I view this opportunity as an honor because it clearly confirms what I firmly believe – that I'm always right. ("No it doesn't! Yes it does. No, it DOESN'T!!") Okay, at best it means I am able to offer up practical information about materials and technique with regards to oil painting. From the perspective of a seasoned painter and not a materials scientist. So I pledge I will make an effort to limit myself to only that line of discussion and not throw out too many side remarks about Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, or the Blue Dog Man. Unless I can't help myself (Ha! Actually, I think sliced-up cows floating in formaldehyde, shiny balloon-dogs, and obsessive paintings of the blue dog are uber-cool. But let's keep that confession a secret, okay? Don't want to ruin my chance to be considered a 'real' artist someday...)
I remember the early days following art school and how difficult it was to find information on sound painting techniques. I remember gazing at endless poorly printed artist-monographs, and spending hours trying to 'suss' out how this master painter did this or that master painter did that. And even now, today, I sometimes find getting solid technical advice can still be daunting, even with the internet at our fingertips. In the end, too much information is identical to too little information. The barrage can be confusing, to say the least.
So AMIEN is a great place to find out all sorts of things relating to painting. It's run by a collection of conservators, who volunteer their time, and it was started by Mark Gottsegen, the author of "The Painter's Handbook", a fine resource for straight-ahead painting practices in itself.
If you have a material or technical question relating to pushing paint around then I recommend a visit to AMIEN. It's a free resource and you'll read a quick and measured response in short order. In fact, here is the link to AMIEN's Forum Index, where you may search the archives, lurk, or publicly post a question.
However, do keep in mind AMIEN is a moderated and flame-free zone. And it maintains this environment by not allowing anyone to go too deeply into the subjective aesthetics of their art. So if you're a painter in search of a podium to launch your manifesto from, or simply an internet troll, then watch out, "cuz Link, from the real Mod Squad may just bust yo *ss!"