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.

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.

Proof of vaccination for COVID 19 is required.


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: $480 /  4-Day Seminar: $640  /  5-Day Seminar: $800
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: October 10, 2022 – October 14, 2022


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.

Painting Translucent Backdrops

Date: November 28, 2022 – December 02, 2022


Instructor Rachel Keebler

How to create those magical translucent backdrops that scenic and lighting designers love as a focal point.  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.

Perspective for Scenic Artists 2

Date: December 06, 2022 – December 09, 2022


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!

Faux Marble: Interior Grade Marble-izing

Date: December 12, 2022 – December 16, 2022


Instructor: Rachel Keebler

After a thorough introduction to the Faux Painting Business, Rachel Keebler guides you through the magical process of marbelizing (using primarily Beer glazes). Learn to let the Marble flow out of your hand, using the tools and procedures to make many quick, beautiful and sophisticated samples.

Historical Scene Painting Techniques with dry pigment

Date: February 06, 2023 – February 10, 2023


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.

Antifreakout Job Market Round-table

Date: February 17, 2023 – February 19, 2023


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 $20 to toss in for the food kitty. Call ahead to reserve a bed or a couch.

Landscape Painting For Murals and the Stage

Date: March 28, 2023 – March 31, 2023


Instructor: Rachel Keebler

Standing in for Bob Moody, Rachel will guide you through the forest of techniques used to achieve beautiful, painterly landscapes based on artists' styles.

Hard Scenery - Materials, Methods and Touchups

Date: April 18, 2023 – April 21, 2023


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.

Furnishing Your Backdrop

Date: Spring 2023


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.


Date: Spring 2023


Instructor:  TBA

Come join the wonderful world of Film and TV!  Learn all the ins and outs of what it’s like to paint for this industry. Enthusiastic Amy Shimko (IATSE Local 487) will lead your exploration, covering everything from your first day on set thru tools & techniques commonly used, and unveil Movie Magic only film folks know!
During these 3 days you will get hands on experience by making samples with surface prep, roping, spraying, ageing, rusting, wallpapering, temporary paint application and much more.  Learn the vocabulary, with info on materials and safety used in the field. Besides seeing pictures of sets, there will be a screening of a film you can ask questions about, discuss techniques and hear stories of how each set came to be.
This seminar will surely set you on the right track towards a great career!
Make your first day on set be a confident one!

Foliage Painting I: Photo-real Foliage painting Techniques

Date: Fall 2023


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 2023

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 2023


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!

Faux Bois: Interior Grade Woodgraining

Date: Spring 2024


Instructor: Nels Christianson

From New York City’s Christianson Lee Studios, Belgium’s Gold Medal of Excellence for Decorative Painting winner Nels Christianson arrives at Cobalt for his exclusive teaching engagement. This riveting seminar reveals the European realistic style Faux Bois in oils and beerglazing techniques. Nels is a meticulous guide as you make your own Maple, Mahogany, Oak and Walnut samples.

Stage Floors and the Scenic Artist

Date: Spring 2024


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.

Using Pneumatic Sprayers for Scenic Artwork

Date: Spring 2024


Instructor: Em Barnhill

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.  Em 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!

Sign Painting: The Art of Lettering for Film and Theatre

Date: Winter 2024


Instructor: TBD

This in-depth seminar addresses traditional sign materials, tools, alphabets & lettering techniques. Included is information on aged signs,special effects and unusual surfaces. 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!