Fresco-making is an ancient art of Shekhavati that dates back to several centuries
in India. Different regions had their distinct styles. The artists of Shekhavati
have been inventing new methods for making frecoes with locally available material.
The fresco painters of Shekhavati were called chitaras and belonged to the Kumhar
or potter caste. They were also called chejaras or masons since they performed both
the functions of building and painting. The chejaras of Shekhavati used additional
local materials with the principal constitutes. The impact of two styles developed
according to the working process of painting and medium can be seen here in the
Fresco-buono, the first method employed painting on a wet surface. The second method known as Fresco-secco was done on a dry surface. The first method which did not require any sticking or binding material was comparatively more stable and the paintings remained unfaded and less affected by heat and rain. The word fresco originated from the Latin word for fresh (fresh plaster or wet surface). It is also known as wet wall painting, Aayash, Alagila etc. Fresco-buono is done on wet lien plaster with colours mixed with lime and water. On drying, the lime absorbs carbonic acid from the air and reacts chemically into insoluble Calcium Carbonate. This thin layer becomes the upper surface of colour and the colour becomes stable. Wall painting on a dry surface is called Fresco-secco.This is called the tempera method where tempera colours are used with sticking and binding material. The advantage in this method is that modifications can be added to the paintings later. In this method it is required to ensure that the walls are free of moisture to prevent an alkaline effect on the paintings which could ruin the colours. Gum, sares, egg and casein are used as binding material in this method. In the havelis of Shekhavati, usually pure frescoes are drawn on the lower surfaces and walls outside while the interiors and ceilings are painted using fresco-secco. Mineral colours obtained from rocks and sand were used for these wall paintings as these don’t react with lime. The colour pigments used were mainly kajal (lamp black) for black, safeda (chalk) or chuna (lime) for white, neel (indigo) for blue, harabhata (terra verte) for green, geru (red stone) for red, hirmich (a mineral) for brown, kesar (saffron) for orange and pevri (yellow clay) for yellow ochre.More...