Title: Fresco Painting Workshop Submitted by: Lynne Centore, art teacher at Southwick High School.
This lesson is most effective when students have been exposed to a video or presentation on the restoration of the Sistine Chapel. Cast plaster tiles from school milk boxes. After they have set, pass out a tile for each student. After locating a color print of a section of the Sistine Chapel, cut it up into squares.
Distribute one square per student. Have students recreate their color likeness in the fresco method, using watercolors or tempera paints. When students have completed this exercise, have them come to the front of the room and lay their tiles in order of the print. Students will love the experience of painting in fresco and enjoy the group product.
One art teacher who did this lesson says, "I poured the plaster right onto burlap cut into 6X7" (15.25 x 17.8 cm) sizes (approx). Just pour enough to cover most of the center of the burlap leaving a small border of burlap showing. The plaster can be lightly sanded if there are rough patches, but the imperfections add to the fresco experience and realism."
"The students used photos of sea-life, flowers, or aquatic animals like frogs and lizards. I also had photos of butterflies. Any photo images used needed to be bright and colorful. We drew the images right onto the plaster using a pencil, which will erase just as if it were paper. Then the students painted the images using prang watercolors. The colors were very bright and beautiful on the plaster."
Shirley continues, "The final images came out very nice and the art I students were very proud of their works. Each fresco image was then mounted onto a piece of matboard by stapling the burlap edge several times which held the plaster image onto the matboard effectively. Once mounted they were hung on the wall to display.
We also discussed the Last Supper and it's restoration. The original paint was probably bright to begin with, but over time and pollution the paint faded."