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No Paint Required: A Different Kind of Painting Workshop

Best Practices in Painting workshop with George O’Hanlon and Tatiana Zaytseva

Want to make paintings that last through the ages?

June 12 to 14, a new workshop is coming to The Art League. Taught by the experts at Natural Pigments, Best Practices in Painting isn’t your typical painting workshop. This one is about changing how you paint from the ground up, with an emphasis on knowing your tools and materials:

Who is this workshop for? What kind of experience is necessary?

George O’Hanlon, instructor: This workshop is intended for all levels of artists and art students. No experience is necessary, although familiarity with common painting terms is useful (i.e., oiling out, glazing, impasto, etc.).

What makes this different from other painting classes?

This is the only workshop taught anywhere that focuses solely on the materials and practices of painting so that artists can create archival pictures and avoid many of the common mistakes made by painters today, such as sinking in, blotchy surfaces, etc.

Why is it important to learn this kind of stuff?

The information in the workshop is transformative, changing how painters work, as many prior students have commented:

“I am not exaggerating when I say it was life changing. Not only does it give me answers to many of the problems I have been having for years, but it is making me re examine all the things I do correctly to have a better understanding why they do work.”

“This workshop was what I wished I would have learned in my first year of art school. It challenged everything I thought I knew and things that I could never find the answers to. The information was presented in such a sensible way that provided you the background knowledge to understand how materials function the way they do and what is really happening when problems arise. This will completely change the way I work. I feel I can make more informed choices about the materials I use and be able to troubleshoot and attain the desired effects I want in my work. George and Tatiana were fantastic and it is evident they are so passionate about the work they do and about educating the artistic community.”
—Jessie W.

What are your professional backgrounds?

George O’Hanlon is technical director of Natural Pigments, an artists materials manufacturer and is an expert in historical painting materials and pigments. Tatiana Zaytseva is director of Natural Pigments and was educated in physics and art in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

What is the schedule like over the three days?

The workshop begins with a review of the leading causes of cracking and paint loss in paintings. In light of the research, we review different types of painting supports to help you choose the best one for your painting technique. We review the most suitable grounds for each type of popular support and painting and review factors influencing the embrittlement of the paint film and what artists can do to prolong its life.

Throughout the workshop we provide recommendations involving different supports, grounds and painting techniques that will help you make technically-sound paintings. Here’s the complete curriculum.

What do I need to bring?

A notebook and writing instrument is all that is necessary.

More information about the workshop

For over a hundred years, most causes of paint failures have been studied: humidity, temperature, and paint embrittlement. The symptoms were obvious—cracking, delaminating, and paint loss—but the causes were not. Conservation workers gradually formed concepts as to the causes of cracking and paint loss of old paintings. Concurrently, the coatings industry studied failures in all types of paint films. Artists developed their own ideas, but remained largely unaware of findings from both the conservation community and the coatings industry.

Natural Pigments spent years developing a technical workshop to teach skills that are not taught in art school and universities — a thorough understanding of artist’s materials and tools, what they are designed to do, when to choose them and how to provide considerable longevity to your finished work. This workshop covers the most important aspects of painting that have proven to be the best practices over the centuries.

The information-packed workshop includes all aspects of constructing a painting from the support and ground to the final layers. Practical procedures will be clearly explained and demonstrated on how to build your oil paintings based on conservation research during the past century. This workshop is designed for painters of all mediums, but special emphasis is given to oil painting.

Best Practices in Painting will be at The Art League June 12–14. Register online or in person.

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Did you know: The Art League's Art Camp is the longest running visual arts camp in the area! We've been here for more than 30 years! While sadly we can't find any photos from the '80s (please let us know if you have any lying around), let's take a look back at the last several years of burgeoning kid artists and eight years of fun at Art Camp!

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