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UPDATE: October 2012

Studio van Gogh is now closed to the general public.  Kathy van Gogh has launched her line of furniture refinishing products for the Do-It-Yourself market as well as the professional market. 
van Gogh Furniture Paintology is an exciting new CANADIAN product line specifically created to make turning old gargage sale pieces into shabby chic and French Provence beauties!  While Kathy now exclusively teaches the retailers of her product line, you can still learn all of her techniques by taking a class from one of her retailers.  For the first time ever, Kathy has made all of these wonderful professional and high end finishes available to the Stay-at-home-Mom, the wise Grandma who finally has time to spread her creative wings, or the go-getter powerhouse who already owns a business or is ready to walk into her dream and create one!  We have opportunities for everyone!  Please come visit us at


Studio van Gogh is the only teaching studio in all of Western Canada.  We are here to promote and expand the Decorative Arts in North America.  We bring European standards and techniques to Canada.  We share centuries old techniques and closely guarded secrets with our students. 

We have two streams of education.  Both provide excellence in training, fun and dynamic teaching, and soul-nurturing creativity.  You will leave our classes tired, but positively bursting with joy and knowledge! 


Decorative Painting 101

In this workshop, we will play with paint, glaze and plaster using the same water-based products the pros use, the Proceed line by Golden Artist Colours.  You will be guided step-by-step through multiple layer processes using a variety of tools including trowels, spatulas and brushes.  Each student will create 4 beautiful sample boards suitable for framing.  These techniques can be used in your fine art painting to take it to the next level of complexity.  You will learn how to build depth and movement into your work to achieve beautiful results.  The finishes will range from luxurious metallics to old world plasters.  This is the perfect starting place for anyone interested in learning more about this ancient art form.   

1 Day – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM - $275 June 26, 2010


Hollyburn Country Club

950 Crosscreek Rd

West Vancouver, BC


CALL KATHRYN COWDEN at 604-913-4535 to register.

Classes at IDAL (International Decorative Artisans League) Conference July 2010
Kathy will be offering two classes at this annual convention that is not to be missed for any West Coasters!  This conference will not be back on the West Coast for another three years.  You can drive there from Vancouver!  To register for classes, go to

Backsplash in a Bag (Another class in the “I’m sick of climbing the ladder series”)

Now that everyone is doing countertops – why don’t you do backsplashes and sinks?  We have created 4 “Drop Dead Gorgeous Backsplashes” that you can use to up-sell your countertop installation, or sell them on their own.  Not only will we teach you how to create these works of art for the kitchen, we have created a step by step kit that takes all the guess work out it for you.  You select your backsplash and purchase the corresponding kit and away you go!  Or if you prefer, use your favourite products instead of ours.  Either way, you will love the results and after our class, you will have all the confidence you need to actually do this!  BONUS – We’ll teach you how to use the same techniques to create one-of-a-kind vessel sinks or vases .

Each student will leave with 4 completely sellable backsplash samples

Techniques used: Verre Eglomise (glass gilding), plastering, glazing, gilding, painting

Sponsors: STUDIO van Gogh, Proceed by Golden Artist Colors, DecoFinish/Oikos; Earth Colors of Provence

Art as Feature Panels (Another class in the “I’m sick of climbing the ladder series”)

Here you will learn how to create unusually shaped pieces of fresco art that look and feel like they are broken pieces of Pompeiin walls, ready for hanging or selling to high end home décor stores.  But Wait – there’s more!  We have created a fantastic way to make your fresco into a mosaic!!!!  Can’t paint a fresco?  Who cares?  We’re the queens of faking it!  You will also create an exquisite, very refined ornamental french piece on canvas. We’ll teach you how to marouflage (affix  it directly on the wall).  You don’t need to be able to draw to create these real hand painted works you’ll be proud to sell and install.  The best part is you create them in your studio while you listen to great music and drink wine…and hey, if you really want to, go ahead and do the whole wall this way!

Each student will leave with two GORGEOUS panels.

Techniques used: Plastering, glazing, waxing, painting and a bit of gold leafing

Sponsered by STUDIO van Gogh, DecoFinish/Oikos, Proceed by Golden, Earth Colors of Provence

For Professionals

For the professional that is looking for a fast-paced, portfolio enhancing course that will allow you to hit the ground running with sellable samples that set you apart from your competition.  Studio van Gogh is constantly innovating, creating new finishes with the latest technology in professional products, as well as preserving the lost arts of ancient times such as Gilding, Grottesca, Fresco and true Marble and Limestone Veneers.

For Do-It-Yourselfers

We offer a more relaxed atmosphere for those that aren't concerned with making a living in the decorative arts, but want the pleasure of creating a beautiful finish in their own homes.  Students will receive the same excellence in training, but at a fun pace rather then in a production-oriented environment. 

If there are specific techniques you would like to learn, custom classes may be arranged privately, either as a group (what a fun gift or Girl's Weekend Art Retreat!) or one-on-one.   Otherwise, we offer the following array of classes, scheduled at different times throughout the year.

All classes taught by Kathy van Gogh unless otherwise noted.

