Painting Process, Workshops and Classes

Painting Process, Workshops and Classes

Part of the beauty of ancient art is the atmosphere that the ‘damage’ of time has given the work.  In this post I will describe some processes I am exploring to incorporate effects of distressing, layering, cracking, patinating.  I will also introduce some of the classes I will be offering this fall, especially a week-long group of workshops at the beautiful Villa Vigneto in Austin Texas.

I.  Process of a painting

A.  Some of the special and even mystical atmosphere in some ancient works of art comes in part from the effects of time and age on the materials they were using, such as frescoes and plasters, egg-tempera, earths and stones and metals.  Here are some samples of paintings I am working on, using fresco, plasters and distemper, in which I am striving to incorporate some of those effects:

B.  Example of steps and layers

For the following icon style painting I began with a wood panel, and applied random abstract painting.

I added metal leaf and bronze and iron paints.













Then layers of gum arabic and rabbit skin glue and pigments (to get cracks), and chemicals (to patinate the metals).













After isolating those layers with varnish and garlic (rubbing garlic on gold leaf was a trick icon painters used to get the paint to stick to the gold), I drew on the design.



I then used transparent layers of lead white and naples lead yellow (lead white is maybe the most beautiful, luminous and translucent white) to paint the image.



And the completed painting:



II. Workshops and Classes

A.  Villa Vigneto in Austin Texas

Please join us for a very special week at Villa Vigneto Texas!


Sean Kramer, accomplished Artist and Iconographer will lead our week-long series where Contemplative and Sacred Art instruction, meditation, and the quiet of nature come together under the oaks in the beautiful Hill Country setting of Villa Vigneto Texas.

No art experience or skill required, just the desire to take “a little pause in life” to express your creative and spiritual heart!

One-Day Workshop/Retreats

Yantra Mandalas                                                           Tues., Sept. 25th , 8:30 am to 6 pm

Learn about the symbolism and practice of Yantra making, an ancient art used in meditation and worship.  You will design and create your own Yantra to enhance your meditation practice.

Contemplative Art                                                           Wed., Sept. 26th, 8:30 am to 6 pm

A workshop of intuitive art making and meditation; a contemplative practice and process of creating art from your intuitive heart-mind.

Three-Day Workshop/Retreat

Creating Sacred Art – Holy Face                          Thurs. Sat., Sept. 27 – Sat., Sept. 29, 8:30 am to 6 pm

Drawing from the medieval traditions of egg-tempera panel painting and icon painting, each day will consist of time creating your Sacred Art masterpiece using the geometry of the human face, gold leaf gilding, and making our own paints.  There will also be time for meditation, practice and contemplation.

General Daily Schedule

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.  – Gathering Time – Coffee/Tea/Pastry

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.  – Morning Guided Meditation

9:30 – Noon – Art instruction and discussion, design and draw

Noon to 1:00 – Lunch Served at the Villa

1:00 – 5:00 – Paint, Draw, Completion of Work

5:00 – 6:00 Guided Meditation and Persona Reflection Time/Close

For more info click here for the website of Villa Vigneto.


B. Sanctuary Arts, Eliot Maine

Courses this fall and links for more information:

1. Basic Techniques of Egg-tempera Panel Painting

2. Contemplative Art Practices

3. Fresco Painting


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing. Are you familiar with the Omega institute, Rhinebeck, NY? Well may not be a direct fit for your classes but that’s where I will be end os September.

    1. sdk

      Thank you Elizabeth!
      I am not familiar with that—I can investigate.

    1. sdk

      Yes, that could be good, to work a class around these techniques and combining them.

  2. Tracy

    Hi Sean, thanks so very much for sharing your beautiful work with me !! I love seeing each amazing project you are immersed in.. i appreciate the true inspiration you share 💙🦋
    My very best,

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