From Montsalvat to Elphinstone

After three decades of teaching oil painting at Melbourne’s famed Montsalvat, acclaimed Castlemaine-based artist and teacher David Moore is making a major move sure to please locals of an artistic bent.
With the Castlemaine locality already well recognised for its wealth of arts talent, Mr Moore is about to enhance it further by shifting his regular oil painting classes from the metro capital to the bushlands tranquility to be found within the heritage-listed former St Mary’s Anglican Church building at Elphinstone.
There, he will start delivering his keenly sought-after classes from early in the new year.
Mr Moore, who studied at London’s Ealing Art School, Melbourne’s National Gallery School and Swinburne Institute of Technology, and his award-winning artist partner Jenny Rodgerson, purchased the atmospheric little triple brick church building several years ago and initially ran it as a special functions venue under the poetic name – Song To The Moon.
But after three decades of delivering classes at Montsalvat Mr Moore says the time was ripe for a new move.
“I was thinking of moving my painting school maybe in 10 years but then I thought – you just don’t know what’s going to happen in 10 years so let’s do it now,” he reflects.
With its romantic ambiance augmented by stained glass, original Baltic pine floor boards and vaulted timber ceilings, the former 1861-built bush church provides just the right setting to accommodate such a move.
“I have people who have never painted before through to people who have their masters and regardless, I go through the basics, Mr Moore says.
“The painting is from still life because you have the consistency of light on the subject.”
Well known for his contemporary oils and gouaches, Mr Moore says his aim is to instill a thorough understanding of oil painting, assisting his students to master the fundamentals required to paint confidently in oils.
“I try to get students painting by themselves confidently as soon as they can and as they learn I help them develop their own individuality,” he says.
He says classes will be offered on a term basis with nine classes per term and morning, afternoon and evening options available.
It seems Montsalvat’s loss is already proving to be Elphinstone’s gain with several of his regulars already electing to follow their teacher to participate in classes from his new venue while plenty of locals are showing a keen interest as well.
“I already have probably about 20 bookings and the limit is 35,” he says.

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