Fine art, painting, teaching and research

The general intention of teaching is to pass down the fruits of empirical experiential knowledge. In this teaching a special balance is aimed for : whereby the facets of ‘Psyche’ and ‘Techne’ are worked with in conjunction. Psyche is the internal journey ; the psychological and spiritual dimensions of art-making, and Techne is the lineage of craft tradition.

The concept is a travelling art university or guild through which artists and students can access potent training in various domains of art craft for personal and artistic development.

To this end an evolving curriculum is available where different facets of painting may be studied.

Contents of Curriculum


Curriculum 1 : Foundations of Painting

1.a : Introduction to Principles of Mischtechnik & Variants

The term ‘mischtechnik‘ gained popularity after Max Doerner’s 1921 book ‘The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting: With Notes on the Techniques of the Old Masters.’ In this book Doerner proposed the means by which the Flemish and Venetian masters achieved the clarity and luminosity of their work.

Ernst Fuchs (13 February 1930 – 9 November 2015) was an Austrian painter and one of the most well known founders of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. He took Doerner’s theories and applied them, producing a stunning and highly influential oeuvre of work.

Mischtechnik depends on the use of underpainted whites with emulsive media such as egg tempera, and glazing achieved in oil color. It is a completely other approach to painting compared to a la prima or direct methods.

Mischtechnik , as well as being a powerful, venerable technique, is a fantastic way to enter into layered or glazed approaches to painting because of the inspiring ‘step-by-step’ process involved. It provides a useful pathway for the painter through which many principles of optical grays & optical color mixing can be grasped, and many variations and experimental approaches can be glimpsed.

Learning Objectives

  • Historical overview of mischtechnik
  • Understanding of contemporary mischtechnik and variants
  • Conceptual understanding of the fundamental principles of the technique
  • Habituation with brushwork and mediums involved in the technique
  • A sense of empowerment and ability to pursue technique and problem solve independently

1.b : Tempera Grassa

Tempera Grassa has been found in very recent scientific analysis of paintings that many 14th century masterworks such as Botticelli’s Prima Vera are not pure egg tempera but rather Tempera Grassa which goes a long way to explaining their scale, style of execution, and their condition.

It is through reconstruction from available resources and study from the old masters of the 14th century that we may begin to appreciate the working properties of this almost extinct approach to painting.

As opposed to the linearity of egg tempera, tempera grassa stands closer to oil paint and allows for both linear hatching AND sfumato/blending. For many people, hatching is not their preferred manner of brushwork and so tempera grassa opens up a whole wing of possibilities within the approaches known as ‘mischtechnik’.


1.c : Sfumato Abrasione – Soffio (and Reductive Methods)

Markus Springens painting with Soffio Technique

Markus Sprigens painting with Soffio Technique

Sfumato means ‘fume/smoke/mist’
Abrasione means ‘abrasion/removal’
Soffio means ‘breath or murmur of the heart’

The breath expresses our energy. Working with the breath is a powerful way to use paint. Combining innovative recipes in emulsive media we can apply mischtechnik through breath atomiser and airbrush. With adustments to the binder we can also use powerful reductive methods which can radically speed up and alter our approach to underpainting.

Soffio technique was developed by Daniel Mirante through the process of painting ‘Chanting Down Babylon’ and it has been successfully transmitted over a 3 month trimester at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art and at “Art In Paradise” art school, Byron Bay Australia.

Soffio is a technique recommended only to painters with moderate to advanced experience.


Curriculum 2 : Materials of the Ancient Painters Craft

2.a : Painting Mediums and Pigments

Many expression of human genius in the realm of art, music or technology involve a close, almost merged relationship between humans and their tools. In order to gain an effortless or instinctual level of fluidity with paint, practice counts for a lot. But a conceptual understanding of the materials we are working with has a big impact and can be extremely empowering.

This part of the curriculum delivers a beginners knowledge necessary to make sense of the vast amounts of binders, solvents, modifiers, balsams, pigments and other materials available to the oil painter. It creates a framework that helps in understanding the very matter of the craft and enables a deeper level of problem solving and control in the process.

It also opens up the ability to create new forms of paint medium and paint to arrive at unique effects to develop a personal style and identity. Additionally we learn about archival techniques so that the work we make will withstand the effects of time.


2.b : Alchemical Processes

Alchemical processes to creating various kind of paint and the highest quality oils according to ancient principles.


Curriculum 3 : Mundus Imaginalis : Myth and Symbol

3.a : Symbolic Language And Narrative

Through a series of simple yet profound guided exercises and contemplation, we will consider the way symbol bridges language, vision, dream, and our inner world. By correlating our personal consideration of the symbol with the collective and historical aspect, we can begin to understand how to articulate and compose according to transpersonal, ‘visionary’ or sacred principles.


3.b : Monumental Works

Elegant, simple and intuitive principles of harmonic proportion are considered, as are the articulation of simple symbolic elements from thumbnail to large scale nested composition.


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