Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 25

NEW NORTH CAROLINA FRESCO

An emerging fresco artist
caps years of study and
preparation as he completes
his first major commission,
at a downtown Asheville
mission serving the homeless.

ABOVE: Christopher Holt
holds a sketch that will
contribute to the fresco.
INSET: Christopher Holt's
deft hand at work.

By NAN CHASE | Photos by JOHN WARNER, Warner Photography

C

hristopher Holt has been traveling a long and winding road
right back to his starting place:
hometown Asheville, North
Carolina.
Today, 41 years old and just
reaching his prime as a fresco
artist, he has begun the final stage of
his first major commission: a nine-foot
by 23-foot fresco in a United Methodist Church mission called the Haywood
Street Congregation, which serves hundreds of homeless or otherwise uprooted
people every day.
As of May 2019, Holt had begun the
most thrilling part of the fresco process:
painting with specially mixed colors
onto a wet plaster surface a quarter inch
thick or less. Getting to that point took

months-years-and involved building a
thick, rough plaster wall mounted within a metal frame as a foundation and also
drawing dozens of portraits from life for
the larger composition.
Now, painting up to 12 hours a day as
each new section of finish plaster dries,
he has a team of assistants to mix and
apply the plaster, outline each drawing
onto the wall, mix pigments, and manage tools. It's mentally and physically
grueling work-like performing a 12hour surgery-with the artist trying to
control a range of variables.
By late August, after 60 painting days,
this new fresco should be complete: a
painted-from-life depiction of Jesus's sermon of the Beatitudes, "Blessed are the
poor...."

MAY/JUNE 2019

25



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 4
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG1
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