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Buon Fresco

The medium of BUON FRESCO, through its aesthetic appeal and its long and venerable tradition in liturgical settings, stands as a symbol for the beauty and permanence of the Church and the continuity of the liturgical practice over the centuries. When executed properly, fresco has a beauty, depth and luminosity of its own independent of its stylistic and thematic motif.  Wether majestic or humble, figurative or abstract, the fresco confers integrity and a quiet strength to the space it inhabits.  Additionally, fresco is a fitting medium for an environmentally conscious generation: no solvents, glues, or man-made materials are used, it is fully breathable and will never get mold or bacteria.

In buon fresco the image is painted directly on the wall, on the wet skin of the plaster.  As the plaster cures, the lime crystalizes around the pigment particles bonding the paint permanently to the plaster surface.  The design of the composition is only one step in a long process.  It is followed by multiple color studies on paper, small fresco samples, real size cartoons and tracings.  In the meantime, the wall is prepared with a substrate of rough plaster.  Next, the artistic team transfers the composition onto the dry plaster and paints it in 'sinopia' or red paint. This ébauche will later serve as a map for dividing the wall into 'giornatas' or 'frescoing' days.  

We use the highest quality lime, locally mined sand whenever possible, and natural pigments, a variety of earths from different parts of the world, minerals such as malachite, and semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli.  

As much as the project allows, we like to involve the community through educational programs at the work site in the form of lectures, workshops, and internships.  

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egg tempera/iconography

St. Katharine Drexel
St Dominic receiveing the rosary


Frederick MD

egg tempera

Size: 4'x8'


Washington DC

egg tempera

Size: 4'x8'

"Ioana’s passion for icons helped me understand how they are not simply beautiful objects, but, as she described them, 'windows to the soul.' She explained how there is always a deeper meaning to be found behind the icon, just as there is always a deeper meaning to be found in our faith. Her understanding about the difference between an icon and a portrait was fascinating and echoed Cardinal Ratzinger’s suggested movement in images. She observed that an icon goes further than a portrait, that 'it brings you back to yourself and back to God.'”  E. Steel, PhD Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary


Manuscript Illumination



Tempera and 24k gold leaf on calfskin velum

Size: 9" x12"

Mary the Teacher

Mary the teacher

Tempera and 24k gold leaf on calfskin velum

Size: 9" x12"

stained glass



Mary Queen of Angels Chapel

Seton High School, Manassas VA

Artwork by Ioana Belcea

Cartoon design by Audery Garett

Vitreous glass painting by Kari Ackerson

Fabricated at the Beyer Studio, Philadelphia PA

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