Local artist sheds new light on Master painting with workshop series

SHELBURNE Local artist Tad Spurgeon returns to the Shelburne Art Center in February to instruct a series of three painting workshops: Making and Working on Panels, New Old Master Painting with Putty Mediums, and Making Oil Paint and Traditional Mediums. This series of workshops will instruct students through 15th-17th century oil painting technique using primarily traditional materials that are artist-made. The emphasis is on how it might be possible to recover a more dynamic relationship to the craft by creating a living process of one's own. Spurgeon has always been intrigued by the traditional process of realistic oil painting during the Renaissance--the skillful interaction of light and dark values, transparent and opaque paint, the light and depth on such flat surface, and more tangibly, the materials and techniques used to create such masterpieces. His fascination began when he started working in oil in 1985, but it wasn't until six years ago when this fascination began a quest into what he refers to as "the labyrinth" of older materials and techniques. Through extensive research coupled with trial and error, Spurgeon, an inspired teacher with a dedicated student following, utilized his time and skill to make the painting materials himself, using marble and other stone dusts with various combinations of heat or sun bodied oils. By paying attention to the behavior of the materials within the dual context of the older texts and modern research, he has developed a current process that lives in the spirit of older painting which informs his work. All classes will have a question and answer period at the end. Through this series, Tad hopes to help de-mystify the oil painting process from both the technical and the creative point of view. Register online at www.shelburneartcenter.org or call now for more information. Spaces are limited. The results of Spurgeon's research are visible in his exhibit, Troupe, on display at Shelburne Art Center through March 11. It offers examples of still life, landscape, and colorshape paintings, with attached stories of process and explanations of how the paintings were made. Where relevant, paintings are accompanied by in-progress photographs. A panel is also devoted to the research element of this work into the materials of traditional painting: what he learned and how he learned it.

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