5 Day Intensive Decorative Wall Finishes Course

This is a very intensive course that will take you from the beginning of decorative wall finishes (faux) to a point where you will leave with 20 finished sample boards in your portfolio.  Hit the ground running with high-end finishes you can show to Designers and Clients.  Learn all about the tools of the trade, the products to use and how to create stunning finishes in acrylic and lime-based plasters, paints and glazes. Business Seminar included. $1700 – 5 Days 
2-Day Introduction to Golden Proceed Toolkit for Professionals
This class is geared toward the professional or soon to be professional decorative painter. Fast paced and business-oriented.  We will create 8 finished boards using the new professional line of plasters, paints, glazes and pigments designed specifically for our industry.  Focus will be on production and selling gorgeous finishes.  

$499 – 2 Days


2-Day Introduction to Golden Proceed Toolkit for Homeowners
This class is similar to our 2 Day Golden Proceed for Professionals but the pace is slower and less labour intensive.  The finishes are less complicated and completely do-able for the novice creative person.  The experienced painting contractor can use these finishes to offer their clients specialty finishes.  Students will leave with 8 stunning sample boards.
 $299 – 2 Days                        

Lime Plaster
Tired of burnishing plaster until your arm falls off?  You need to learn how the Italians do it and the tools they use.  This class teaches you how to apply the plaster correctly, when to burnish, how to prepare and how to finish so that you can create the most incredible glass-like polished plasters or truly old world plaster walls. 

$499 – 2 Days


The ancient art of Fresco.  Learn true Buon Fresco just as Michelangelo decorated the Sistine Chapel, and you too will create an incredible piece of art that will last through the centuries.  A truly timeless and beautiful, yet little-known art form.  Guest Master Instructor, iLia Annosov will join us for this class. Each student will create a true fresco on tile. $750 - 3 Days
Faux Fresco
Learn how to create a very convincing replica of part of Michelangelo’s creation on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  No drawing skills required!  Each student will leave with a gorgeous painted fresco on canvas. $499 – 2 Days
Colour Theory
Ever wondered why some colours just don’t work together?  Learn how to use tried and true rules to ALWAYS get it right.  Learn the rules so that you can then break them!  Tint your own plasters and glazes with confidence! $199 – 1 Day
Have you ever wanted to learn the fine art of gold leafing?  This one-day class will teach you the basics including the differences between real gold leaf and composition leaf, what kind of size to use, how to apply the leaf in various ways and how to burnish and seal.  Students will leave with two beautifully leafed pieces.  $299 – 1 Day   

Children’s Underwater Mural

Now you can paint a fantastic and whimsical mural for any child that they well be thrilled with!  Paint it right on the wall for some lucky child!  Each student will leave with a completed mural on canvas, which can be sized up and repainted to scale. $499 – 2 Days

Sky and Cloud Mural
How many times have you longed to paint a beautiful sky with fluffy white clouds floating in it?  Well now you can learn all the methods for creating this look for any room in the house.  Each student will leave with a mural on canvas suitable for hanging. $499 – 2 Days 
May Flower Guest Instructor Lisa Wolfin
Oh those breathtaking gorgeous huge flowers!  Is there anyone that doesn’t love these pieces?  Come and learn the trick to creating your own.  Each student will leave with an incredible flower picture on canvas that they will be proud of! $499 – 2 Days 
Christmas Ornaments
Spend a really fun and positive day creating gorgeous ornaments for your tree, home or as heirloom gifts.  These are high-end pieces you will be proud to take home. $99 (Wow!) – 1 Day

Sat Nov 29, 2008

Pinup Portrait - Guset Instructor Lisa Wolfin
You will be the model in a photo shoot and select your favourite saucy picture (no nudity, just attitude).  Watch the demo as the instructor manipulates your picture in photoshop then learn how to paint it on an 8” square canvas.  Each student will leave with a wonderful sassy self-portrait. $499 - 2 Days
Murals for the Artistically Challenged
So you can’t draw stickmen huh?  In this class students will learn several “cheating” methods to transfer designs onto canvas and create wonderful murals.  Two classes are offered, each with a different mural.  Choose from a Children’s Mural Class or a Landscape theme.  Each student will leave with one mural on canvas that they will be proud of!  $499 – 2 Days 
Projection Art - Georgina King
Learn how to project your design onto a wall and paint convincing murals.  Topics include which designs work best, where to buy or rent equipment and the best kind of paints to use.  Turn any wall into a work of art! $199 – 1 Day 
Learn to use small pieces of glass, tile, and treasured objects to create beautiful one of a kind pieces of art.  This technique is wonderful for tabletops, bathrooms, kitchens and picture frames.  Each student will leave with one completed frame. $250 – 2 Days 

Turn boring surfaces into beautiful exotic woods.  Now you can learn this highly sought after skill professionally.  You won’t believe how much better cabinets, tables, walls, cupboards, furniture and inexpensive trims can look when treated with these marvellous techniques.  Students will learn to render several woods including Italian Walnut, Mahogany, Oak, Makassar Ebony and more.   This skill was taught to me by the incredible master Mike MacNeil.  If we are lucky, we will convince Mike to teach this class.

