Get the tools you need every month to be the best artist you can be!”

NOTE: The DPA Inner Circle is not taking on any new members at the moment.

Dear aspiring artist,

Some questions for you:

Are you feeling isolated and lonely on your art journey?

Are you lacking for like-minded artists to discuss your work and art in general with?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the information and noise?

Are you stuck on the painting hamster wheel, creating painting after painting without any visible improvements?

Do you feel nervous about sharing your work and want more confidence in what you do as an artist?

Are you sick of elitism and art speak in the art world?

Do you want to explore master artists who have flown under the radar and are ignored by the mainstream media?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this membership is for you.

Introducing the DPA Inner Circle

The idea behind this membership is to form a group of like-minded artists who help each other improve and navigate the art life. The art life can be confusing, lonely, and isolated, but it doesn’t need to be.

I invite you to join us with the aim of creating better art and getting the most out of the art life.

Your Paintings Will Improve and You’ll Have More Fun Doing It

Of course, a key aim of this membership is to help you create better paintings. But, it’s also about helping you appreciate and enjoy the art life. After all, what’s the point in getting good if you don’t enjoy the journey?

Dan Scott, Brisbane City, Mist, 2022
Dan Scott, Brisbane City, Mist, 2022

Avoid Information Overload

This membership is NOT about bombarding you with information. It’s about cutting through the noise and providing you with distilled, interesting, and valuable information.

Think of Me as Your Personal Art Connoisseur

The world is full of amazing artists, stories, and ideas. The challenge is finding them amongst all the gimmicks, art speak, and attention-seeking headlines.

You can think of me as your personal art connoisseur, tasked with hunting down the most interesting and valuable bits of information to share with you.

Claude Monet, Grand Canal, 1908
Claude Monet, Grand Canal, 1908

Get Off the Painting Hamster Wheel

Many aspiring artists get stuck on the painting hamster wheel. They churn out painting after painting and hope to improve. This works in the early years, but there comes an inevitable stagnation. And once that happens, it’s not long before a downward spiral sets in.

This membership will help you work more strategically. I want to help you create a virtuous cycle of progress, recognition, and satisfaction. Painting is much more fun if you can look back over the years and see visible improvements.

Elitism and Art Speak Free Zone

The art world is plagued by elitism and art speak. People who have never in their life picked up a brush seem to have a lot of say as to what artists should do and what great art is.

You won’t find any of that here. Everything we do is for the benefit of artists, not collectors or wealthy investors. We help you create better art and enjoy doing it, and we will do so in a clear and concise manner.

We also lean towards positivity. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a judgment-free zone, as we do want you to improve over time. But anything that’s not constructive or helpful is unwelcome here.

Dan Scott, Parents' Garden, 2022
Dan Scott, Parents’ Garden, 2022

Membership Benefit 1: Monthly Training Report

A core pillar of the membership is my training report that you’ll get at the start of each month. You’ll also get access to all prior issues. Below are just a few of the things covered so far:

  • How to paint a subtle subject with bold tools.
  • Tips for effectively using the palette knife.
  • When to finish a painting so that it appears fresh and effortless.
  • What you can learn from painting the same subject over and over again.
  • How to paint broken color effectively and some of the different techniques you can use.
  • Lessons you can learn from the Impressionists, even if you don’t paint like one.
  • Master Impressionists you should know.
  • What artists can learn from children.
  • How to combat self-doubt.
  • Why your childhood experiences may be holding you back and what you can do about it.
  • Why you should cherish your early work, not hide it.
  • How to capture the nature and essence of the subject.
  • How to simplify a complex scene and narrow down on the few key details that matter.
  • How to push in the direction of your idea.
  • The importance of doing hard things and taking time off.
  • Contemporary landscape painters you should know.
  • How to make red sing amongst the greens.
  • When you should paint AGAINST the Nature of the Subject
  • How to change your style.
  • How to make all the parts fit and work together as one.
  • How to use different techniques together in harmony and the master artist who did it best.
  • How to efficiently identify and solve problems you encounter in a painting.
  • What the optimal training routine is.
  • Where to start when faced with a complex scene.
  • Why staining the canvas is such a powerful technique and when you should do it.
  • How I would paint a scene using different mediums.

There are so many wonderful artists and artworks to explore. Each month, I handpick a new artist and artwork to feature and analyze. There’s nothing better for sparking inspiration than this!

Cecilia Beaux, Ernesta, 1894
Cecilia Beaux, Ernesta, 1894

Membership Benefit 3: Critiques

Need help improving your work? I pick a handful of student artworks each month to critique. You’ll also get access to the critique archive.

Membership Benefit 4: Q&A

Have any burning questions about your work or the art life in general? I do a member Q&A each month.

Membership Benefit 5: Reference Photo Library

As a member, you’ll have access to my personal reference photo library (1,500+ photos and counting). You can paint from these photos without all the copyright worries. 

You’ll also get access to the photos that I have flagged as “favorites”. These are photos that I have painted or plan on painting. It’s a good look through my eyes as an artist.

Membership Benefit 5: Resources

You’ll also get a wealth of resources to help you on your art journey, such as:

  • 21 Easy Ways to Improve Your Paintings Ebook – 130+ page ebook (PDF Download) containing 21 highly effective and actionable tips you can apply to your very next painting!
  • Lessons From a Self-Taught Artist Ebook – A compilation of my best newsletters (a goldmine of bite-sized lessons).
  • 60+ PDF ebooks (and growing) based on my “How to Paint”, “A Closer Look”, and “Artist Spotlight” posts.
  • A giant list of master artists you should know about.
  • A glossary of painting terms.
  • A 1-Page Checklist to simplify the painting process.

