Exhibiting students in Melbourne

We are extremely proud to announce that two of our students are exhibiting this month! Be sure to visit and experience their work and support them on their artistic journeys!

Arjun in front of his work, Budgie, acrylic on canvas, 2018

Arjun attends our Children’s Art Class with artist Marco Corsini every Monday. His wonderful work, Budgie, will be on display as part of Brunswick Street Gallery’s “Small Works” exhibition. The exhibition is open to the public from 21 July to 16 August. Congratulations Arjun – we are so proud!

Exhibition dates: 21 July – 16 August.
Opening event: Friday 27 July, 6–9pm
Location: 322 Brunswick St, Fitzroy (Wurundjeri Biik)
More infohttp://brunswickstreetgallery.squarespace.com/current-exhibitions/

Isabel Koslowsky acrylic and soft pastel, 2018

Isabel has been attending Marco’s Friday morning Drawing and Painting Class. You can view her recent work at a joint exhibition with Erica Bettles at red gallery. The exhibition explores landscapes and subjectivity – peoples’ associations, their memories, sense of purpose, belonging and emotions.

Her landscapes are an abstract body of work which are dreamscapes. They capture emotions based on experiences in nature. She thanks everyone so much for their support. “And a special mention to Marco – for his encouragement and support in class motivated me to work on paintings, on my skills and to commit to my work.” A huge congratulations, Isabel!

Exhibition dates: 25 July – 12 August.
Location: 157 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, Victoria, 3068
More info: http://redgallery.com.au/25-july-12-august-erica-bettles-isabel-koslowsky-dreamscapes/

10 things a beginner artist needs to know

The beginning of an artist’s journey can be fear-inducing, overwhelming, exciting, inspiring (among many other things)! These ten tips will hopefully help you successfully continue on your creative path, with the knowledge that the journey is just as important (if not more) as the destination.

1. You will really learn how to “see”

Drawing is the foundation of many art practises, and you will most likely find yourself learning how to draw again, and during this period, you will learn (or re-learn) how to “see”.

The moment that lightbulb switches on for a beginner artist is unforgettable. It is when you move away from the way you drew as a child. For example, a nose is not a “nose” anymore – it is made up of many smaller shapes – balls, cylinders and curved lines. You will begin to look at previously mundane objects around you and break them down into parts – analysing the different shapes within shapes; the negative space around them; the graduation of lights and darks. Learning how to draw truly opens up a new way of seeing – and it is so exciting!

2. Always be curious

Have your eyes open. Be observant; look at and be engaged in the physical world around you. It can not only inspire you, it can bring forth those moments of inspiration that wouldn’t normally strike you if you didn’t have your eyes truly open.

3. You are unique

You have a unique way of viewing the world and you have chosen to share this through art. Someone, somewhere will identify with your view and love what you do, and even pay for it. Don’t be scared if your work is different; as we all know, controversial artwork in the past has created art movements.

4. Don’t compare your work to others’

The only work you should be comparing is your new work to you old. Everyone is on a journey, and there will always be someone who is ahead of you. It’s very easy to compare your work to other artists’; however, this is not useful if it is affecting your art practice in a negative way. Learn from others, be inspired by others, and reserve the comparisons for your studio only.

5. Prioritise your creative practise

Create every single day or as often as you can. It’s the only way you will learn, and improve. Overcome your internal resistance; it is important to prioritise time to be creative in your life if you want to grow.

6. Keep learning

You don’t have to attend traditional art school to become an artist, however, taking art classes to improve your skills will help get you there faster. If you’re interested in a certain style – research it. Visit galleries and find art the inspires you – then copy it. Learn how the masters created their work; learn about the mistakes they made, and their successes. Take technical art classes, or engage with your local art scene and join an art community to be in the company of other creatives. And don’t stop learning!

7 Embrace your mistakes

The best thing about making mistakes is that you can learn from them. What you might see as a mistake at first, could be part of the journey to a great piece of art. When you believe you have made a mistake, try and push through and continue working. It is often a blockage, and it takes courage to continue working with it. Or leave the piece of work so you can sit with it for a few days – you will often come up with a solution (and you have learnt so much more than if you destroyed the work).