 $499 – 2 Days


Art on Canvas

Let us show you how to use plasters, paints, glazes and decorative painting techniques to connect with your own creativity.  Drawing skills are NOT required.  Several innovative techniques will be taught and students will use any or all of these techniques to create their own art. This class will also help accomplished painters to loosen up!  Each student will leave with one canvas work of art.  $399- 2 Days 
Exotic Skins
Create some of today’s hottest prints including tiger, ostrich, crocodile, snake, elephant, leopard and studded leather.  Utilizing paints and plaster, and other mediums, these techniques can be applied to walls, furniture and accessories – a truly fun and inspiring class!            $499 – 2 DaysTBD    
Hot Pinks!
These new versatile one time use vinyl stencils will elevate your work well beyond your competition.  There is just no other way to get these complex but perfect results in the same amount of time.  Custom designs, logos, art and more are all possible.  Students will learn several decorative finishes all employing the use of Hot Pinks!  Each student will leave with eight incredible boards that rival the highest end wallpaper!  Designers will flip! $499 – 3 Days               
Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing
Why throw out your existing cabinets when you can repaint them for a fraction of the cost to buy new ones.  This class will teach you how to refinish your existing cabinets in several high-end finishes that your friends will think you spent thousands of dollars on. Each student will take home six finishes on crown moulding (or bring two of your own cabs to work on in class) $550 – 3 Days

Counters and Backsplashes

“How do I give new life to tired counters and backsplashes “ – a question frequently asked.    Let us show you how without going to the expense of replacing them.   Renovate them - you will feel pride of ownership and you’ll be saving our landfills!  Come and learn faux tumbled marble, concrete overlays, paint for counters! (YES-YOU CAN) and contemporary finishes specifically designed for these areas. This class is a natural complement to our Cabinet Makeover Class

            $750 – 4 Days

Furniture Painting and Specialty Finishing

Learn high end decorative treatments to elevate your old pieces of furniture.  This class has a little bit of everything including gilding, painting, distressing, crackle, hand painting and more.  Each student will take home a completed chair and several sample boards.


$550 – 3 Days

Antique Mirrors

Turn an everyday mirror in a century’s old work of art that will fool even the Antiques Roadshow experts! Techniques include gilding, patination and distressed metallic background.  A perfect complement to our Furniture Painting workshop.

$299 – 1 Day

Art Deco - Kathy van Gogh and Georgina King

If you love Art Deco (as we do!), this class is for you.  Create silhouette murals, decorated mirrors and even doors utilizing the designs of the era.  Techniques can also be applied to walls, furniture and objects d’art.  Fabulous!

            $450 - $450


Learn how to paint convincing marbles such as Sienna, Carrere and Verde and Grand Antique.  Perfect for baseboards, sills, trims and columns.  Students will leave with 6 completed sample boards.


$499 – 2 Days

Custom Wallpaper

Make your own totally custom wallpaper or learn how to use our in-store line of Stoneybrook Wallpaper.  Paper plique techniques are used to create unusual and beautiful effects. Students will create 5 different sample boards.


$199 - 1 Day

Acid Stained Concrete Floors

This is a very chic floor treatment that is huge in the USA and coming into vogue here in high-end urban settings as well as many commercial and residential spaces.  Want to walk on art?  This is what you’ve been waiting for! Students will make 4 sample boards and participate in real on the job training in studio.


$750 – 3 Days


Basic Painting 101

With a little training, anyone can learn to do a good job house painting.  Learn the tricks of the trade that separate you from a total amateur. 


$199 – 1 Day


An Evening of Colour - Georgina King

This highly informative and entertaining seminar will give you all the skills and confidence you need to select a harmonious and dynamic colour scheme for your home.  Lighting, undertones, space, sheen selection – everything you need to know.


$25 evening



The Business End of the Paintbrush – Marketing your Business

Due to popular demand, Kathy is finally offering this seminar as a stand-alone class.  Everything you need to know about how to bid jobs, quote properly, create winning contracts that protect you and the consumer, get those Designers on-board, market your business in unique, successful ways and how to take care of the business end of the paint brush.  Students will leave with their own logo, contract, quote form, Hot Pink! (custom stencil) in their business name, business name stamp and business cards.


$599 – 2 Days


Children’s Art Program

We are currently developing several classes designed especially for children.  We believe in nurturing their self-esteem and creative expression at van Gogh Art School.  We will be introducing an entire curriculum for school-aged children including our own local teacher “Grandma Jacki” who will guide your children through many wonderful craft projects.  Additionally, we will be offering many other art courses to inspire and encourage creativity.  We plan to have full-week workshops by Summer 2010.

In the Pipeline!

New classes are constantly being developed, so if there’s something you would love to learn (and bring your friends along for a fun custom group session) and you don’t see it here, let us know and we’ll make every effort to accommodate your needs. The sky’s the limit!


We invite you to join us for hands-on classes and ……



A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking for any classes.  The balance is to be paid upon arrival the first day of the class.  Your deposit will be refunded in full if you should cancel any time prior to two weeks before the class date.  Your deposit can be applied to other classes in the future if you need to cancel your seat within two weeks of the class date, but it will not be refunded.
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