Well, by the time a class of ten ladies exchange products (since you can't bring stuff like turpentine and oils on a plane) and everyone gets set up, paints get distributed, etc, a 3 hour seminar is down to around 2 hours.
The seminar itself was pretty interesting. The class sizes are small so everyone can crowd around the instructor's desk and watch while she (in this particular case, other seminars are taught by male instructors) demonstrates each part of the work.
Since the paints were mixed with fat-oil (what is used for traditional French & German painting), it dries rather quickly. This means you need to cover your paints up if you won't be using them for 5-10 minutes, but it also means that you can paint a coat and 10 minutes later you can paint over it without the colours mixing.
My first time using fat-oil :)
...actually, I was one of the better students in the class. I think the only reason this is so is because the mediums I'm used to (chinese brush/ink, pencil, etc) use broad, unhindered, free strokes... while painters who are used to the North American style of porcelain painting use an open medium oil (which doesn't dry) and the normal technique for that is to use small, blotty strokes. Dabbing, I guess you could call it. Basically blending with your brush right on the porcelain.
Basically, it's like re-training your brain how to use the tools. So I get how painters who have been paining in the NA style for 10+ years have difficulty switching over compared to someone like me, who has no ingrained habits.
So, here's my pheasant. Because it took so long to set-up, and some painters were a lot slower than others, each section of the instructor's demonstration kept getting pushed back farther and farther... so we ran out of time before even starting the background.
It was a lot of fun :) I think... I think fat-oil is a great medium to work in. I like it so much more than the open-medium oils 'cause it goes on so nice, but because it dries, it does have significant limits. You couldn't paint, say, a portrait or something super realistic with it (well, that I know of). It seems better suited to stylized work.
(click for full size)
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get into any other seminars, but there are demos running which are about 1 hour each (as compared to the 3 hour seminars). You don't get to actually paint/etc for the demos, but you can watch the instructor work/explain and take notes.
EDIT: by the way, the style of the pheasant is very traditional/typical for the old-style French & German painting. Personally, not to my taste, but I don't have to like it to learn it :)