8. Stop thinking

During the creative process, have you ever experienced what can be described as “flow”, where the concept of time disappears and so does your internal dialogue, and it is just you and your work? It’s hard to switch off your inner critic, or your daily running dialogue, but when you do – magic happens. Sometimes it helps not to have a perceived end-goal, and just create for the sake of being creative. This can also help break the initial mental barrier preventing the physical act of creating – to stop thinking/judging/analysing and put that pencil or brush to paper. See what happens.

9. It takes time

It can be frustrating when you are just starting out and can see a masterpiece in your head, but you don’t yet have the skills to bring it to life. Be kind to yourself and remember that every artist has experienced this part of their journey. It takes a lot of work. Enjoy the journey and the improvements you notice in your work along the way.

10. Believe in yourself

Self-doubt can be your biggest enemy. Until you really believe in yourself, you will not understand the true enormity of this statement. These tips above should help you get some of the way there, however you can only truly know when you believe in yourself. We believe in you!

 At Melbourne Art Class we offer a range of art classes for every step of the artist’s journey. You can view all of our current courses here.

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Learning to Fly – Marco Corsini’s upcoming exhibition

Exhibition dates: 4 – 17 April

Opening: 6 April 6pm – 9pm

Location: Brunswick Street Gallery

I began to reflect on the King River as a source. Its river stone beds and shallow streams, sometimes bubbling around arrangements of boulders, sometimes disappearing into deep, dark, still waters, which had never been beautiful to me when growing up and I had never thought of its significance in our lives beyond its supply of water. The river as a source which had branded a primordial sense of dependency and intimacy within me over my half lifetime. The river that constantly flowed, had always flowed, will always flow. The river that bound us around itself and preserved us. I slowly connected to the idea of source and slowly felt that my own dependency on this source was being revealed. That I had felt a need for years now, to constantly return to this source. I began to connect with the notion of origin and that just as I sat on the banks of this river or swam or drank from it, all I could ever do was draw close to it, to be within in, return to it. I had to return to this river. I have always returned to the King River.

From, Returning to the river, Marco Corsini, 2016

Marco Corsini’s paintings feature the landscape and his immediate environment. Using shifts in viewpoint and perspective and often painted over extended periods of time, the works explore perception and the nature of painting as a recorder of experience rather than as a representative tool. Alongside a phenomenological interest in consciousness and experience, Corsini’s work also incorporates personal motifs such as the horse, indicating the artist’s own presence. The paintings explore perception and subjectivity, asking us to go beyond everyday discourse into deeper engagement with the nature of our existence.

Originally published on Thursday, 29 March, 2018 by Marco Corsini

Fractured Dwellings: Rosi Griffin

Paintings that describe fragmented domestic spaces populated with disintegrating walls, are timely. They come when the industrial spaces around Rosi Griffin’s Collingwood studio are rapidly transforming with new developments continually springing up for a swelling inner city population. They come at a time when massive rises in Australian house prices have turned property development and residential renovation into a national sport when glossy magazine style layouts of idealised domestic spaces cloud our image of that the home has been for most of us.

Fragmented Dwelling, Rosi Griffin, acrylic on canvas, 122x91cm

The paintings, Fragmented Dwelling and Urban Transformation, describe this time as the disintegration of the domestic space. Not only is the possibility of ownership becoming more remote for emerging generations but for those that have a home, the domestic space is now set in the context of surrounding development and unattainable images of perfection. The domestic space is being threatened on many levels as materialistic impulses cloud out communal and familial impulses. The stability and viability of that space is being torn, dislocated and shredded like the walls in these paintings. We can no longer claim to be escaping the slums, as Modernism claimed almost century ago, rather, it is now all for the sake of the new and the ideal as dictated by fake images of domestic perfection.

Urban Transformation, Rosi Griffin, mixed media on board, 60x50cm

Walls create a space that not only protect, but also provide a known place, and in that place gradually builds a narrative of belonging. The experience of a neighbourhood, the identification with a place are held by familiar walls. The walls of our home, the walls of our streets, are pages on which our stories are written. Without them we fall into a a perpetual present with no past, perpetual change eroding a language of belonging. Language of home gradually disintegrates and becomes abstracted until all that we have in its place are traces of memory of what was. As in Build after demolition, we no longer have identifiable walls, just the trace of walls that define a present space with no history and no story. Edges without containment and protection.

