1 REMBRANDT
Artists & Illustrators|March 2021
Heatherley School of Fine Art tutor and artist LAURA SMITH looks to the work of the Old Masters and sets a series of exercises that will improve your composition skills
LAURA SMITH

In this three-part series, we will look closely at a few paintings in terms of how they have been composed. I teach a class at The Heatherley School of Fine Art called “Drawing from Paintings in London Collections”, which normally involves a group of us meeting up at a different gallery each week, with camping stools under our arms and heading in to look at, talk about and draw from the paintings.

When the first lockdown hit, I, like a lot of people during that time, found it difficult to continue drawing. One of the few things that felt manageable was to make a small drawing from a postcard of a painting. When we took the class online, however, we missed seeing the paintings in the flesh, but there have been good surprises.

Many galleries now have high-quality images of their collections on their websites so you can zoom in and see details that can be hard to see in real life. It’s more comfortable to view them from home and there’s an unexpected intimacy to zoom discussions without echoing hallways.

Drawing from anything is a way to look more carefully and in a more searching way. It gives you a deep connection with what’s going on in front of you and puts you in the moment. It can be frustrating, but it is often very absorbing. That’s one of the things that, at the moment, we all want more than ever before. We want to get lost in an activity and forget about other things.

For me, drawing from a painting means that I look more closely at every part of the picture, even those bits that I might have ignored before. It also means that I am engaging with how the painting was constructed and the decisions that have been made.

In the same way that writing uses language to convey an idea, painting too communicates the thoughts and feelings of a human being. Ultimately, every single mark is a decision made and every brushstroke has its own tonal value, temperature, degree of saturation, speed of application and relationship with its neighbours. These all add up to the painting to which you’re responding. When you take each small area in turn and compare them, you are learning about the mind and hand behind the image.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATORSView All

Painting POETRY

Ignoring textbooks and making up her own rules has garnered landscape painter MARY ANNE AYTOUNELLIS many fans, including Prince Charles, as REBECCA BRADBURY finds out Poetry

7 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

PREPARATORY STUDIES

Tempted to just get started on a final painting straight away? ROB WAREING shows you why completing a single-session study first can enhance the finished work

8 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

The Working Artist

Our columnist LAURA BOSWELL was inspired by an ex-student, who reminded her that the journey is more important than the destination

2 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

WOODCUT Prints

Our regular columnist (and leading printmaker) LAURA BOSWELL guides you through all the tools and techniques required to make a simple two-block woodcut print

7 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

WASSILY KANDINSKY

The Russian painter was one of the first true abstract artists, using music as a basis for his instinctive paintings. STEVE PILL explores his colourful responses to the world

7 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

Rita ISSAC

The multi-media artist on her new book, journaling and keeping motivated. Interview: REBECCA BRADBURY

2 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

Mixing Orange

GRAHAME BOOTH ’s new series focuses in turn on the secondary colours. Starting with orange, he will show you how to mix perfect hues for every occasion

4 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

ELISE ANSEL

By striking up a conversation with the Old Mistresses of art history, this American oil painter has brought their stories to life via her fresh and abstracted style

7 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

2. STILL LIFE painting

Continuing his new series on composing pictures, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ chair of painting AL GURY talks us through humble still life traditions

7 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021

1 REMBRANDT

Heatherley School of Fine Art tutor and artist LAURA SMITH looks to the work of the Old Masters and sets a series of exercises that will improve your composition skills

6 mins read
Artists & Illustrators
March 2021
RELATED STORIES

Back on the Road

We all know travel can be a pain, but when it hits below the belt you need to know there’s something you can do about it

3 mins read
Business Traveler
April/May 2021

GET YOUR FRONT ROW SEAT TO VIRTUAL FASHION SHOWS

It’s hard to remember now, but it was during the fall ready-to-wear shows last February that the fashion world first became aware of the coronavirus, even before it had been declared a global pandemic.

5 mins read
MODEL WORLD MAGAZINE
March - April 2021

AMAZON OPENS FIRST UK CHECKOUT-FREE GROCERY STORE IN LONDON

Amazon has opened a cashier-free supermarket in London, its first bricks and mortar expansion outside the U.S. as the company bets on strong demand for its contactless shops.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #488

Extremely Online and Wildly Out of Control

Patricia Lockwood’s debut novel explores the mind, and heart, of an internet-addled protagonist.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
March 2021

LONDON TEA PARTY

HOW JOE BONAMASSA DECAMPED TO ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS WITH BERNIE MARSDEN AND FORMER CREAM LYRICIST PETE BROWN TO WRITE AND RECORD ROYAL TEA, AN ALBUM THAT’S BURSTING WITH THAT BRITISH BLUES BOOM

7 mins read
Guitar World
January 2021

UBER GETS 18-MONTH LONDON LICENSE AFTER WINNING COURT APPEAL

Uber can keep operating in London for another year and a half after winning its appeal of a decision by the British capital’s transit regulator not to renew its license.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #466

DEPP'S NEW FLICK ANOTHER DUD!

He’s no longer a sure thing at the box office, sources dished

1 min read
National Enquirer
September 07, 2020

GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY GOODNESS

The Lake Havasu Gem & Mineral Society (LHGMS) is one of those fortunate clubs across the country that recently passed the 50-year threshold of servicing its local rockhounding, lapidary, gem and jewelry-loving community. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment by a lot of members and energetic and visionary leadership over many years, to ensure the continuing success of a gem and mineral society.

8 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
September 2020

Harry& Meghan: AT WAR WITH THE QUEEN

WITH PRINCE HARRY BY HER SIDE, MEGHAN MARKLE GOES PUBLIC WITH HER GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE WINDSORS, SETTING THE STAGE FOR A BATTLE ROYAL.

2 mins read
Star
July 27, 2020

In the Realm of Legends

Nestled along the rugged western coast of Great Britain, Wales is a country unlike any other

6 mins read
Business Traveler
July/August 2020