Melbourne Studio School
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About the School

Founded in 1998 by Richard Birmingham, the school grew out of a need to speak up for drawing and painting in a Post Modern era where conceptual arts practice and critical theory dominated teaching in most art colleges across Melbourne.

Life drawing and the learning of manual skills became a casualty during this time along with concepts like self expression and originality.

There was a need for an Atelier based school in Melbourne which continued to value painting and drawing and remained committed to teaching these fundamental skills.


Students at  Melbourne Studio School work with a variety of approaches and media in weekly classes and school holiday workshops.

Classes run during the school term and examine the relationship between direct observation on the one hand and memory and imagination on the other.

Students will paint and draw throughout the term exploring such varied themes as figure and still life, lyrical abstraction, masterwork transcription and plein air landscape during the warmer months.

The classes pursue a gradual assimilation of skills and hold both the observed and the imagined in balance. Work can be abstract, figurative or a combination of both. All work undertaken at the school is built on an understanding  of dynamic  pictorial composition.

Students are encouraged to established their own studio practice in addition to attending weekly classes at the school.

Three day workshops are also held 4 times a year during the school holidays.

Regular critique sessions and contact with visiting artists add further stimulus to the learning process. Students are encouraged to work expressively and with their own voice. All teachers at the school are practicing artists who believe in drawing and painting and its continued power as a poetic and transcendent force in the arts.

Exploring both the observed and the imagined in charcoal, collage, oil, acrylic and pastel

R.B. Fifth Pharaoh (Detail)