Build after demolition, Rosi Griffin, acrylic on canvas, 112x140cm

Opening Friday 2 June, 6 pm to 8 pm at St Heliers Street Gallery, Abbotsford Covent, 1 St Heliers Lane, Abbotsford.

Written by Marco Corsini

Tim McMonagle – Buangor

Gnarly eucalyptus trees often seen on a well-travelled stretch of road near the town Buangor, in country Victoria, was the starting point for Tim McMonagle’s latest exhibition. Buangor is a collection of five oil-on-linen paintings, painted on McMonagle’s preferred square format.

Tim McMonagle 'The Admiral' 2016 oil on linen 124.5 x 124.5 cm
Tim McMonagle, ‘The Admiral’ 2016, oil on linen, 124.5 x 124.5 cm












Each painting consists of one tree in a uniquely contorted form with hints of vitality depicted in the occasional sprouting green leaf. The colours are mostly muted browns, pale blues and greys, mustardy yellows and olive greens. McMonagle added intricate details to his mesmerising trees; hints of vibrant oranges and yellows and texture with brushstrokes and thick paint. An energy is also present, particularly in Pull the Cup 2016.

To paint the twisted, mythical old trees, McMonagle relied heavily on his imagination, but also on a soundtrack to get him into the painting process. “It’s the music that got me into the right head space,” he says. “I put this on everyday I painted.” He is talking about the album, At Action Park by Shellac, an album that’s been described as rock, post-hardcore and punk. The influence of the music is evident in the dynamic and somber elements of the paintings. To expand on this, McMonagle borrowed song titles to name his paintings.

Tim McMonagle, Installation view
Tim McMonagle, Installation view

STATION Gallery, 9 Ellis St, South Yarra

5th-26th March 2016


Written by Elizabeth Fritz


Monet’s water lilies at l’Orangerie, Paris

I was lucky enough to be in France in May this year and ticked off a few things from my bucket list (read here about visiting Arles and Van Gogh). High up on the list was to see Monet’s water lilies at Le Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris. This small museum is not part of the mainstream tourist route, especially when most people do not have long in the city and try to cram in all the must-see sites in a few days. However, I think the l’Orangerie should be added to the list (though not to everyone’s list because it will get too crowded)! It is not only historically and artistically significant; it also offers some respite from a busy day of being a tourist.  Though you can only truly understand this until you visit…

Paris’ impressive L’Orangerie building, which was used to billet WW1 soldiers who were on leave from the trenches, has housed Claude Monet’s monumental water lily paintings since 1927. 

Monet was invited by then French Prime Minister, and friend, Georges Clemenceau, to display his large-format water lilies, which he began working on in 1914. This project consumed much of Monet’s later years and he worked on them until he passed away in December 1926. A second floor was built at the l’Orangerie, which blocks natural light, intended for the water lilies. They were installed a year after his death.

You have no doubt seen images of the building: two oval-shaped rooms in which you can stand and be immersed – 360 degrees – by Monet’s expanse of eight water lily paintings. As soon as I stepped into the first room, I was moved to tears. As much as it is a cliché, images do not do Monet’s paintings justice, nor the room itself. This is what I mean by offering some respite from being a busy tourist. Monet’s intention was to create “the refuge of a peaceful meditation in the center of a flowering aquarium.” There are seats along the middle of both rooms where you can sit and feel like you are enveloped in Monet’s blues, sweeping greens and expertly brushed water lilies. Monet water lilies

The first room displays the water lily paintings that most people are familiar with and have been used for countless merchandise items (yes I do have one of those notebooks…).  People say that this room evokes the feeling of dawn, with its light blues and peach hues.

tree trunks Monet water lilies






The second room houses some water lily paintings I had never seen before. This room felt like it was darker, with thick tree trunks dominating surprisingly large portions of the paintings, and sweeping dark green branches. People say this room evokes dusk. I would have to agree; the blues and greens were noticeable darker and the entire room felt cooler. The paintings affect the feeling of the room – for me, the room only exists to experience the water lilies; you could forget where you were when surrounded by them and take in a moment that is truly the present.

