Saturday, 16 February 2013

A little on lime paint

Lime paint is made from calcium hydroxide. When calcium is burned and then hydrated, a putty like mass is left known as slaked lime. Among its other uses, this material, when watered down further, was used often in the past to paint and disinfect walls. However fresco painters also used tinted lime paint to finish their work when time run-out on the more unforgiving technique of "Fresco" painting (which is painting on wet plaster). In fact when speaking of "lime painting" I refur to the method of painting on dry plaster, known in Italy as Fresco Secco". Slowly painting with lime became a technique in its own right. The beauty of lime paint really is something quite different to any other painting medium, it has absolute opacity but the dried surface becomes "alive" with soft irregularities that seem to suggest something similar to velvet. The difficulties of using this medium (preparation, stability etc.) determined its decline , it's many advantages being overshadowed by the disadvantages. However in many European countries, especially Italy, the technique of lime painting reached a complexity of use in home decoration, highlighting the beauty and flexibility of this humble material.