On the Shoulders of Giants

The next step in Oil Painting

You have done Beginners’ Oil Painting courses, maybe done some painting on your own, or maybe you are a bit stuck about what to do next. Now is the moment to get some input from other artists. Join Kate Measham, initially at the excellent Southampton City Art Gallery for a fact finding mission, and then in the studio at Bransbury. This is an exciting way to learn about oil painting.

Starting at the Southampton City Art Gallery The group will learn how to get more out of a visit to a Gallery.Artists have always copied the work of painters, sculptors, or other masters they admire, as a way of learning some of their secrets. Supposedly Picasso said of this practice, ‘Don’t copy; STEAL’.

The City Gallery in Southampton is home to a strong collection of artwork, it is on our doorstep and we are keen to use it as a resource. We won’t be walking out with any masterpieces but using the work as the first step of this course. The course will be mostly about oil painting although we may take inspiration from other works.

Malcolm Drummond, IN THE PARK (ST JAMES’S PARK see above) was one of the works we used for lockdown, ZOOM, On the Shoulders of Giants. What fun to return to it in the flesh.

  • Tutor, Kate Measham
  • Jan 18th at Southampton City Gallery, Jan 25th, and Feb 1st in the Studio at Bransbury
  • 10.00 – 16.00
  • £240/3 day course
  • Entrance to the Gallery is free. You are expected to find your own way there and back.
  • suitable for students who have had some initial experience with oil painting (beginners’ oil, for example)

What to expect on this course

A gallery visit is a wonderful way to to learn about composition, colour, and the thoughts of the original creator. It is a stepping stone that can take you in a new direction.

On this course we will spend a day at the Southampton City Gallery, looking at the artworks and choosing one, or possibly two, to work from throughout the course.

The focus of the gallery day will be to look at colour, markmaking, composition, and anything else that grabs our attention. We will make sure to look at paintings that we may not like. Why we don’t like them? This is a very good way to think about what to avoid, and possibly to find merit in something we initially dismiss.

We will discuss how to make notes, and how to take them forward into something new that is clearly your own work. You will draw in the gallery, and download copies of the works to use for the second and third weeks in the studio.

Week two and three will be looking at colour, composition and markmaking in the Studio. You will be using the studies from our gallery day as a starting point. There will be colour exercises, markmaking exercises and the gallery works will be used for composition.

This is a very good step to take at any point when you are learning about painting.


Initially, please bring a sketchbook and dry materials to the Gallery. In the Studio you will need:

  • Oil Paints,
  • sansodour solvent,
  • a mix of brushes,
  • palette,
  • rags,
  • Oil Painting paper or other supports

We will talk about what colours at the gallery.

Also charcoal, A1 or A2 pad of paper, an eraser, kitchen roll.

About The Southampton City Art Gallery

“My fervent desire is, and my Executors’ aim shall be the furtherance and encouragement of Art in the town of my adoption – Southampton. I therefore bequeath the whole of my collection of oil paintings, watercolour drawings and engravings to my Executors for the public exhibition in Southampton… I authorise my Executors to build an art gallery which shall be free to the public…”

Robert Chipperfield, Last Will and Testament, 1911

Southampton’s fine art collection currently holds over 5,300 works and to this day continues to grow through gifts and bequests. The City’s holdings of modern British art are considered to be amongst the finest in the UK outside of London. This is in no small part due to exceptional individual acts of generosity and a rigorous acquisitions policy.

Southampton City Art Gallery holds one of the finest collections of art in the south of England. It holds ‘Designated’ status, awarded by Arts Council England. Currently comprising over 5,000 works and spanning eight centuries, the collection is an outstanding educational resource. It can trace the history of European art from the Renaissance to the present. The core, however, is British twentieth century and contemporary art.

The collection is able to tell the story of western art from the Renaissance to the present day. There are important holdings of 18th and 19th century British painting, examples of 17th-Century Dutch, French and Italian Baroque, French impressionist works and a small selection of Renaissance paintings. Most significant is the Gallery’s collection of 20th-Century British art, starting with post impressionism and including Surrealism and the St Ives-based abstract artists. The collection of contemporary art since the 1970s is outstanding and includes many Turner prize artists. In 1998 the government ‘designated’ the permanent collection as having pre-eminent national significance.

In 1939 the collection moved to its permanent home in the Civic Centre building, designed by the Architect E. Berry Webber. There have been several significant bequests: by Arthur Jeffress (1961), Dr David and Liza Brown (2002) and most recently the Schlee bequest of over 100 prints, drawings and paintings (2013).


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