Standing on the Shoulders Of Giants

with Alex Fowler

This series of four classes will look at works by some of the Old Masters. There is no better way to improve your painting than by copying the great art of the past – by “standing on the shoulders of giants”.

  • Tutor, Alex Fowler
  • September 30th, October 7th, 14th, and 21st
  • 10.00 – 12.00, and a crit at 4.00pm
  • Class is delivered by ZOOM with a dedicated WhatsApp group
  • The class will be recorded so you can replay it whilst you paint in the afternoon.
  • £160/4 classes or £50/day

Their can be no better way to learn about painting than by making copies after the great artists of the past. 

As students painters from Delacroix, through Cézanne to Matisse, and their contemporaries, would make copies after the Old Masters. This was in order to fully experience their work, and to learn how great paintings were put together. Alex will use the work of Monet, Corot, Titian and Veronese as an opportunity to explore: design, composition, colour, and lighting.Use this opportunity to observe, and learn how to make this acquired knowledge work for you.

You will learn about the mechanics of a painting by studying it closely; how wonderful to give yourselves the time to become absorbed in works of genius.

The intention is not to copy the appearance but to transcribe in your own voice. In this way we can experience the work of the master as if we were making it ourselves in our own time and our own method. It is a revelation.

Each week you will work from a painting in the collection of the National Gallery in London.

It is quite easy to download copies of the paintings in question from the National Gallery website. Please make sure you have done this before the lesson starts.

Alex will approach each painting with some information about the artist and where this piece of work fits on a timeline.This will be followed by a demonstration and direction.

The approach you will be encouraged to follow will start with drawing. By focusing on the rhythms of the shapes you will achieve more accurate proportions.

As you move into colour you will break the image down into simplified shapes of colours. Exploring how those colours relate to each other, and can be adjusted in that relationship, will give you an experience of how colour can be tuned like notes in music. 

  • September 30th, Monet, Water-Lilies, Setting Sun
  • October 7th, Corot, Peasants under the Trees at Dawn
  • October 14th, Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne
  • October21st, Veronese, Adoration of the Kings

You can buy individual days with Alex Fowler and the Masters of the National Gallery, or you can BUY this as an entire course at a 20% discount.


Specific materials don’t matter too much although a good range of colour would be necessary. Alex suggest you gather all the materials you would need to work in whatever media you are most happy to use.

Alex will be working in oil and drawing with pencils.


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