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What Difference Can A Year Make?

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

At the Paris Salon - if I can do it...

Norfolk Painting School Martin Kinnear on the year he finally 'got it'

So I'd been painting for years, you know on and off, visiting galleries doing a bit of watercolours a bit of sketching.. interested yes, very happy learning yes - but focused - not at all. If that sounds like you then this blog might - just might - change your life.

I decided to change from being a curious amateur because I wanted to see what my life could be like if I could be a successful artist. The bad news for me was that there really wasn't anywhere to learn art, at least not the kind I wanted to do - so it took me three years of experimenting, reading, looking and asking just to glean enough to give myself a year to teach myself how to paint properly.

I still remember that week in 2004 as if it was yesterday, I cleared my studio and methodically worked through what I chosen to learn from everything I'd pulled together: Value, Optics, Suggestion not Detail, Close Interest... those were on my list and I came out with my style. Was it the best ever ? Of course not - but it was that essential thing - a great start I could build on.

My first Oil . Buttermere, 2004.

Learning to paint properly is an amazing and exciting personal journey !

By 2007 so many people were asking me how I learned painting that we started The Norfolk Painting School, and the rest as they say is history - well not quite... The first thing I realised we had to do to turn my style into 'their style' and to offer a lot more choices; the result was course after course on good painting choices.

In helping students develop their style, we soon found ourselves with a whole set of core courses which covered the Universal, the proven ,the useful and the indispensable.

We don't have a house style at the School its about you not us.

Over the next decade we taught those skills to thousands of amazing students and since lockdown its been my burning ambition to put that service back where it can carry on turning frustrated artists into skilled and fulfilled practitioners. So it's with immense pleasure that we can finally offer - for the first time in years - our full and proven core style building program online called Focus On

Focus On - the New Way to enjoy our Proven Courses

Three themes you really can build your artistic future around

Focus On is a set of twelve online courses divided into three themed learning plans which you can build your artistic fortunes upon.

Colour offers four sessions which you can take in any order which will not only teach you a process to paint in a colour focussed way - but over all four sessions will show you the very best colourist ideas to take into your own work. Find out more here

It took me ten years to learn this, it took me to the Salon !

Glazing can make you a successful traditional style painter with four classes covering everything from a core glazing technique to the very best optical methods for colourful, tonal and contemporary style building. Find out more here.

Nocturnes are a strong style choice, you'll always stand out .

Figures were my artistic obsession as a young man and where my practice started so our four figure sessions cover all of the stylistic building blocks you need for becoming a traditional portrait painter, a contemporary figure painter and everything in between. Find out more here.

If you're not using digital imaging yet you should be !

Start Today and Make 21 Your Year

I don't believe for a second that any one out there with enough artistic passion can't teach themselves to paint - but I certainly wish that somebody could have saved me a few years and got me started, with that in mind here's a plan for 21.

  • Join StudioTalk . It will give you different structured narrated demonstrations to watch for 7 days each week, plus an artistic community to multiply your learning with, all from just £2.50 a week. Plus, if you are already a member or join any of our StudioTalk packages - even a month - you can get 25% off any of our new Focus On courses if you book them before 28 Feb.

  • Choose your Style - Have a look at works you love and are the kind of thing you'd like to do and match that to one of our Focus On themes. Colour, Glazing and Figures all have classes to cover what you need to build your style, just like I did back in 2004.

See you in class.


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Lilwen Guest
Lilwen Guest
Feb 18, 2021

How do I book for the courses I have chosen tonight?

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