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Contemporary fresco painting

Updated on November 16, 2014

Painting feminine figures on coated boards in the style of the fresco

This Page is about an Italian established artist known as Ghetto, who experimented a modern version of the fresco technique, personalising it to an excellent standard. She paints her figures on a layer of plaster spread onto wooden boards.

Ghetto devoted herself to the feminine figure, expressing her own personality and finding her inspiration down deep inside her identity and experience.

The latest works are based on old wooden boards that have already been used for packagings. Printed markings might occasionally appear on these supports, together with the grain and the knots in the wood, in perfect synergy with the image.

The fresco technique

The fresco technique involves the use of freshly laid plaster. The artist traditionally paints whilst the plaster is still fresh, to allow the water-based colors to dry together with their support, and to become an integral part of the wall.

A true fresco must be executed on a freshly plastered wall - the italian word "fresco" actually means "fresh". There are also "dry frescos", known as fresco secco : this technique uses lime water on the surface of a dry wall.

The main difficulty of the real fresco method is the fact that the whole work must be done in one day - before the plaster dries and incorporate the color pigments.

laying plaster on wood support
laying plaster on wood support

..and Ghetto's reinterpretation

When the plaster is laid onto wooden supports

While frescos traditionally represent a technique of mural painting, Ghetto lays the plaster onto wooden boards, that provide a solid support for the artwork.

The subject of the artwork - mainly female figures - is then painted directly on the dry layer of plaster, allowing the colours to play with the imperfections of the surface and combine with them in perfect synergy.

We can say that the chosen technique is fresco secco on a different support - the wood.

Ghetto signature
Ghetto signature

The Artist's point of view

Ghetto talks about her artworks

"Everyone sets their own priorities using which they assess and appreciate what life has to offer. The experience imparted forges us in a certain way, and the emotions stimulated depends on the individual.

Invisible isthmuses, created by thoughts and feelings flowing from the soul.

They are my words, my way of being and feeling, and I express them through my work, in the form of colors, faces, bodies, drapes.

I talk about what I know best. I talk about myself.

I love to represent the figure as it is, studying postures and lights, recreating the volumes with the shadow play.

My figures always have a dark side, something undefined. This is what I try to capture and then return to the public through the design, the brush stroke, the search for perfection into the imperfect. The beauty of the body expresses a deep desire for perfection, an allegory of striving towards

being the best, a goal, something that gives meaning to life (and, of course, it is not the shape of a body that I am talking about).

So much emotion comes out from these wooden boards, which I use as a base for my painting. They have been used for packaging. I interact with their "imperfections" in wood, with the written pre-existing base and create a blend shape, as a complete work already begun.

My figures are hardly ever set in a well-known place (such as a room, a bed or a sofa ...). They float in the space, just too far from any precise reference, so that the observer can easily ascribe them to their own intimate situation, as metaphors of their feelings, moods, inner conflicts."

"Maternity" - Oil on plaster - 50x40cm /19.7x15.7 In

The gentleness and sweetness of these maternity paintings fill you up with an ecstatic feeling of joy.

This type of paintings also represent perfect gifts for expecting mothers looking for something different.

Visit the Gallery to enjoy more of Ghetto's paintings on plaster.

Painting on second-hand boards / The "risparmio" technique - When the wood interacts with the image

Thoughts before rehearsal
Thoughts before rehearsal

Pre-used packaging wood boards as are given a second life

(Title of the artwork above: "Thoughts before rehearsal")

Ghetto's latest works are based on old wooden boards that have already been used for packagings. Printed markings might occasionally appear on these supports, together with the grain and the knots in the wood, in perfect synergy with the image.

The second-hand boards begin a meaningful dialogue with their creatures and knots and veins thus become words on the wings of emotion. Ultimately, she loves to paint the wooden boards in the way of risparmio [1]. Printed markings might occasionally appear on these supports, lending something hidden and mysterious to the figure itself: they enhance the benefit of formless form, to quote Kant: "... the natural beauty of the object on the form, that limitation, the sublime to the contrary can also be found in a formless object, since it implies a representation or lead to the unlimited, conceived in its entireness...".

[1] The technique of painting through "risparmio" (=saving) is an old trick of painting in which the dark base of the painting was left uncovered (in this case Ghetto leaves the wooden board exposed). A long time ago, this technique was used to create halftone. It was used as a tone preparation equivalent to the dark elements, which were darkened in last with a fine brush dipped in black. The term 'savings' is related to the concept of reducing the amount of color used in the final painting, in order allow the artist to work quickly toward the final result.

Capturing the beauty of the feminine figure - the artist's own identity - in armony with the past

the red dress - Ghetto
the red dress - Ghetto

(Title of the artwork above: "The red dress")

Ghetto conveys in a gesture a universal meaning: that gesture is an important vehicle for meanings that the artist knows, and intends to use.

She focuses her work on the twist of bodies, on the bath of lights and shadows, but especially on the proportions of those bodies that represent her and the other ones, all of us.

While doing this, the artist is able to assess herself, both as woman and as an artist, through the metaphor of the person represented or the portrait.

In her latest works, the artist strives to seize the moment when the woman stops to think.Â

Her beautiful women are not meant to sell anything, they are there to remind the world of small things, like emotions, and memories.

Ghetto's models offer their souls, and are immortalised in a limbo of thoughts and emotions.

Vote your favourite painting! - ..choose from the ones displayed on this Page

Love - oil on plaster
Love - oil on plaster

Choose the painting you liked the most

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    • profile image

      donnarose60 4 years ago


    • shawnhi77 lm profile image

      shawnhi77 lm 5 years ago

      Really lovely lens.

    • cjbmeb14 lm profile image

      cjbmeb14 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens, thanks

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      The term "risparmio" is new to me, but I love the interaction of the wood and the painting. Beautiful work!

    • sLsM profile image

      sLsM 5 years ago

      Wow, fantastic work, fantastic lens!