hours away. I wrapped it up again to finish it up at home. Everything seemed to be going great, I met lots of people and explained the art of fresco painting to many folks who wandered in but alas, I wasn’t able to give this fresco the full attention it required.
It may look ok here but the 2 sides weren’t balancing. I tried to compensate but I had a feeling a lot of the painting was not adhered as the plaster was dangerously dry near the end. I decided to let it cure a few weeks to see how much of the color I would lose before making any final judgements.
I wiped it down to prepare it for sealing and as suspected a lot of the color was not adhered to the plaster at all. It was just sitting on top and washed away immediately. But this was a learning project so I just kept going.
Since this was an idea for a backsplash application I wanted to see if spaghetti sauce or spattered oil would be a problem to clean off. I sealed it with the best penetrating sealer I could find, did a test with soapy water and my kitchen sponge and everything worked out perfectly.
This fresco was durable, which meant the whole idea was do-able! Lets keep going! Since we are used to seeing frescoes that are at least 500 years old I decided to continue by distressing it so that I would also find out how much abuse it would actually take!
I quickly found out that the sealer I used was a great choice! It is the same thing you would use on Canterra marble, limestone etc. It doesn’t change the matte quality I just love of fresco, and does not change the color either. But this fresco was super durable it wasn’t budging, so out came the big guns…sanding pads.
I worked cautiously and slowly but ended up with a result I loved, and after a tiny bit of restoration work I gave it another couple of coats of sealer and a final test. A good soak with the garden hose did nothing! Water beaded up beautifully and it dried very quickly.
So what did I learn? Don’t get too attached to a piece! If things aren’t working out, perhaps there is a reason! Maybe there is something to discover, maybe there is a lot of learning that can happen when you just have nothing more to lose.
In this case I am a big winner because I think this would look just great in somebodies kitchen! Could it be yours? You can bet I’ll be doing this again! I am thinking pomegranates, figs, walnuts on a warm hued background…and of course always gotta have a few grapes! I’ll probably change the proportions, and have fun with different designs, the possibilities are endless! Could you envision a fresco backsplash in your kitchen? Stay posted!
Post a Comment ›
What is a Bas Relief Fresco? I’ve been enthralled with ‘Basso Rilievo’ since my 5 month sojourn in Florence and full immersion in the wonderful world of Ghiberti, Donatello and Della Robbia. It took years and circumstance to get me to tackle the medium, but now that I have I am in love.
“Fontana Bella” above and “Le Tre Porte” below are now hanging in Richard Danskin Gallery in Palm Desert CA, ready to find new homes. Both are No. 1 in an edition series of 3 where the patina’s and frescoed portions will change.
2 dimensional paintings (frescoes) on a 3 dimensional substrate (bas reliefs), built in clay and cast in plaster, are an unusual combination but one that are strikingly beautiful together.
Once this pandora’s box was opened, the lid flew off. I turned to sculptor and friend Bryce Pettit from the Celebration of Fine Art. A small bas relief heron in bronze finds a new home in a fresco marshland. The old worn wood was found in the forest at our home in Canada during an early spring hike 2 years ago.
All of the elements in this piece harmonize a feeling of serenity and peace. Waters flow and watch the passing of time, a great blue heron waits, grasses bend with the wind, and glow with the fall. Bulrushes burst as the cold weather nears.
A small fish sulks in a crevice hiding for survival. Thank you Bryce Pettit for your inspiration and willingness to play with me. It is always a pleasure to combine talents and textures and mediums.
In this Bas Relief Fresco “Autumn Hunt” my muskoka forest home is represented in fresco for the very first time.
A tiny life size May Fly hugs this century old wood salvaged from the hills of Calabria. My Italian and Canadian sides merge in this detail.
Blue skies emerge as copper leaves carpet the forest floor. This is my favorite time of year, when the leaves are half up, and half down. Is it almost time to hibernate?
….maybe after one last meal.
I hope you enjoy the play and inter-play of these 2 mediums of fresco and bas relief sculpture. Now that I have entered the 3rd dimension I will likely play for a while and I look earnestly to new opportunities for collaboration and explorations. Who will be next?
Post a Comment ›
Upon arriving in the Palm Springs area it was very apparent that this was ‘the place to be.’ I loved all of it, the mid century architecture that is in abundance, celebrated and restored, the hollywood folklore, the close proximity of the mountains, the palm trees, citrus all wrapped up in a surprisingly small town feel.
The gallery reception was a lot of fun. Richard Danskin Gallery has been on the strip since 1968 and is in an immpeccable location. The El Paseo First Thursday Art Walk was a great success although the weather was a little cooler than normal. Rain threatened but never came and we had about 200 visitors throughout the evening.
The next day Franco and I had the opportunity to take in some sights, the galleries in El Paseo are splendid, and we were able to attend the nations #1 Art Festival at the same time in La Quinta. Was great to see old artist friends Richard Hall and Heidi Rosner and their beautiful newest works…..all around beautiful day.
Hope to be back soon! Today I will endeavour to finish the work I started on the fresco I was ‘demo-ing.’
It has been raining very hard in Scottsdale so the damp weather is on my side while all tucked away under wet towels and plastic.Thankfully the fresco survived the trip there and back, let’s see what happens from here! Will you stay posted?
Post or View Comments ›