If lined up side-by-side, these eight paintings would measure a huge 91 metres. Monet said that he wanted to create “the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank.”  And not only does the room allow you to stand back and let all his brushstrokes form his recognizable garden (or the feeling of it), you can walk right up to them (there is not glass protecting them) and see how his water lilies were formed – with three of four perfectly placed red brushstrokes that seem to have been painted at random.water lilies detail









If you are ever in Paris and cannot make the day-trip to Giverny, I urge you to  make time to visit L’Orangerie.  You will be able to imagine what his country garden is like by simply standing, or sitting in these two rooms – and experience what was Monet’s world.

Written by Lauren Ottaway.

40×40 Art Prize – Brunswick Street Gallery

paintbrushFitzroy art space, Brunswick Street Gallery (BSG), is calling out for applications for their annual Art Prize, 40×40 2015.

Brunswick Street Gallery runs a number of large-scale prize shows every year, with a focus on creating opportunities for emerging artists to exhibit their work, and to forge links between these artists and their visiting public.

This is an open call for entries to their upcoming 40×40 prize, and all entries are exhibited for the entire highly attended month-long exhibition. This is a great opportunity to gain immense exposure for your work.  All work is welcome, regardless of media, theme, or approach. The only restrictive condition is that work must measure 40×40(x40)cm or smaller.

The entries are judged by a panel, and awarded prizes based on best execution within chosen medium, uniqueness and deftness in approach, and demonstrated concise ability. Prizes include a first prize of $2000, a second prize of a solo exhibition at BSG in 2016, and also numerous vouchers from their sponsors.

BSG offers a completely unique viewing experience of work from contemporary emerging artists. They opened its doors in 2007 and continues to be a platform for diverse creative practises. They are dedicated to providing a space for emerging artists’ and their works to be viewed and experienced. The gallery is a space with an aim to create an accessible environment where art is accessible to everyone; where emerging artists can artists find new collectors and recognition for their work.

BSG engages with contemporary concepts and approaches, providing curated exhibition spaces for emerging creative artists and the public. They feature artists as solo exhibitors and in the context of conceptual group exhibitions. Conciseness and talent define these diverse artists, who are united in the gallery spaces at BSG.

You can find more about the 40×40 art prize here: http://brunswickstreetgallery.squarespace.com/40×402015-applications/

Submission deadline is November 25

The exhibition will run from December 14 to January 16.

– Other Worlds – Philip Wolfhagen’s Latest Exhibition

by Elizabeth Fritz

Other Worlds, is a collection of landscape paintings that embody the subtleties of the natural world; the changing light and weather, the evolving colours and the textural intricacies of the environment. But it’s the depth within the landscapes, the movement, and the emotional response that standout.

The landscape that surrounds Tasmanian artist Philip Wolfhagen, has been penetrating his being for a long time. They are triggers for new works, sources of colour and light, and they are a connection to the past and the present. Landscapes, and elements within the landscapes fuel his imagination and solidify a starting point. From here, with the inclusion of classical music, beeswax, and a primary colour palette his evocative and perceptual paintings begin to develop.

Philip Wolfhagen The Serpentine Path 2015 Oil and beeswax on linen 96.0 x 338.0 cm (overall) Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Philip Wolfhagen
The Serpentine Path 2015
Oil and beeswax on linen
96.0 x 338.0 cm (overall)
Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

The Serpentine Path 2015, a group of three paintings on linen with oil and beeswax, depicts impressions of the undulations in the land. Rocks, shrubs and paths and a never-ending horizon complete the picture. The subdued colours of browns, greys and greens are blended to create contrast, depth and texture all at once. For Wolfhagen, a landscape isn’t about precision and accuracy but rather a representation of the natural world, in which he harnesses the atmosphere, the mood and the light. His paintings are emotive and represent a snapshot of a fleeting moment in nature.

Philip Wolfhagen Other World No. 1 2015 oil and beeswax on linen 200.0 x 214.0 cm Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Philip Wolfhagen
Other World No. 1 2015
oil and beeswax on linen
200.0 x 214.0 cm
Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

The large scale Other World No.1 2015 draws the viewer into the landscape. The shear size is like a window you could move through. Strong shades of browns and oranges in the foreground are gradually teamed with greys and blues that fade into the distance. The painting commands stillness as the eye moves into the distance. It is as though Wolfhagen’s landscapes urge the viewer to stop and take notice.

