book coverA couple of years ago I had the great pleasure of attending Virgil Elliott’s portrait painting workshop in his art studio. It was a great opportunity to study with an artist who has been described as a “living master”, according to the Art Renewal Center (ARC).

Virgil literally wrote the book on traditional oil painting techniques. His book  Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present is an expertly written volume of classic art history, with detailed descriptions of the techniques used by masters such as Rembrandt, Titian, etc. It’s a beautiful book, as well as a useful reference for artists or art aficionados.

His oil painting workshop is the first one that I’ve ever heard of that emphasizes painting without solvents. We used only linseed oil to thin the paint, and canola oil to clean the brushes (followed by soap and water). This was certainly a revelation for me, and I was thrilled to get away from the fumes of turpentine.

If you are interested in improving your painting skills and learning how to paint like an old master, get Virgil Elliott’s book and look for one of his workshops on his website and blog: http://virgilelliott.com.