Guest Artists

Our Guest Artists

Marcel Desbiens (Director)

Marcel founded Brisbane Painting Classes in 2005, after discovering considerable interest in his unique oil painting methods, developed through decades of study of the techniques of the Old Masters, such as Caravaggio, Rubens and Rembrandt.

Marcel’s belief that anyone can paint, given appropriate instructions on the right tools, skills and techniques, led him to develop a series of classes in oil painting, from the foundations for absolute beginners, through to advanced techniques for those wanted to extend their skills and experience.

Over the years, these oil painting classes grew and Brisbane Painting Classes expanded to include an increasing variety of classes in different mediums, with an increasing number of award-winning artists delivering classes and workshops at the studio.

Marcel’s passion for painting and his enormous in-depth knowledge for the medium of oil are clearly visible in his teaching and ongoing dedication to his own art.

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Andrew Bonneau

Andrew Bonneau’s unique perception and ability to capture the essence of his subjects led to his selection as a finalist in the 2017 Archibald Prize.

Working predominantly with oils, Andrew’s subject matter includes portraits, figures, still life and landscapes – to which he brings a deep sensitivity of the forms of nature and the subtlety of light, embodying many qualities of the Western Realist tradition.

Born in Tasmania in 1981, Andrew earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at The National Art School in Sydney and later studied with Charlie Sheard and at the Grand Central Academy, New York.

In addition to his selection as an Archibald Prize finalist, Andrew has been a finalist in many art prizes including the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. His work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in Australia, Dubai and The United States and is in private and public collections around the world.

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Brett Lethbridge

Brett Lethbridge is a multi award winning artist with a national reputation for his boundless creative energy. His work ranges from the sublime and beautiful linework of his drawings to the vivid richness and exquisite detail of his large paintings.

Having finished a degree in Law, Brett took hold of his vocation and began drawing and painting in 1998. Winning numerous awards and on the encouragement of his friends Brett decided to extend his artistic pursuits in Europe. A year in Siena, Italy was followed by numerous international exhibitions including Singapore, Germany, New York, and Romero Britto’s gallery in Miami, Florida.

In 2004 Brett opened his own gallery in Paddington, Brisbane. Lethbridge Gallery exhibits, encourages and mentors some of the best artists in Queensland and has a reputation for showing artists with excellent technical skills.

The gallery runs three annual art awards and regularly participates in art fairs in the United States, Asia and Australia.

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Cherry Hood

Cherry Hood’s distinctive oversized watercolour paintings of faces have led her to winning the prestigious Archibald Prize in 2002, as well as to being selected numerous times as an Archibald finalist – including the first watercolour painting to ever be hung as part of the Archibald.

Having studied art at St George Tech, the National Art School and Sydney College of the Arts (University of Sydney), Cherry is passionate about education and regularly shares her knowledge and practices through workshops and gallery talks.

Over her 20 year painting career, Cherry has had countless solo shows in Australia and overseas, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and Zurich, as well as being invited to contribute to numerous group and theme exhibitions. Her works have been collected by most major institutions in Australia as well as by many corporate and private collectors.

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Colley Whisson

"Better paintings begin when you are totally captivated by the subject. I have a strong belief that painting is not copying nature but giving expression to visual ideas."

Internationally recognised impressionist artist, Colley Whisson, credits his introduction to the art world to his father and a brief stint as a picture framer.

Having started painting at the age of 20 in his home town of Brisbane, Colley quickly mastered the technique of capturing light to create atmostphere – a ongoing distinctive feature of his work – leading him to become known as one of Australia’s finest young Impressionist painters.

Colley’s first solo exhibition at the age of 24 was a sell out, and since that time he has held another 30 solo exhibitions, won numerous awards, published two books, a number of demonstration videos and many print based and online articles.

He is now in demand as a judge and a teacher, teaching students how to create impressions of their subject using big, bold brushstrokes.

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David Henderson

"People and the spaces they inhabit – whether in the form of historic cities, interiors or the nude are the subjects which interest me most. It is through direct observation of the way these interact with more elemental factors – light, shadow, space, atmosphere – that I believe it is possible to catch a glimpse of each subject’s true spirit."

Award-winning artist & Royal Academy graduate, David Henderson, spends half of his year painting in Australia and the other half, painting in Italy.

David believes Italy to be unique in its concentration of artistic treasures, architectural splendour and beauty of light and landscape – elements which are stunningly captured in his drawings, watercolours and oil paintings.

