Painting on Location
by Donald A. Jusko

Fresco Painting with Titanium White Pigment

I First Painted the Top Intonaco Mortar Coat with Titanium White.

I'm going to add a little titanium white to every color. The first coat on the mortar was titanium white, so I wouldn't see the gray color the sand made.

I found a subject, 2 Duracell Batteries. They have the bunny inside so the fresco will last a long time :)
No pre drawing, drawn on the fresco mortar from life using only three colors, titanium white and the 3 primaries on the RCW.

My painting brush is my blending brush, same color, with no extra water, blot it out until the plaster can't draw water or add lime water from the brush.

Here is my test: To paint thinly and opaquely by always adding white titanium pigment, a little even in the deepest darks. No transparent washes. The paint consistency will be about as thick as milk, that's much thinner than the oil or acrylic consistencies of paint. Thicker than that won't absorb and won't allow a calcium carbonate coating. All the pigment must soak into the mortar.

When you clean the brush in water, squeeze it dry and add lime water to the brush. Two much lime water takes too long to soak in. The three colors don't stain but stay in the the brush with tenacity, you must use soap and water before each major color change. Thalo Blue is hard to remove, you must use soap and water.

I love fresco! It's so forgiving. Put down a color, put down another color to change it a few minutes later like you were painting on dry paint.

The little specks of sand I didn't see bother me but what the heck, I started painting before the sheen was gone. Lime milk shrinks a little and it must have been hiding the specks in the extra lime that came to the top as I was smoothing down the top coat. Small problem :) Next time I'll wait until the sheen is gone, and I'll get a smoother surface also. The slight surface indentation in the top left is getting more pronounced, it was level, but level included some white lime paste/milk that I was bringing to the surface as I troweled.

The better, harder, troweled to finished mortar makes the trowel sing, and takes pressure to squeeze out the water. It shines, not from being wet, but by having a flat reflective surface.

Since I'm not now worried about ruining brushes I'm using my good acrylic brushes with the flat end and round ferrule plus some Series 7 pointed rounds. The flat end hair and round ferrule style of brush isn't in the product sales catalogs any more :( It's a sign painters lettering brush. They don't think today's artists letter. Cleaning a brush in vinegar will remove any remaining lime. Any lingering color can be removed with isopropyl alcohol and soap and water. I like my brushes. TIP: Always pull your brush stroke, never push.

No pencil sketch, no lines. The border shows the only three colors used.

One yellow, Indian Yellow B/s PY108, I don't have the O/s PY153 or PY100 yet. Alizarin Crimson PR83 is a warm magenta plus Quinacridone. Magenta PR122, a perfect magenta. Cyan is Thalo Blue PB15:1, I don't have the Blue/side PB15:6. Later I only use PB15.3, that's the standard, just call it PB15 or cyan.

Just starting

The background is very pale to test colors lightened with titanium white instead of transparent washes.
The gray and black possibilities are endless
with this 3 color combination plus white.


My mortar will be smoother next time.. Look how the alizarin crimson turned brown in that lower border stripe. The quinacridone magenta 36RCW#11, PR122 is still a strong magenta ten years later, 2014. PY100 is now my giclee yellow transparent ink, cyan ink is still 36RCW#25, PB15, magenta ink is still 36RCW#11.

SIX DAYS LATER, when most major color changes have already happened it looked great. This is the way to paint fresco. My pale colors still have color, with lime paste or lime water they would be gone by now.
TWO WEEKS LATER the colors were still perfect. DON'T THIN YOUR PALE COLORS WITH LIME WATER, USE TITANIUM WHITE. They did use lime milk or lime putty to lighten colors in the past but you can't see your final color while your painting. Use titanium white instead. WYSIWYG (Am I showing my age? 72 in 2014 and proud of it.)

INSTEAD OF LAYING WHITE DOWN FIRST. Using the 3 primary colors saves a lot of time.

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edu., art: Learn to paint anything in front of you with accurate colors. Use a new, different, color wheel and palette that matches the light and shadows with pigments.

3 Frescos DVD $35
5"x5" Laminated Real Color Wheel $10.00.