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Artists’ Seminars at Yeppoon QLD

Lessons learned on communication.

Yeppoon is situated on the Tropic of Capricorn coast, east of Rockhampton, Queensland.

We had 36 dedicated artists who come here for 10 days every year to hone their painting skills. This year we had 2 tutors. Bela Ivanyi (Sydney) has been the regular tutor here for many years. He uses mainly Absolute Matte himself and some Atelier Interactive. Our guest tutor this year was Daniel Pata who teaches oils and acrylics at the National Art School, Sydney. There were more women than men, more older than younger age group, making it a typical art group but all very focused.

Who was there

Most were acrylic painters and most used Atelier. Six were interested in oils, seeing it as an easier way to finish an acrylic painting. They brought their own paints as usual but Chroma supplied extra for trial. Most members had a mixture of ‘old’ Atelier and Atelier Interactive and we needed to have Interactive used alone and with its mediums because the new long blending sessions don’t work when a mixture of paints is used. Naturally, as a very experienced group, every member was familiar with ‘old’ techniques and wanted to explore the new possibilities.

The acrylic painters did landscapes, portraits of each other and still life paintings and thoroughly explored the blending possibilities.

The oil painters did the same with Archival Oils and their mediums.

No Absolute Matte was used but Bela demonstrated it, emphasising its usefulness for plein-air landscape paintings.

The Weather

The weather was important, starting with five dry sunny days, followed by five wet rainy days. This had dramatic effect on they speed with which the paint dried. A fine mist water sprayer can be used to re-hydrate Atelier Interactive and keep a paint layer open for extended wet-in-wet blending. After it rained and was humid, the sprays were hardly needed at all.

It was interesting to note the climate effect, as we had 36 people all living in a tropical state. Only one person uses air conditioning when she paints and although Australia is a very dry continent, most coastal areas have variable humid to dry weather and most of the population lives near the coast. It is necessary to consider the weather when painting as more spray is needed in dry conditions, while in humid weather it may be wise not to use Slow Medium.

New Thick Slow Medium

As part of the whole process we trialed our new Thick Slow Medium which was very popular because of its spreading action and also because it can hold more water spray without running than the more fluid Slow Medium.

Overworked Paint

On our five wet days at this seminar, an oil painter’s problem came up with the acrylic artists – overworking a wet painting can produce muddy colours and one has to know what to do. This is a real problem for acrylic painters but everyone had the right answer. They said that if they were at home they would put the wet painting aside and work on another one.

Drying Out

On the question of drying out, small paintings can be dried (and cured) with a hairdryer while larger ones need dry warmth from a radiator.

It would have been useful to have some Binder to use for fast drying underpainting but unfortunately we didn’t have any.

Some Feedback

At the end of the seminar we held a discussion group rather than using a questionnaire and we found it worked much better.

Lack of information


Combine Old + New Techniques Info Sheet

The most important question raised was about how to communicate new information. Of the 36 people present, not one single person was aware of what Atelier Interactive was designed to do, although some had been using it for 18 months (for ‘old’ techniques only).

They might think they already know what to do (in this case ‘old’ acrylic techniques). They might also think that websites and printed matter are just ‘promotional advertising’ and not worth their attention.

Are the new techniques useful?

Most of the people present were used to the ‘old Atelier’ and had experienced no problems with ‘old’ techniques when using the new paint. After 10 days of exploring ‘new’ techniques, how did they feel?

Unanimously, all 36 thought the ability to blend and extend working time was a big advantage and that they would continue to benefit as they gained more experience.

Reactions to Archival Oils

The members of the group who used Archival Oils wondered why they didn’t know about it.

They all liked the quality and handling of the paint but were surprised by the following:

Working in a group and surrounded by acrylic painters, they did not generate any unpleasant smells because they were using Archival Oils Odourless Medium.

They were all surprised and pleased that their paintings dried and could be worked on again the following day.

They all loved Flow/Gel which was being sampled and seems certain to become Archival Oils’ favourite medium.

There was a consensus, limited to the smallish number of people using oils, that they wanted paintings to dry quickly so they could overpaint the next day.

The paint on the palette remains workable next day. The paint on the painting dries fast when mixed with Flow/Gel.

Fast or Slow Drying Time?

There seems to be an anomaly here: The acrylic painters enjoyed more time to paint wet-in-wet, while the oil painters wanted less time to paint wet-in-wet. This is not a contradiction as both groups want to be able to work wet-in-wet during a painting session (automatic for oils anyway) and both want to be able to overpaint the next day.

It is important to note that Archival Oils are the only oils which can safely be overpainted without having to worry about the paint curing in the under layers first. Archival Oils flexibility also gives immunity to the fat-over-lean rules when overpainting.

There are (1) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_1947

    Diaedwards commented on Août 7, 2008, at 9:38 am.

    Very interesting. I have been using Archival Oils for years with Odorless Lean Medium. It dries overnight and, since I am a fast painter, I love it. I also can use the Odorless brush cleaner for underpainting and it dries quite quickly, I usually use Alizarin or various reds and oranges for that. I like Transparent Red Oxide for that. I think that not enough people try Archival Oils, to me it's just so much more beautiful and lustrous than any acrylics no matter how they are varnished.