Bonuses for New Members

To celebrate the membership’s 1st anniversary, we are offering the following bonuses to new members:

Painting Academy Mockup

Painting Academy: The Fundamentals (Usually $97USD; FREE for new members)

This course will teach you all the fundamentals of painting. It covers color, composition, how to start a painting, how to use your supplies, and much more!

Composition Breakdown 1

Composition Breakdown (Usually $97USD; FREE for new members)

Learn the language of composition using 20 master paintings.

“Good composition is like a suspension bridge – each line adds strength and takes none away.” Robert Henri

(Coming Soon) Membership Forum

We are putting the finishing touches on an exclusive forum for members to chat, share work, ask questions, discuss art, etc. We aim to release this before the end of 2022.


What medium is this for?

This membership is suitable for all traditional mediums (oils, watercolors, acrylics, gouache, etc.).

Will this take up much time?

This membership is not designed to be a time-sink. There is a focus on distilled and valuable information. With that being said, new content will be added each and every month, so there will always be something new to digest.

Is this a subscription?

Yes, this is an annual subscription.

Is there a monthly option?

Not at this time. We only have a yearly option available but you can cancel at any time.

What if it’s not for me?

That is fine! There’s no minimum commitment and you can cancel at any time.

You are also covered by a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee on your membership fee. If for any reason you do not find the membership helpful within the first two months, you can email us at and we will refund you in full.

Is there a focus on a particular style?

No, but I do have a bias toward Impressionism. The only style not covered is deep abstract.

Dan Scott, Wellington Point, Shimmering Light, 2021
Dan Scott, Wellington Point, Shimmering Light, 2021

If You Only Get One “Aha” Moment From Me, the Membership Will Pay For Itself

If you’re on the fence, consider that one “aha” moment you get from me could dramatically improve every painting you create thereon. That alone will pay for your membership many times over through better paintings, fewer mistakes, and a greater appreciation of what you do.

What Members Have Said

“l am enjoying everything you write and the great pix you show. You are the most PRACTICAL teacher l have been under, and l have a painting BFA from Kent State Univ. and l taught public and private school art classes in Cleveland, Boston and Prague. l save every one of your lessons in a special folder for reference when l paint. Actually, l have become a better painter thru you than after all my years in the craft.” Tom Kever

“I want to thank you for your critique of my painting in your November instructions.

I totally respect your opinion. Plus, I needed to know from your professional viewpoint, that the painting was good enough to give to my church.

You gave me the confidence to do so.

I have learned so much over the several years I have been a member of your academy. I look forward to every one of your emails! Thank you so much.” Linda Raddatz

“I’ve enjoyed being part of the inner circle. The chance to see the work of other students and their and your comments has been most helpful. Also appreciated the comments on my painting. I’ll look forward to continiuing my participation. And thanks for all the extra help along the way, too!” Mary Lu perham

“Hello Dan and Chontele!

Yes! I have enjoyed the inner circle and always learn so very much from you. How would I ever learn about certain paintings or certain artists without you bringing them to my attention? I have never taken an art history class.

You have always given so much of your free time on your website, explaining aspects of painting and discussing techniques of great artists of the past. The inner circle is an extension of that at a very minimal cost. All the best.” Lynn Whitle

“After traveling nearly non-stop since joining the Inner Circle I have finally had a chance to take a test drive. Aside from all the great information you have shared, I love the uncomplicated format. This is ideal for me since I have only been painting for 18 months, taking it up in retirement, and enjoying it immensely. I look forward to learning a lot from the Inner Circle and submitting a painting of my own for critique. I think the critique and Q&A sections may become two of my favorites. I can gain knowledge from every critique you offer and every question you answer.” Allan Snay

Dan Scott, Chontele and Elora in the Garden, 2022
Dan Scott, Chontele and Elora in the Garden, 2022

“Dan, Hello, I am just starting to go through the contents of your extraordinary email to us this morning. And I have to “stop right here” and express my gratitude to you. I’m an elder of 80 years with a mix of instruction experiences. AND I have to say that your generosity in teaching us is nonpareil. I hope you are impressed that I found that word to describe my experience of your teaching. Thank you, Dan.” Sara Carter

“I am very much enjoying being a part of the Inner circle group. The critiques are especially enlightening and it is a pleasure to see other participants’ work. 

I have been painting with acrylics for about four years and recently I have decided to embark on painting with oils so I am not quite ready to submit anything for critique yet but hopefully soon. I located several articles that you had put together regarding Tips on Oil Painting and find them useful. Thank you.” Penny Perrier

“Dan, I love your site! Before I paint commissions, I review your recommendations.

I thank you for your art history refreshers and applications! I love seeing your work and it inspires me to keep painting. Thank you!” Suzi Van Alstyne

Guarantee - Painting Academy

100% Guarantee

Your satisfaction is my number one priority. There’s no minimum commitment and you can cancel at any time.

You are also covered by a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee on your membership fee. If for any reason you do not find the membership helpful, you can email us at and we will refund you in full.

NOTE: The DPA Inner Circle is not taking on any new members at the moment.