Mastering Inpainting

April 5 – 8, 2016
Sarasota, Florida
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Instructor: James Bernstein; Assistant Instructor: Rebecca Pollak

This four-day intensive course is tailored for conservators wishing to improve their mastery of filling and inpainting (retouching) skills. A broad overview of this complicated topic will be provided, as well as considerable attention to details critical for various points of the compensation process. Keys to problem solving will be offered to help conservators find appropriate and successful treatment solutions for differing inpainting situations.

A combination of lecture, discussion and studio/laboratory sessions will cover:
  • Inpainting criteria
  • Adaptation of environments for each compensation requirement
  • Light, color and optics: theory and practical phenomena
  • A survey of pigments and their properties
  • Preparation for compensation: isolation and fills
  • Wet and dry inpainting media and toning systems: resins (natural & synthetic), watercolor, distemper, gums and cellulose ethers, cellulose fiber, pen, pencils, pastels, dry pigments, and other coloring agents.
  • Inpainting modifiers: bulking, matting, polishing, and glossing agents
  • Application instruments, methods and tips
  • Medium/pigment/diluent variations for adjusting surface sheen: high gloss, lean/matte, transparent, opaque, stained, and other structures
  • Simulation of patina and age effects
  • Philosophical dialogue: degrees of compression; discernability, longevity and reversibility of restorations
  • Mock-ups and a basic range of inpainting media will be provided for studio sessions. Participants are encouraged to bring with them small artifacts examples or expendable items for experimentation, personal favorite inpainting materials (media, palettes, tools, inpainting brushes) and 'studio tips' for demonstration.
Registration Fee: $750 AIC members, $950 non-AIC members
Limited to 14 participants

Selection Criteria: This program is designed for mid-career, practicing conservators. Participants may be selected based on training, experience, balance of institutional and private practice conservators, balance of conservation specialty areas, number of registrants from a single organization, and geography. Preference will be given to AIC Professional Associate and Fellow members. Review will begin January 25 and continue until the course is filled. Notifications expected by February 10th. No payment is required to apply. Payment is due only after acceptance to the program.

Application Process: The application process is now closed. To apply for space in the workshop, please fill out the Mastering Inpainting Workshop Application through our online review site. To initiate the application, you will be asked to enter your email address to see if you already have an account in the system (this should be the case if you are an AIC member). If you have an email address in our system, you will then be asked to enter your password (the same password you use to log in to the site). If you do not have an account in our system, you will be asked to set one up before you begin your application.

The application will require:
  1. Applicant Information (name, contact information, membership status)
  2. A statement addressing the selection criteria (qualification for participation, demonstrated need/relevance to learn workshop content, opportunity to disseminate information gained)
  3. Upload CV/resume (PDF format preferred)
You may save your application and return later to complete it.  When you are satisfied with your responses, click on the "Save and submit" button.

If you experience any difficulties please contact Sarah Saetren by email at or by phone at 202-661-8071.

Direct link to application:

  • James Bernstein is a Conservator of Paintings & Mixed Media in freelance practice in San Francisco, CA. A graduate of the High School of Music & Art (NYC), Brandeis University, and the Cooperstown (now Buffalo) Graduate Program, Jim was Conservator / Co-Director of Conservation for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for many years. With co-instructor Debra Evans and on his own, Jim has lectured extensively and taught color and loss compensation to hundreds of conservators attending the encyclopedic “Mastering Inpainting” workshops. James Bernstein is a recipient of the 2007 Sheldon and Caroline Keck AIC Award, recognizing a sustained record of excellence in the education and training of conservation professionals.
Assistant Instructor: 
  • Rebecca Pollak is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She developed a comprehensive knowledge of artists’ materials during her years as manager and technical adviser for Kremer Pigments Inc. in New York, and has given various workshops on manufacturing historical and contemporary paint materials to artists and conservators. Rebecca has gained experience in paper and photograph conservation in both private and institutional labs including The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art. Rebecca received an MA and Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College and has a degree in printmaking and art history from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.
 Travel Information: Hotel discount is being negotiated, information will be available soon
Rubens galleries at Ringling Museum of Art            

This program is supported by funding from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artist Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation and its friends. Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.

Without this support, the registration fees would be approximately $1,350.


Contact: Sarah Saetren
FAIC Education Associate
(202) 661-8071

SACI Florence