Specialty Pro Seminars


Take your pick from these many specialized seminars. Taught by Cobalt and guest artists/instructors (and industry legends), these 3-5 day Pro Seminars are great professional development opportunities for scenic artists and instructors alike.

If you’re looking to broaden your knowledge and skills, join us for these informative and interesting hands-on seminars. These programs are given for the full-time SATP students during the academic year and accommodate additional enrollees of all levels. Participants receive lots of individual attention. *NOTE: These seminars require a basic knowledge of tools and techniques, the ability to draw and mix color.  Without these, you will learn things, but you may not necessarily be successful in your project.

If your schedule conflicts with these seminars and you are unable to attend, consider our Advanced Independent Studies Program for which you create a custom-made session that addresses your interests and fits in your schedule.


For Dates and Instructors, see individual seminars below


Deposit*: $150
*Note: Your deposit is ultimately included in the tuition cost and is credited toward the total of fees due.
Tuition*: (tools & materials included)
3-Day Seminar: $495 /  4-Day Seminar: $660  /  5-Day Seminar: $825
Room and Board is included.
Credit Cards accepted
Enrollment Max: 10*
Deadline: Space is limited, so plan ahead and call early!
*Except for the Anti-Freakout Job Roundtable weekend. See below.

Admission Requirements





Please register as early as possible as class sizes are small. In order to reserve your place send a $150 deposit check to “Cobalt Studios, Inc.” or call us with credit Card information at least two weeks in advance. Deposit is fully refunded if seminars are full or cancelled. Unused Deposits can also be rolled into a different Seminar.

NOTE: Your $150.00 deposit is ultimately included in the tuition cost. The deposit is credited toward the total of fees due.


All seminars are incredibly informative, hands-on workshop-style classes. This list is chronological to the current academic year. Check back regularly for updated schedules and information. Visit the Instructors page to learn more about Instructors/Hosts for the seminar you choose.


Foliage Painting II: Brushwork... You and the Artists

Date: Fall 2024


Instructor: Rachel Keebler

Rachel presents the brushwork styles used in Historical Theatre-style Foliage as part of this busy seminar which focuses on being able to follow any artists' style as they are used in theatrical and mural applications. Your confidence will grow as you are painting beautiful examples. Foliage I is not a prerequisite.

Perspective for Scenic Artists 2

Date: October 22, 2024 – October 25, 2024


Instructor: Kimb Williamson

 Kimb expertly draws from her vast experience, love of Perspective and geometry to guide you through some of the tougher challenges the scenic designers give us.   From individual practice at table to full scale shop drawings working in teams, this advanced course will aid in your working and teaching careers. You will be brought beyond the basics to brilliance!

Sign Painting: The Art of Lettering for Film and Theatre

Date: November 18, 2024 – November 22, 2024


Instructor: Brian Goodman

This in-depth seminar addresses traditional sign materials, tools, alphabets & lettering techniques. We will then swing over to theatrical tricks, tools and materials.  We will guide you from layout through finished sign as you work at your own 4' x 8' easel. Transforming your timidity to confidence, you'll be ready to paint the town!

Film and TV Series -- Faux Marble

Date: December 09, 2024 – December 13, 2024


Instructor: Rachel Keebler

After a thorough introduction to the world of Faux Painting, Rachel Keebler guides you through the magical process of marbelizing (using primarily Beer glazes). Learn to let the Marble flow out of your hand! You will use the tools and procedures she shows you to make many quick, beautiful and sophisticated samples.  Note: good drawing skills will be critical to your success.

Painting on Scrims

Date: February 17, 2025 – February 21, 2025


Antifreakout Job Market Round-table

Date: February 21, 2025 – February 23, 2025


Roundtable Host: Rachel Keebler, et al

This is a short Scenic Artists Conference designed to relieve anxiety about JOBS. Cobalt Alumni and other working Scenics converge to share experiences with students and each other; giving industry advice, recommending products, and sharing portfolios and resumes.
Arrive by 6:30 p.m. Friday night when the roundtable begins over dinner. We continue through Saturday evening alternating between roundtable discussions, sharing portfolios and good eats!
This session focuses mostly around getting, doing, and being successful at jobs. Other subjects for discussion include safety, resources and new materials.

NO Fee, but bring $25 to toss in for the food kitty. Call ahead to reserve a bed or a couch.

Film and TV Series – Intro to Rust and Aging Techniques

Date: Spring 2025

Instructor -- Helen McCarthy

This is an information packed, playful workshop where you will learn how to safely use a number of techniques and chemicals that one might encounter working on a film set.  Taught by USA829 member, Helen McCarthy, who has 20 years of experience working in immersive/installation art, theatre, film, corporate, and commercial capacities. They bring an enthusiastic delight to decay and grunge.  You can arrive the night before to be ready for Saturday morning and you will need work clothes and a respirator.

Film and TV Series -- The Basics

Date: Spring 2025

Instuctor: Rebecca Perrenod

Who, What, When. Presented with lots of Show N' Tell in a one day whirlwind! Lots of valuable information culled from years of experience by Rebecca Perrenod, USA829 Charge of Sex and the City and Just Like That. Arrive the night before for an early start!