After studying architecture in Brisbane, David enrolled in a course in painting at London’s Royal Academy School, graduating in 1985. He has since held numerous solo exhibitions of his work in Brisbane, Melbourne and London and has been the recipient of several awards and commendations. For many years, David taught art part-time at various institutions, including lecturing and running courses in art history and design at QUT.

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David Wells

"I believe that a living person is more interesting than any artwork ever made; therefore, everyone is a masterpiece waiting to be painted."

David Well’s stunning pastel work has featured internationally on the cover of both the Pastel Journal and The Artist Magazine, while his portrait of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge is now part of the Royal Family’s art collection.

With a focus on portraits and figurative work, David has been the recipient of a long list of local and international awards and has exhibited extensively in South East Queensland, and in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – and all since starting painting at the age of 26!

David’s relaxed, yet highly informative teaching style, and his eclectic professional background (ranging from visual artist and graphic artist, to musician, circus and street performer) has made him one of Brisbane Painting Classes most popular tutors. His passion for art and especially pastels is matched by his extraordinary talent, which he is more than happy to share with anyone willing to be taught.

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Donald J Waters

"At the early age of three my potential as an artist came to the fore. I would sit on the lounge room floor painting and drawing with anything I could lay my hands on… boot polish, nail polish, lipstick… anything that had colour and could be used as paint!"

From these early experiments with colour, Donald James Waters has gone on to establish an illustrious painting career spanning well over three decades. While best described as a contemporary artist, Donald’s artwork transcends many genres and features a unique style that uses stylised strokes, overemphasised characters and bold blocks of colour to tell a story.

Donald’s career has taken his art to every corner of the globe and his distinctive style has made its way into the catalogues of many private and corporate collectors alike, including that of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s art collection.

Don sees art as an adventure that must be experienced not only by the artist, but also by the viewer – comparing it to the feeling of driving into a new land and looking down into a valley he has never been before. He shares this sense of adventure and passion for art with his students in his highly engaging and entertaining guest workshops. 

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Heidi Willis

Australian born, Heidi Willis is an entirely self-taught natural history watercolour artist.

Her work illustrates our native and exotic plants, fruits and seed capsules, whilst her powerful, distinctive portraits of Australia’s unique and spectacular bird life offer viewers an insight into the world as she experiences it.

Painting full-time since 2003, Heidi quickly established herself as one of Australia’s leading emerging artistic talents and her international reputation as an exceptional natural history, wildlife artist and botanical artist is well established.

Her works can be found in significant public and private collections around the world and are often sold before completion.

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Helen Cottle

"My main aim is to paint passionately and enthusiastically… with variation, versatility and diversity… always changing and evolving so as not to become staid. I feel the need to continually keep my work alive, looking for inspiration evoked by emotion, mood or atmosphere."

Helen Cottle’s realistic/impressionist painting style has grown out of decades of experimentation with different mediums.

Born in Williamstown, Victoria, Helen’s artistic life started in early childhood where she spent hours drawing from life. However, what began as a part time hobby, over time evolved into a passion to express herself creatively in whatever medium the chosen subject calls for.

Inspired by and studying the brushstrokes and techniques of artists such as Arthur Streeton, John Singer-Sargent and Harold Herbert, Helen initially focused on oil painting before moving on to specialise in watercolour. Recently Helen has moved into acrylic and mixed media. She believes that regardless of medium, having a fascination with the effects of light on a subject and observing life’s intriguing details, enables everyday views to be transformed into dynamic and interesting works of art.
Helen has had many successful solo and joint exhibitions and is now a popular and highly sought after tutor and educator.

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Herman Pekel

"From the age of 12 I was addicted to paint: its tactile quality, the smell, and the feel. Forty years later I am still obsessed. The subject for me is of less consequence than the simple act of applying paint. As long as the shapes within the picture plane harmonise with one another, the obsession can continue."

Herman Pekel was only 17 when he held his first, and highly successful (a sell-out!), solo exhibition.
Born in Melbourne to Dutch parents, Herman initially experimented with abstract expressionism. However, he has gone on to become known nationally and internationally for his contemporary impressionist works in oil and watercolour – works that capture a wide range of subjects from city and landscapes, through to café and bar interiors and dynamic industrial scenery.

Herman’s love of landscape and concern for environmental issues is evident in his work, as are his early experiences of working on location and painting directly from the light source.

