Childe Hassam, Church at Old Lyme
I am returned from the weekends teaching at Old Lyme. As usual I had a great group. I always wish I knew these folks better, but I teach em for a few days and off they go. Something about a workshop must preselect for a certain kind of people. I get such good groups. Years ago that was not the case. In the eighties when I taught a few workshops I had a lot of very mean old ladies. Often they complained incessantly and didn't want to hear anything other than encouraging praise for their paintings. Those folks are now either to old or too inert to take workshops and teaching has become a lot of fun. I am willing to teach about twenty or twenty five days a year, after that I have my own art to make.
Thomas Kitts provided a link to a site called Amiens.org which is a conservators advice forum for artists. I looked at that and it seems to be a good reference. Here is a link to that. I read a good deal of it and learned a few things. They seem to strike a reasonable balance between caution and the artists need to create in the real world. I am not about to start grinding my own marble to make gesso, or breeding the rabbits for the glue either .
I did extract from my readings there some more information on mineral spirits vs. turpentine. They are definitely in the odorless mineral spirits camp.They do not use damar or recommend it, but if you use that, turpentine is a must. But from a safety standpoint they strongly advise against turpentine. I generally use the hardware store kind, but the really cautious among you may want to use the Gamsol. They didn't specifically endorse it, or any other product, but it has had most of the volatile (easily evaporated) evils removed from it.
Amien also seems to be very opposed to Zinc white for longevity reasons. They say it forms a brittle paint film. I never use it anyway, but some folks do. If you are using Zinc you may have some soul searching to do.
In their discussions of canvasses they surprised me a little. I have often used a good quality heavy cotton canvas and been happy with it. They don't argue against that and feel that cotton is an acceptable material for canvas. I am currently using the Centurion oil primed so right now I am using linen but I have no idea what I will be using a year from now.
I must unpack my kit and get back to work in my studio.