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If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Norfolk Painting School Course Director Martin Kinnear on how going by a different route will get you there sooner.

Monet, whose work we explored in the last of our sold out January Masterclasses

You can be forgiven if like me you think January was a bit of a blur, what with our classes and demos on landscapes, portraits, still lives, mixed media, Turner's glazing, Monet's Waterlilies.... its a whole lot of inspiration!

Still, there's a burning question which keeps dropping into my mailbox which it goes a bit like this...

' What's next on StudioTalk and please can I have the old ones to watch until I get them right?'

That's a fair question, and I'm asked it so frequently that I thought I'd answer it properly in thgis blog along with my top tips for a Fantastic February.

Interactive not Repetitive

If we were just broadcasters then of course we'd be delighted to send out videos of our past demonstrations, create an on demand library or provide other ways to induce you to pay to see endless re-runs.

Having been in the business of teaching since 2007, we have a proven plan to ensure that when you try or just watch the StudioTalk exercises, you'll learn exponentially more each and every week. Let me explain.

It's easy to record me creating a simple painting and yes, if one watched that on a loop and copied it to eventually get great results, but I don't think that's enough. We don't want you to just get good at recreating a given painting, but want you to be able to create any painting.

You don't want to just get good at recreating one painting

It's just the same as that old truism 'Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.'

We're in the business of teaching you how to fish; here's how it works:

  • We have a StudioTalk, a rolling program of regular demonstrations all of which teach good practice, this means that each week is cumulatively useful, the more you do the more good practice you'll get.

  • We change the problem but not the rules, so each week in StudioTalk we take those good practice habits and apply them to a different genre, at a different scale, or to a different aesthetic; everything changes but the important stuff stays the same: Its cumulative.

  • On StudioTalk we do them in under an hour so it's possible to give them a go in more or less any media and at any size, this means it's achievable and you'll get the benefit of it. Additionally, if you miss one there's always something new next week

  • Our Masterclasses take those same good practices and use a longer, in depth format to show you more alongside live class style interactivity to let you check your understanding as I demonstrate.

In a month you could get an appreciable improvement in your core skills by practicing well, over three months you'll be exposed to a wide range of painting 'problems' and have a better outcome. Plus you can top up with in depth masterclasses most weeks.

The reason we make a one year StudioTalk membership so affordable (under three quid a week), is simply that we know you won't want to do every painting but will want to engage with other members of the community to show your work, get feedback and share insights.

Painting is a big thing to learn, and takes time to absorb, so we put the one year package on to ensure you had the luxury of time to practice well.

Make February Fantastic

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got, so having just painted a Landscape after Seago and Impressionist Water Lillies on my Monet Masterclass, we'll be doing something completely different from 1 Feb; but which reinforces those same good culminative practice skills.

On the face of it Keith Vaughan has nothing to do with Seago or Monet, but on Tuesday I'll be demonstrating the amazing way he used shape and colour to create overall harmony whilst laying the ground for exciting compositional contrast.

Same great practice, absolutely different outcome

here are my top tips for turning the shortest month of the year into a huge learning opportunity.

  1. Practice that Reductive Colour palette

  2. Practice colour Extent

  3. Practice using Structural Value

You can get more on all of these - and other good practice skills on our February program.

  • Last StudioTalk: Look at how I'm transferring those textural ideas and colours from Seago to my study after Vaughan : that's good cumulative practice. If you're not signed up for StudioTalk you can just catch the Seago demo by joining us here.

  • Next StudioTalk: My live and interactive demonstration of this Kouros study after Keith Vaughan starts at 10am on StudioTalk, join up here for as little as £2.50 a week, or just try it out for a month for £30 to get this one and three more.

  • Masterclass: If you joined the Monet Masterclass note out how I'm exploiting parallels between this painting by Vaughan and Monet's use of colour extent in the Water Lillies. Don't forget to watch the on demand video if you signed up but couldn't make the live class.

  • Next Masterclass: If you missed out on the sold out Monet course, you can still follow up on Vaughan's amazing use of Value with a reductive palette by taking our Masterclass on Classical Florals, here

See you in class!

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sushma sabnis
sushma sabnis
Feb 02, 2021

Great advise Martin. I am trying to do my own take on after your studio Scottish colourist and still lifes in three primaries. I am grateful for your excellent introduction and decoding various ways you can manipulate and create an image as well as alchemy of materials.


Jill Chaloner
Jill Chaloner
Feb 01, 2021

Following on from that I am finding it useful to look at my own recent paintings whether "finished" or in hand to see whether the principles underlying a particular studio talk or masterclass can help resolve a difficulty or provide a new critique As an example I have a sunset sky painting which actually has a motif of red/orange with a lilac/grey roof as active colour and the Monet masterclass gave me a more nuanced understanding of how things could be re-evaluated and improved in that particular painting. That is over and above the value of doing the active studies of Monet's waterlilies.The particular paintings of the artist are only instances of a technique that is useful in a much…


Anthony Garland
Anthony Garland
Feb 01, 2021

Good advice.


Jill Craig
Jill Craig
Feb 01, 2021

What a great reminder of why painting links to emotions. It is very easy to fall into a repetitive loop of watch, copy, repeat, but as you say that doesn’t allow each person to develop their own style. What your demos do give us is so much inspiration, encouragement and detailed techniques which we can then have more courage to employ and take forward.

Looking back over last year I would say that everyone has grown in ability to produce independent paintings using the techniques demonstrated. Also, the collection of Studio talk paintings act as a wonderful reference to look back on and use in future works.

Thank you again Martin for your words of wisdom. That’s what makes you…

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