As well as winning numerous art awards, Herman’s work has featured in several books of Australian art and is represented in public and private collections in Australia and overseas. He is now also a sought-after teacher, sharing his extentive experience with students across the country.

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Isabella Allis

I was born in Spain in 1974 and grew up in South Africa, the eldest of 5 children. My husband and I immigrated to Australia in 2001 and we now live in Brisbane with our two young children. I loved art in high school and won the annual art prize for both year 11 and 12. After finishing high school I obtained a diploma in Architectural technology and worked briefly in that industry, before moving on to complete a BCom degree in Accounting and have worked in the super fund industry ever since.
In 2013, I rediscovered my passion and aptitude for painting. I actively sought a mentor who would teach me oil painting techniques as I believe oils are the most powerful medium for portraits. I discovered Sally Mehdizadeh’s website and her beautiful artwork excited me to enrol in her mentoring classes. It has changed my life and I have not stopped painting since then.
I now paint portraits on a commission basis, and continue to further develop my skills through workshops such as those held by Brisbane Painting Classes and events arranged by Graeme Stevenson from the TV series Colour in Your Life.
In 2015 I decided to enter a piece into the 2016 Archibald Portrait Competition. I was inspired to paint Frank Sedgman’s portrait after a mutual friend of the family told me about his amazing achievements in tennis during a significant period in the sport’s history. The portrait was later sold to Kooyong Tennis Museum in Victoria and is on display there.
My mission is to share what I have learnt in art over the past 5 years and bring structured art learning to school-going kids over the age of ten to enhance their art technique and help develop their individual artistic pathways.

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Jeffrey Service

When people ask artist Jeffrey Service where he gets his ideas from, the answer is simple... They come from the haphazard adventures of his everyday life – which in Jeffery’s case has taken him to many exotic and far-flung places: from New York to El Salvador and New Mexico, from Sweden to Morocco and across the Australian outback.

Jeffrey, born in Bundaberg, left Australia in 1969 chasing the Summer of Love to a hippie commune in California. He took up batik painting and sold five thousand of them during a 20-year-love affair with that art form. Several of his batiks hang in the U.S. Library of Congress, the King of Thailand bought one, and Elizabeth Taylor bought two.

These days, Jeffrey works in water colour on paper, and in smaller sizes than the large batiks he’s famous for, but everyday life continues to inspire his quirky vision. Over the years Jeffrey has exhibited and taught across the USA, Australia and most recently, the Tiwi Islands.
It’s impossible to look at a Jeffrey Service painting and not smile. And that, to him, is a sign of success.

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Jenni Kelly

Jenni achieves a realistic expression in her creative freestyle painting leaving the viewer free to exercise their own imagination. These paintings have an appealing sense of colour, freedom and movement with subjects close to nature. Jenni regularly exhibits throughout Australia including 21 paintings hanging throughout the Holy Spirit Hospital at Chermside Brisbane.

Jenni is basically self-taught and is constantly improving her skills by attending other artists workshops, e.g McGregor Summer Schools Toowoomba, Mitchell Summer School’s Bathurst and Clifton Art workshops regularly. Jenni currently lives in Murrumba Downs at North Brisbane.

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John Lovett

John Lovett’s passion for travel, landscapes, people and the environment is reflected in his powerfully evocative watercolour, oil and mixed media works.

Born in Cooma, NSW, John studied at Newcastle’s National Art School and has painted professionally since 1979. In that time he has held over 40 solo exhibitions, participated in numerous joint exhibitions and become a regular featured artist and contributor to the ‘International Artist’ and ‘Australian Artist’ magazines.

John’s work possesses an emotive power and vitality that is enhanced by his use of light, color and strong sense of design and is represented in private and corporate collections in Australia, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and USA.

John’s passion for his work and his open easy approach to teaching make his books, DVD’s and workshops thoroughly enjoyable, extremely informative and always very popular.

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John Wilson

John Wilson’s oil paintings, which capture the more elusive qualities of Australia’s unique landscape, have earned him the reputation of being one of Australia’s leading and most respected oil painters and a much sought-after judge and tutor.

John’s childhood was spent in the beautiful Blue Mountains of NSW, which inspired a deep love of the rugged grandeur, spectacular colours and the many moods of the landscape.

John is now a multi-award winning artist, with 47 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows to his name. He has exhibited in London, USA, Japan, Canada, Beijing China and Seoul Korea and his highly collectable paintings are represented in private, corporate and public collections throughout Australia and internationally.

