Learning from the Masters

Ref: C2339810

Throughout art history artists have learned skills such as composition, tonal balance and colour schemes from previous artists and in this new course we do likewise. You will choose an old or modern master reproduction as a start point for initial studies which will eventually evolve into a finished painting. The ways you can learn from another artist’s work are wide and varying, but the idea is that you develop certain aspects of your chosen artist’s work into your own painting, thus enhancing it. Being part of an enthusiastic painting group means you will be able to observe variations on this theme of learning from the masters, some of which you might well use yourself either on this course or later in your development as an artist.

Course aim

In this course we learn from old or modern painting masters by studying their work via a range of practical exercises. We then develop a painting in which the influence of the original is clear.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for improvers
  • Some prior experience in painting in oils or acrylics is necessary as how to handle paints and materials isn't taught as such. You need to be at a point in your artistic development where you are ready to learn from a master.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Choose a reproduction of a painting appropriately, i.e. which relate to my current work in some way and will enable me to progress
  • Be able to analyse and replicate the underlying composition of the painting in question
  • Analyse the colour scheme and be able to replicate subtleties of lights and darks
  • Make studies of the tonal pattern and lighting distribution to inform my own paintings
  • Make one or more finished paintings which demonstrate learning about some aspects of the original reproduction, such as composition, colour, perspective and painting technique

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Learning through doing – making painted studies which explore different aspects of the reproduction in question. PowerPoints of old and modern masters to supplement practical work.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • 1:1 tuition, optional presentation of work in progress to the group

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring 1) sketchbook 2) small dala boards or equivalent such as MDF boards 3)painting equipment and an appropriately sized surface to make your own painting on. e.g. acrylics or oils, variety of brushes, palette, canvas.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Progression may be sought via Foundation at Loughborough University School of Art and Design, or through the Richard Attenborough Centre in Leicester University.

Download full course information sheet

Learning from the Masters


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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