The most important Art lesson you'll ever have!

Why is this your most important lesson?

Because it's a Still Life painting! All pro artists revisit still life paintings regularly because it enables them to sharpen their skills without worrying about complex compositions and shapes.

By simplifying the objects to one of Cezanne's Three Essential Shapes (the circle), we are able to focus on refining our appreciation of the interaction between light and objects.

These images give some insight into the "Painterly" approach as opposed to a "Drawerly" approach. We learn to resist the tempation to draw dozens of neat circles, which is what your "left-brain-abstracts codified at the age of 5" will tell you to do!

Monet: Still Life with a Honeydew Melon, 1879 (excerpt) || Tonal Sketch
Loosely blocked.

Instead we look for the loosest possible way to describe edges, tones and hues, in full confidence that the end result will retain much more vitality and spirit than a dot-perfect rendering.

These are some behind-the-scenes shots of my lesson prep for Monet: Still Life with a Honeydew Melon, 1879 (excerpt).

Monet: Still Life with a Honeydew Melon, 1879 (excerpt) || Tonal Sketch
More colour added prior to glazing.

Monet: Still Life with a Honeydew Melon, 1879 (excerpt) || Tonal Sketch
Using Cezanne's simplified shapes to find the rhythm and placement of the grapes.

This process can be quite frankly, pretty scary at first, and that's why my coaching sessions are designed to make you feel comfortable, as you explore your inner artist and "Perfect a Painterly way of Seeing"!

Course Update Nov 7th, 2020

Hi guys and girls.

I've had a few enquiries asking when a particular painting or artist is going to be featured. By all means let me know what you're interested in - I keep lists!

But... don't hold your breath. Bear in mind this is a one-man operation, so time is my most limited resource. I put enough prep into each session that I could indeed publish a book for each session! Why don't I? To protect the I.P. At some point in the future I may publish all these painting guides, and in fact I have 14 art books in print at the moment.

Before I schedule any of the existing 100 plus paintings I need to:

  1. Analyse which of the 26 new Derivan hues are in the painting
  2. Paint the work again in most cases.
  3. Incorporate new analytical processes that I have developed over the past year.
  4. Incorporate new practical processes. For example, tomorrow's session (Monet: Camille with Green Parasol, 1876) is the first ever in which you are allowed to trace a difficult section (the face, umbrella and hands). This allows us to complete much more challenging works without being limited by your drafting skills.

The plan is to add one new piece for every legacy piece scheduled, so my work is cut out for me.

Also, and I guess I can't say this too often... it doesn't matter which painting you do - - - they all contain valuable lessons! There is no 'filler' in this syllabus.


Until the numbers pick up I'll only be running one session per week, mostly on Sundays.


Over the next couple of days I'll work out what next Sunday's session is. Further updates will be in the newsletter and I suggest you bookmark this page: Art Coaching Calendar on your phone.

Changes in the Coaching from Nov 1st, 2020

During the 'break' I have dramatically improved the course structure.

D R matically. Yes, that good.

You might say it has been lifted to a higher orbit. Innovations in the method will enable us to master an even broader repertoire of subject matter and styles (Klimt anyone?).

  • New name and and new focus: "Monet and Friends". As we know, Monet is the "Bach of Art", so he remains our core.
  • New paintings. 100+ and counting now.
  • New teaching aids including the facility to trace difficult parts of the paintings. This allows me to offer you much more complex paintings, including portraits, without you having to stress over the details.
  • Beautifully appointed larger premises (this is now a Luxury Boutique Atelier!).
  • Upgraded audio-visual equipment to the point where it is the best in any art studio in Sydney (prove me wrong!)
  • Improved lighting.
  • Larger and better quality canvas included in the fee. Larger at 406 x 510 mm with 38mm sides. These canvases look great even when hung without framing.
  • New frame styles, revised to suit the minimalistic decor some of you inhabit, and which you will see in the new studio.
  • Upgraded paints by Derivan - the base price of our paints has gone from $33 / litre to $66 / litre, with some of the red hues running up to $500+ per litre! All included in the fee.
  • 26 hues, up from the 8 previous. And they are beautiful!
  • Beautiful looking and quiet location in the leafy green church / library precinct of North Sydney, with lovely cafes in West St, only metres away.
  • Gourmet food and drinks included, adhering to the spirit of Monet's own gastronomic proclivities.
  • Longer session at 5 hours instead of 4, with a 15 minute mandatory break to ensure that the workaholics amongst you get to recharge and refresh. Yes, you know who you are!
  • All of this is reflected in the fee increase from $159 to $249 per session, with a new package available, offering $100 in savings per package.

Status update

June 22nd, 2020: Classes suspended and your options

Due to the Wuhan Flu crisis of 2020, all classes remain suspended several months into the situation.

Current 'social distancing' guidelines do not allow me to hold classes and there is no indication as to when those guidelines will be relaxed.

If you had a booking with a Groupon or Lux/Cudo voucher

As of 22nd June 2020 I am marking all people who had booked an audition as cancelled and refunded. I do apologise for the inconvenience, but it is out of my hands.

  • Please contact your supplier (Groupon or Lux) and they will provide a full refund. Quote this email if required (it shouldn't be).
  • If you want to attend a session when the Academy reopens, please check for announcements at: Your copy of the email newsletter and the front page at

Existing Gallery Quality Painting clients with credits remaining

You have two options:

  1. Your existing credits will be transformed into a fabulous upgrade when we reopen in the 'Monet & Friends' stream, which is a very substantial upgrade to what you have enjoyed the past couple of years in the Gallery Quality Painting program.
  2. Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. regarding a refund. Please consider that when we do reopen with 'Monet & Friends' it will be at a higher price point and there will be no packages.

Prospective Students

If you are interested in auditioning for a spot in our 'Monet & Friends' program, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you will be kept up to date via my newsletter.