Discussion between author and Philip Wolfhagen

I have read that music plays a very important part in your painting process. One of the standout features in your paintings is movement, is it your engagement with the music that enlivens your paintings?

I would say that listening to music keeps me aloof from the act of painting. It is a means to maintaining a separation; it promotes more rational thought processes, and is a caution against too much self awareness. It is possible that the influence of the music translates into movement, if not in the image itself, then certainly in the accumulation of gestures that comprise the image.

Another standout feature is the depth you create in your landscapes. Does the depth represent the deep feelings you have with the natural world and the deep respect for the historical and cultural past?

The illusion of receding space is a vital element in my work because each successive painting is representative of a journey; a never ending reinvention of self. The passage from ones own position to the always shifting vanishing point is inexhaustible in its potential for meaning. 

Philip Wolfhagen
Other Worlds
1 July-1 August 2015

Karen Woodbury Gallery
Level 1/167 Flinders Lane

Andrea J. Smith’s exhibition at Australian Galleries

Andrea J. Smith’s new body of work was recently exhibited at Australian Galleries, Derby Street.
Andrea J. Smith Three ladels, 2011
Andrea J. Smith Three ladels, 2011

Andrea was a guest artist at Melbourne Art Class in 2013, discussing her art and work practices such as the use of the “sight size” technique.

Knowing how she creates her works allowed me to examine the paintings in her exhibition with a more attuned eye and not just simply be overawed by her skill.
 Andrea trained in the use of traditional oil painting techniques used by the old masters at the Florence Academy, which is evident in her work.
Every portrait and still life has a strong illusionary quality.  When standing afar, you may think you are peering in to a Mediterranean kitchen, with plump, bold tomatoes, eggplants and persimmons playing the characters on weathered surfaces and rusted metal.
However, when you get closer to the paintings, you can see playful brushstrokes skilfully placed to give a slight sheen to the skin of fruit, or the crispness to a lemon leaf.

Andrea J. Smith detail of Ladle and lemons 2014
Andrea J. Smith detail of Ladle and lemons 2014
Andrea has explored combinations of complimentary colours in her still life works, Composition of blue and orange, Composition of red and green. The colours do not seem to be the focus of these still lifes however, as they do not dominate her limited palette.
The portraits in her exhibition all have a haunting quality to them. Her subjects stare at you, illuminated by the gold leaf surrounding them; they almost float towards you.

Andrea J. Smith The four seasons 2003
Andrea J. Smith The four seasons 2003

These paintings have bolder colours, yet retain the soft, almost dusty light that Andrea captures in her still lifes.

She also has a number of landscape paintings in her exhibition, which appear to be painted more freely than the other works.
A looseness and energy to her brushwork is evident, where only a few brush strokes suggest sky, or grass, giving her work a real freshness and freedom compared to her still lifes.
Andrea J. Smith Harcourt 2014
Andrea J. Smith Harcourt 2014

These landscapes are some of her latest works; perhaps we are seeing a shift of Andrea’s technique?

Written by Lauren Ottaway – current MAC student

Finding beauty in the Sherrin football

AFL Grand Final fever has engulfed Melbourne once again, and the mention of a Sherrin football is the last thing you may relate to artwork.

However, one of our former students, Marion Crooke, is the Co-Producer of an exhibition that combines the two: Sherrin footballs and textiles.

Archiball Echidna, Aunty Cynthia Hardie (Yorta Yorta), Sherrin football, faux fur, porcelain quills.
Archiball Echidna, Aunty Cynthia Hardie (Yorta Yorta), Sherrin football, faux fur, porcelain quills.

Shepparchiballs is a quirky exhibition of textile work that celebrates nurturing and the creation of beauty regardless of the context – and in this instance, it is the Sherrin football. The artists are women from different cultural backgrounds living in Shepparton: African, Australian, Afghani and Koorie.

The exhibition heralds an array of humorous, colourful and creative works from a diverse group of women. From portraits, to echidnas, turtles, and intricate sculptures of trees, this unique body of work shows another side of the Sherrin football that needs to be seen to be believed.

The body of work is now on show in Melbourne until the end of October.

Where: 295 King Street, Melbourne

Time: Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm