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how to paint a fresco
Click on photo to see a larger version of the image.

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1. This fresco mural was painted in a swimming pool room that was mostly finished.   The wall was concrete where I worked.  Approximate square footage was 90 feet.   This photo shows the first coat of rough plaster (arriccio) that has dried, and now I'm preparing for the top coat of plaster by wetting the wall (darker area).
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2. Now we are trowelling on the top coat which is whiter plaster, because there is marble powder in it, and less sand (this is the intonaca).
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3. There's Jim Compo helping me get that plaster down quickly, since it is drying as we're working.
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4. I'm painting now, starting with light washes for the background and working my way into the middleground.  Notice I started from the top, because that plaster has set up first.  The plaster is firm to the touch, but I have to use softer brushes and work in light tones, because plaster is still delicate.  Notice, I painted bright colored peaches before foliage of the trees.
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5.  The plaster has finally set up hard enough after three hours of drying.  Now is called the "magic-time" when the plaster absorbs the paint best!  Now I can paint foreground details better and slow down to enjoy the painting process.
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6. More foreground work.  I'm building up colors by glazing color upon color.
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7.  More foreground work.
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8. It's getting late, and I can no longer use daylight, so the halogen light is on.
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9. Almost done!  6 1/2 hours of painting, and the plaster is still absorbing paint very well.
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10.  Finished!  Only thing left to do is fill the pool!