The medium of buon frescothrough its aesthetic appeal and its long and venerable tradition in liturgical settings, stands as a symbol for the beauty and permanence of the church and the continuity of the liturgical practice over the centuries.

In buon fresco the image is painted directly on the wall, on the wet skin of the plaster.  As the plaster cures, the lime crystalizes around the pigment particles bonding the paint permanently to the plaster surface.  The design of the compositions is only one step in a long process.  It is followed by multiple color studies on paper, small fresco samples, enlargements, and tracings. In the meantime, the wall is prepared with a substrate of rough plaster.  Next, the artist transferrs the composition onto the dry plaster and paints it in ‘sinopia’, or red paint  This ébauche will later serve as a map for dividing the wall into ‘giornatas’ or ‘frescoing’ day.  We use the highest quality lime, locally mined sand, and natural pigments, a variety of earths from different parts of the world, minerals such as malachite, and semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli 

The relationship between the artist and the plasterer is  very important.  The plastering artisan creates the optimal wall environment on which the artist’s work can come to life. Theogether, the team can plaster and paint an area of 9-16 square feet per day.  Once started, the image has to be completed in the same day and while the plaster is viable.  At the end of the work day, or 'giornata', the edge of the plaster is cut before it sets to create a clean edge, and the adjacent area is prepared to receive new plaster on the following day.

As much as the project allows, we like to involve the community through educational programs at the work site in the form of lectures, workshops, and volunteer and apprenticeship opportunities.

Ioana Belcea, artist, at work painting the ‘verdaccio’

Ian Hardwick, master plaster,  at work plastering an area for a ‘giornata’