John’s Masterclass workshops always book out very quickly – a testament to his renowned gentle teaching style and the sheer quantity of expert information he shares during his workshops about the techniques of the Old Australian landscape masters (like Streeton, Roberts, Gruner and Johnson) and the secrets of how to paint beautiful and exciting landscapes.

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Lyn Diefenbach

"I’m often asked for advice on how to progress with an art career and my answer would be to never stop learning." Lyn Diefenbach

Lyn Diefenbach’s stunningly realistic florals and portraits in pastels and oils are the result of a 25 year journey of discovery of herself and the craft of painting. Her works reflect a celebration of this journey and of Lyn’s pursuit of masterly quality and technique. For the past 20 years, Lyn has also shared her insights into the pursuit of quality and technique with her students.

Lyn’s works have received awards and accolades nationally and internationally, including the Pastel Society of Australia’s Pastellist of the Year award in 2016 and her paintings are represented in major regional and private collections within Australian and overseas.

Lyn has been featured numerous times in the International Artist, Pastel Journal and the Australian Artist magazines, while her ability to communicate her ideas has entrenched her as a respected and sought-after tutor across Australian and internationally.

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Lyn Mellady

Profile coming soon
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Lyne Marshall

Lyne Marshall’s stunning contemporary paintings, inspired by remote landscapes, can be found in galleries across Australia and in New Zealand, China, Japan and the USA. Her paintings reflect a time and space; a glimpse of a pristine wilderness, untouched by human hands. While not specific to an area, they are based on deeper impressions, of a childhood living on a remote island and now as an adult on an isolated mountain range in Tallegalla, just outside of Brisbane.

Whilst Lyne’s focus is predominantly on experimental painting, she also produces conceptual artworks, as well as being a sculptor and the author of four books on the philosophy and creative process of being an artist. Lyn is strongly focused on helping others to find their creative destiny through her workshops and her books, both of which are in high demand.

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Keiko Tanabe

Keiko Tanabe’s watercolour paintings have been described as “...being caught between the 'physical' and the 'spiritual'. It is if they are glimpses of who we are and where we have been” (Brian Sherwin, art critic).

As a child growing up in Japan, Keiko painted and drew and won many children’s art awards. However, it wasn’t until 2003, after undertaking a course in basic drawing and watercolour painting at a community college in her current home city of San Diego, that she decided to pursue art as a career.

Keiko’s love of travel is captured in both the exotic and familiar landscapes, cityscapes, waterscapes and interiors that are the focus of her work. Her use of colour, texture and signature brushwork have earned Keiko many awards, and her work can be found in collections around the world.

She is also the author of six books and a sought-after workshop teacher, having conducted more than 170 workshops and demonstrations in the past 6 years.

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Margaret Coulson

Margaret Coulson spent her formative years drawing people and architectural landscapes in graphite, pantone pens and ink, before discovering pastels. In recent years she has refined her pastel painting techniques, becoming particularly interested in the many facets of water and the reflective compositions that the element of water helps create. Architectural landscapes and portraits continue to be a focus for Margaret.
Margaret’s works have been accepted into a number of competitions and she has produced several pastel portraits on commission.
Most recently, Margaret is sharing her passion for painting and drawing with children and young people, developing and presenting a series of workshops for students on different aspects of drawing and painting.
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Maria Nazyrova

For Russian-born Maria Nazyrova, nature is the greatest source of inspiration for her drawings. Using finely developed skills in observation, perspective, control and precision of lines, Maria’s drawings embellish and transform her subjects into exquisite recreations of reality.

After studying traditional drawing methods for 8 years in her native country, Maria has continued to develop and refine her skills and style and is now passionate about sharing her knowledge with others.

Maria’s students benefit from her in-depth understanding of traditional drawing techniques and what is needed to create a good drawing, as well as from her wealth of knowledge and great resources on artists, drawings and drawing materials – all of which she shares generously with her students.

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Martina Pook

"Martina’s passion for art and her friendly, informal approach to teaching makes her classes both entertaining and highly informative. I highly recommend her “Business seminar” to artists wishing to expand their understanding of business practices as they relate directly to visual arts." (Stever Cardno, Art Director, Creation Magazine).

Martina’s love for the arts was sparked by her grandfather, a German artist. This love led her to study art at the Peter Schneider Atelier in Germany, before becoming a commercial illustrator – a profession that she followed for more than 15 years.

