A couple of the techniques I was hoping to explore, before I came to Italy, were casein painting and egg tempera and I was delighted when Helena said she taught egg tempera to her students and she’d be happy to give me a demonstration.
During the first couple of walks, here in Guardia, I collected a selection of stones and soils as well as some oxides from around the town.
In the process of walking about i found out that the mountain Guardia Sanframondi is built on used to be an island and the surrounding land a lagoon! No wonder it is so lush, the romans and greeks made it their ‘garden’ and is where the area got its name, Campania, from the Latin, Campania Felix or fertile countryside.
We visited the paleo-lab at Pietraroja, where we had a brilliant tour through time, learnt about fossils, got to make our own ammonites and see the dinosaur found in a stone by a young boy. The baby dinosaur, looks like a velociraptor (like the ones in jurassic park) and is almost fully intact with its internal organs clear to see!
Outside the paeleo-lab.
Anyway, back to the stones…i was able to collect a few samples of limestone with iron oxides flowing through them, some interesting vitrified stones and some fossilised stones that had the most amazing molluscs and shapes in them. My trusty mini microscope came in really handy.
In Naples we bought some natural pigments from an art store to compare colours, texture and ease of application with the ‘found’ pigments. Lastly, I collected some charcoal, which i think may be from grape vine wood, found at Forre di Lavello e Grotte near Cosano mutri, a popular picnic place full of lovely walks, grottos and a huge river. All great materials and inspiration for making paint!
Stone and metal oxide pigments mixed with water and applied to watercolour paper.