Tad Spurgeon oil paintings


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general questions

If you have purchased Living Craft, have any questions about the Refining Linseed Oil PDF, if you'd like more information about the book or purchasing a painting, or just want to say hi, please feel free to send me an e-mail.

Otherwise, there is a new policy about technical questions, see below.

technical questions

Between 2004 and 2016 I answered thousands of technical emails in the interest of promoting more awareness of the larger potential of the craft for the art. I want to thank everyone who wrote from all over during this time, and to apologize that I am unable to continue to do this for free, it simply takes too much time.

There is a great deal of technical information on the website, but exponentially more in Living Craft, which was written to tell the story in detail, and comes with free e-support. On the other hand, you may not be a reader, or have the time for a technical book. If you have a set of specific questions related to my research, you can e-mail them to me, numbered, and I will tell you how much I would charge to answer each one. I am doing it individually rather than by the number of questions because some questions are simple, but some questions are complex. Once you have paid via PayPal for the ones you want answered, I will write with you until you feel that the questions have been resolved. But again, the most complete solution is definitely Living Craft.

A free option for more general questions is to contact the technical support people at Williamsburg, who are artists themselves and have a great deal of experience with questions. They have a quality selection of technical information here, a great set of technical bulletins here, and you can also contact them directly here.

There are also now many well-informed and relatively evolved, i.e. polite, forums. A recent one with an emphasis on reconstructing historical aspects of the craft effectively is MITRA at the University of Delaware. After decades of neglect, it's great to see an American university take an interest in the craft.

buying a painting
      If you are interested in a painting, please e-mail me, and I'll send you images of finished work in the category you specify (still life, landscape, etc.), along with sizes and prices. You can also download a PDF about the purchasing procedure .

       I've found the craft fascinating and rewarding on a number of levels. Below are some links to more information here about how to do this yourself.

      You can begin to get aquainted with Living Craft, a unique approach to oil painting based on handmade materials and traditional techniques, here.


The 20th century textbooks became very involved in the use of toxic solvents. Many painters are interested in minimizing or eliminating solvent from the studio. Various strategies for solvent-free painting are covered here.

      For centuries there has been intense speculation about the materials and methods used in older painting. This has often focused on the concept of the "lost secret." Analyzing older painting at the molecular level, modern technical art history has now told us a different story. What do the actual secrets of older painting now appear to be? The following PDF of selections from Living Craft is focused on older practice.

      A condensed overview of oil painting technique that sorts out reliable facts from prevailing myths is available here.

      A more detailed look at sound practice can be found here. This explains the fundamentals of the system that has come about through a decade of research into the basic, original materials of oil painting. This is also available as a text-only PDF file here.

       The older craft was different, and technical art history has shown that the oil is the foundation of the older craft, not any resin or secret ingredient. As such, the more you know about the oil, the more informed decisions you can make for your work. This page about the oil will get you started. If you refine the oil yourself, you have the sine qua non and foundation of older practice, a genuinely non-yellowing oil that dries hard in a day or two. This oil makes several techniques available that cannot be done otherwise. No oil even close to this is available commercially, and you will never see this statement directly contradicted by anyone. You can download a pdf file with the latest version of this process and several traditional variations here.

For further information on technique or a specific painting please contact tadspurgeon@gmail.com
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