After immigrating to Australia in 1991, Martina’s ongoing work as an artist and illustrator soon expanded to include the teaching of art, which has been one of her passions ever since. This included creating and co-directing Illustration House at Southbank – a gallery and art school training children, adults and teachers in visual literacy.

In addition to her teaching, Martina has held numerous roles in the arts industry, including as a judge for art shows, a selection committee member and arts board member, and as a regular presenter of art business seminars and workshops.

I passionately held numerous roles within the arts industry, including presentations and lecturing of art business seminars and discussion rounds for emerging artists. Teaching became my main interest in 1999. But I also operate as art show judge and present talks in relation to artwork critiques, business skills and planning within the art sector.

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Patrick Jones

“I believe core foundation drawing skills are essential for creating a confident artist's hand, and that understanding gesture is the key to drawing the figure with style.”

Patrick J. Jones' oil paintings place his figures in imaginary, fantastical lands, in order to portray the human spirit without the distraction of the modern world. His figurative work is strongly grounded in his superb drawing technique.

While growing up in Belfast, Ireland during the worst of the ‘troubles’, Patrick spent most of his childhood drawing. He then spent fifteen years as an illustrator before heading off to travel the world, and eventually settling in Brisbane.

Patrick is now an award winning artist, author and teacher. His work has featured in major U.S. exhibitions, both in NYC and Pennsylvania, and his oil paintings reside in private collections worldwide. He is also the author of two bestselling art technique books - ‘Sci-fi & Fantasy Oil Painting Techniques’, which chronicles his oil painting methods, and ‘The Anatomy of Style’ which details his figure drawing methods.

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Peter Griffen

Peter Griffen is a full time Sydney based artist and has been painting for forty five years, during which time he has traveled extensively and has had numerous exhibitions in Australia and overseas. He enjoys painting outdoors but the bulk of his time is spent in the studio creating abstract images derived mainly from the landscape. Typical of his work is its playful dynamic quality and the strong use of colour.

His qualifications in education are clearly evident in his teaching style and his experience in tutoring workshops is quite extensive. He is currently involved in tutoring a series of workshops in association with the Art Gallery of NSW, has taught with the Art Gallery of SA and in such places as Italy, UK, USA, Portugal, Birdsville and the Flinders Ranges.

Peter has had five solo exhibitions in London, four in Paris, two in St Tropez, one each in Lyon, New York and New Zealand. He has had about sixty solo exhibitions throughout Australia, has been in numerous group shows and is represented in many private and public collections.

He has been selected as a finalist in several prizes including the Blake, Sulman, Dobell and Fleurieu prizes and apart from many other texts, has been published several times in the Australian Artist magazine, in particular, in issue number 109, “Making Sense of Abstract Images”. His work and personal comments appear in his book, “In and Out of Abstraction”.
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Rikki Fisher

Rikki Fisher is recognized internationally as a Master Scratchboard Artist (MSA). Currently only 4 Australian artists have attained MSA accreditation with the International Society of Scratchboard Artist (ISSA).

Rikki is motivated by her passion for wildlife. She is considered one of the pre-eminent practitioners of this art form. Rikki is both proficient and versatile in the craft and well able to impart her extensive knowledge.

Rikki has won National and International awards for her work. A resident of northern NSW, Rikki holds workshops and has given demonstrations at local, State and International levels.

Her exquisitely detailed works speak for themselves.

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Sandra Temple

Sandra has been a professional artist, illustrator and author for more than 30 years and a body painter for 6 years. She has travelled extensively with her art, gaining insights into her special interest, the worlds' endangered species, although she paints all subjects in all mediums.

Sandra has paintings in private, corporate and government collections nationally and internationally. Her body painting works are very popular as photo prints and postcards, with models and photographers from around Australia booking to work with her.
She has illustrated 26 children’s books to date including the multi award winning Puggle’s Problem and the series of 12 "Pony Pals'.

Sandra is the Australian Ambassador for Faber-Castell Pty Ltd, the president of the Qld Wildlife Artists Society and has held the position for more than 20 years, she is the co-founder of the Qld Body Artists Society, a virtual committee member of the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia and a signature member of the International Artists for Conservation. Sandra is committed to the establishment of the Wildlife Art Museum of Australia which is in the process of being built in Halls Gap, Victoria, and has accepted a position on the Art Advisory panel.

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