Introduction to Painting Conservation (Level 2)

This four-day course will start with an overview of historic materials commonly used in western painting traditions and look at ways artists produced and manipulated those materials to achieve artistic goals. Supported by a close study of paintings from Beloit’s Wright Museum of Art, we will begin to train the eye to discern characteristics of solid and textile supports; the influence of ground and preparation layers on color effects; the characteristic blending of various paint media and the influence of varnish and unvarnished finishes. During this process of examination, we will learn the basics of handling framed and unframed paintings and how to manipulate task lighting, magnification, and ultraviolet lighting to reveal evidence of the artist’s technique and later restoration. We will employ these tools in the writing of examination and condition reports.

We will review how materials age and change and how to spot the resulting visual alterations from flaking paint to discolored varnishes. We will learn about traditional approaches to the care of paintings that have resulted in treatments such as lining, varnish removals and retouching and examine ways in which contemporary approaches have changed. We will explore minimally invasive but effective ways in which collections care professionals can employ preventive measures in the storage, exhibition, and movement of paintings to help avoid unnecessary interventive treatments. We will learn how to properly install a painting in its frame and when it is safe to dust painted surfaces and frames. Finally, we will discuss when a conservation professional needs to be contacted and how to work with them effectively. 

Participants are welcome to bring a painting that they would like to learn more about. Beloit College, including the instructor, does not bear responsibility for items that participants bring to the class.

Course Dates


Course Fee


Early Registration



Heather Galloway

About the Instructor

Heather Galloway is the conservator and owner of Galloway Art Conservation, located in Cleveland, OH. She has over 25 years of experience in conservation. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation and served for six years on an advisory committee for its educational outreach platform Connecting to Collections Care. As an educator she has taught conservation related courses for the undergraduate audience at Oberlin College as well as graduate students in art history at Case Western Reserve University and in conservation at the University of Oslo in Norway. Her teaching focuses on the unique knowledge that practicing
bench conservators can bring to our understanding of cultural heritage along with its care and handling.

She completed her graduate studies in conservation at New York University’s Institute for Fine Arts and holds an MA in Art History from Williams College. She has worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She opened her private practice in 2015 after working at the ICA Art Conservation of Cleveland for 16 years.

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