Meet Our 2017 Judges


Michael Harding

Born and raised in Kent, England Michael Harding is a Fine Arts college graduate. He is also a distinguished Fellow at The Royal Society of British Artists. Michael is an entrepreneur who loves “colour” and enjoys making the highest quality oil paints in the world.

Painter Michael Harding founded, “Michael Harding Art Materials Ltd” in 1982 London, England because he felt compelled to. While he attended attended art college in London, Michael kept trying to replicate the paint vibrancy and surface of Rembrandt’s works. But these qualities were not possible to achieve with commercially available oil paints, which almost seemed like a different medium altogether. He started making oil paints because he abhorred the quality of paint on the shelves in retail stores. So Michael exhaustively researched the methods and techniques used to create the Old Masters oil paints. And he began to grind his own.

With a growing sense of discovery, over time Michael succeeded in building and replicating the colours and brush out qualities of the Old Masters oil paints. He leapt forward as an artist. And his friend’s noticed, borrowing some of his paints, coming back for more, seeing their own work improve. Within weeks, word of mouth spread. Then the Victoria & Albert museum and other notable British institutions contacted Michael to acquire his hand made oil paints.

Today he continues to hand formulate and make over eighty-eight oil colours both ancient and modern. The difference in Michael’s oil paints is that he leaves out what other manufacturer’s put in . . . fillers. Because his paint products do not contain fillers his “tools” for artists work right from the tube, no medium needed unless for glazing purposes. While Michael has a number of signature colours, uncompromising favourites include; Lapis Lazuli, Genuine Chinese Vermilion, Genuine Naples Light and Dark and Stack Lead White made with the Dutch stack process of clay pots, horse dung and lead.

Michael Harding Art Materials Ltd is a United Kingdom based company. His oil paints are the benchmark for both professional and amateur artists in the United Kingdom. His product line is unique.

Chuck Olson

I have always looked at painting as response and invention – an end game to experience, reading, and observation that seeks to extend curiosity and possibilities. It has assumed many roles throughout its long history and continues to be vital despite the cyclical announcements of its death.

In our present culture, where the ever present TV/monitor disciplines one’s visual sense to ape the action of a scanner, painting offers relief in testing the screen anesthetized eye.

Paintings are built by decision and reaction – often finding character in the many traces of this deliberation left on the canvas. It has the capacity to contain all notions and respond to all influence. There remains great power in this.


1981 The Tyler School of Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
1976 M.A. in Painting, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.
1974 B.S. in Art Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.

Teaching Experience
1976 to present:
Professor of Art; Professor in the Fine Arts Department,
Saint Francis University Loretto, PA.