Hard Scenery - Materials, Methods and Touchups

Date: Spring 2025


Instructor: Jenny Stanjeski

This workshop gives you the low down on contemporary materials and techniques for hard scenery - giving you the lingo and product knowledge that will help make you more useful in any shop. Day one is filled with a hands on exploration of substrates, paints, and textures. Day two goes over game plans to get your scenery painted, aged, and safely from shop to theater. Day three we dig into the exciting challenges, timing, and location constraints of touch up calls.

Stage Floors and the Scenic Artist

Date: Spring 2025


Instructor: Jenny Stanjeski

Explore the landscape of stage floor surfaces! Jenny will share her wealth of knowledge, information and problem solving techniques. She is a firm believer that practice and adaptability are essential for any artist. Under her direction, you will ingest LOTS of product info, make full scale samples, poke and prod, DANCE! your way across the stage floor in this very hands on seminar.

Historical Scene Painting Techniques with dry pigment

Date: Fall 2025


Instructor Wendy Waszut-Barrett

Come discover the amazing historical scene painting process and historical approach to scenic art.
Historical scene painting techniques are extremely efficient, and save time during the painting process. The brush strokes and placement of color allow massive drops to be created in a relatively short period of time - a day or two. Gold ornament, delicate foliage, and palatial interiors were often created in a day and shipped the following morning. Backdrops were also intended to be viewed from a distance, dictating the type of paint application and brush stroke.   In addition to efficiency and speed, the historical scenic art system used dry pigment and diluted hide glue.

Instead of premixing individual colors, pigment paste colors are quickly assembled on the palette, mixed and used from there. This extremely hands on seminar places it all in context. Your fingers will find that fast touch while making 4-5 paintings.The take away is the confidence to apply these concepts and techniques to your work even if you don't generally use dry pigment.

Painting Translucent Backdrops

Date: Fall 2025


Instructor Rachel Keebler

How to create those magical translucent backdrops that scenic and lighting designers love for their luminosity and transformational abilities.

Rachel Keebler demystifies the process and guides you through the testing and painting processes that result in a finished project of your own. The final afternoon we have our very own light show on the projects with a full discussion of the work.

Foliage Painting I: Photo-real Foliage painting Techniques

Date: Fall 2025


Instructor: Rachel Keebler

Commume with nature on the Cobalt grounds and master the techniques of rendering foliage photo-realistically! This seminar provides a fresh approach to looking at and painting trees and leaves. Special attention is given to reproducing realistic colors and textures. Learn how to use appropriate contrast, scale and perspective to add depth to your treescapes. CLUE IN ON THE FASTEST WAY TO GET SPECIFIC TREES (eg. OAK, MAPLE)! You will be making three big tree projects.

Perspective for Scenic Artists I The Basics of 1,2, and 3 point perspective as applied to Theatrical Artwork

Date: Fall 2025

Instructor: Rachel Keebler

FOUR DAYS ** This course is also available as an Independent Study Course

Who says that Perspective has to be intimidating? Rachel uses many baby steps to gently cause you to understand the mechanics of perspective which you will need in order to create accurate drawings ... the foundation of good painted images. This will give you a solid foundation as you enhance your confidence and develop your skills as a professional scenic artist.


Date: Fall 2025


Instructor: Andrew Mannion

This seminar covers the subject of flexible and rigid foams used in the entertainment industry. A thorough presentation of various types of coatings, tools and paints used will inform you as to how to use these foams: how to attach, form, protect and paint them. This hands-on workshop includes PLENTY of product information, safety practices and finished pieces for you to take home. A FOAM LOT OF FUN!

Furnishing Your Backdrop

Date: Spring 2025


Instructor: Susan Crabtree

Legendary Instructor and Co-Author of the textbook "Scenic Art for the Theatre" Susan Crabtree shares her innovative techniques for rendering not only furniture onto backdrops, but infusing them with depth and light. Come learn the shortcuts which Susan uses for quick project turnarounds and accurate artistic representations.

Using Pneumatic Sprayers for Scenic Artwork

Date: Spring 2026


Instructor: Sandy Phillips

Pneumatic sprayers, cup guns, detail sprayers...Clouds, skies, quick gradations...they all have their ups and downs!  With projects up on the wall and down on the floor, this seminar helps participants get familiar with the sprayer in any orientation.  Sandy has lots of tips and tricks for making friends with your sprayers and helping those projects move smoothly.  Participants do LOTS of spraying, enough for the sprayer to become an extension of your hand!  Walk away with 4 sprayed projects and the confidence to continue!

Faux Bois: Interior Grade Woodgraining

Date: Fall 2026


Instructor: TBD

Nels has retired from teaching.  Please stand by while we search for the perfect replacement.

Film and TV Series -- 3D Textures

Date: Winter 2026

Three Days - Winter 2026

Instructor: Emily Yoder

Emily Yoder is SO EXCITED to show you all she has been doing on the West Coast, and turn you on to the materials, tools, and techniques being used in the industry today.

Create samples of aged stucco,
concrete, plaster, slate, and learn the ways texture can be applied (including through
stencils) to create patterns for stone walls, walkways, and more. This seminar
is packed with information and hands-on experiences and includes tips and
tricks about different methods of coloring and toning these textures.