How to prepare for painting a fresco (scetch, design, materials) Cartoon praparation. What it takes? (steps and tips) Preparation of the Wall or panel. Plaster ingredients and application. How to select, prepare and work with colors in Fresco? Principles of Fresco painting. Steps and tips Take a class! Enroll in our Fresco Workshop. Where to purchase Fresco materials? Technique introduction

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Authentic Fresco Brush

These Unique Fresco brushes made of fine bristle - the only suitable material capable to withstand alkaline action of the lime are being handcrafted in Italy by dedicated craftsmen, following the centuries old tradition and technique.


Calce Florentine - Lime Putty of the highest quality. The only Lime Putty we use in our studio. This Lime Putty comes from the same resource (pit) is being used on major fresco restorations in Italy.


One remarkable characteristics of painting on freshly laid plaster is that the single pigment "goes a long way" and with some practice gives the painter an infinite array of tone variations and color. Over 80% of vibrant yellows on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are painted with just yellow ochre. 

For your convenience we assembled two studio tested fresco pigment sets from the historic palette. 

Please note that all of the pigments in the sets except bianco san giovani can be ground with distilled water and kept under the layer of water for future use.
bianco san giovani must be kept in powdered form. Grind it with distilled water as needed for your painting day.

more about storing pigments at
Cafe al Fresco Forums in
"Storing Pigments" topic


Test pigments the following way - grind some pigment with water and mix the resulted paste with lime putty. Leave to sit for a long while (month?). If color changes - do not use it.

However this test is not the "ultimate test" - time is the best tester!
Here is an example from my studio:
I have about 2LB of the beautiful green - it was manufactured for fresco in 1930th, the original tin reads "Fine Fresco Pigments" - gift from a friend, former WPA artist. Guess what? this thing (gp) turns to ugly yellow almost as you mix it with lime. My explanation would be - some chemical reactions are very "slow" (read about it somewhere)- this pigment tested as perfect for fresco 70 years ago, but now formula became unstable.
So go figure!!!

Pigments you can trust:

Lime White
Cadmium Yellow, light
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Burnt Sienna
Pezzuole Red
Earth Red, red oxide
Light Red
Venetian Red
Cadmium Red
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Terra Verde
Malachite Green
Cobalt Green
Cobalt Blue
Lapis Lasuly (cost an arm and a leg)

Glass maulers are expensive, traditionally they where substituted with small polished blocks of marble or granite. You can get those cheaply in local marble place


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  Step by step tutorial on preparation for Fresco. We will guide You through development of the concept and design, building composition based on giornatas, calculating the time and steps, ordering material. 


  Developing of the Cartoon and making tracings. From concept sketch and color rendering to full scale Cartoon and color study. Finalizing giornatas layout and making tracings.


  Wall preparation. Plaster selection and application. Sand and lime mixtures. Humidity control and moisture. Tools and equipment. Tips from master-plasterer Ian Hardwick.


  Pigment selection and color preparation. Pigment grinding and storing ground base colors. Use of white and monitoring mixed colors during painting. Tools and equipment.


  Painting and joining giornatas. Steps in painting. Morning, midday, evening differences. "Golden Hour" and drying challenge. Plaster behaviors and planning of the painting day.


  Our Studio Fresco Workshop. Enrolment information. Pricing and schedule. "Learn Fresco painting technique first hand" from Ilia Anossov - painter and Ian Hardwick - plasterer.


  Materials for Fresco. Where and how to find and buy fresco supplies. Lime, pigments, brushes, etc. On-line ordering.


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