On the Shoulders of Giants, Michael Weller and Rembrandt


Michael Weller has chosen two paintings by Rembrandt that are both tender and lustful; a moving combination.

  • Tutor, Michael Weller NEAC
  • September 28th and 5th October, 2023
  • £99/two days
  • 10.00-12.00 demonstration
  • feedback16.00 – 17.00
  • This will be online via Zoom and WhatsApp
  • Some experience of drawing helps but all levels are welcome. Help will be given.

Michael’s Response

When I go to the National Gallery, I like to look at these two by Rembrandt.

People think these are of Hendrickje Stoffels, his housekeeper, who he never married.

For the two days of the class I show you how I copy Rembrandt. I approach it in a slightly abstract way – proportion, light and dark. I talk about this as I paint. After the demo people go away to paint their versions of Hendrijke. At four students come back for chat and feedback.

At the end of each day, the colour study doesn’t look like Rembrandt or my work, but is noticeably the work of the student. At the same time the process feeds our own paintings. Copying makes us consider his humans and warm earthy colours more closely. We’re part of a long conversation other artists have had with the artist, an interesting one!

Rembrandt | Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels | NG6432 | National Gallery, London Rembrandt’s Hendrickje

Rembrandt | A Woman bathing in a Stream (Hendrickje Stoffels?) | NG54 | National Gallery, London

Michael Weller’s Materials List

Students are encouraged to try oil paint but are welcome to use gouache, soft pastels, BIC Pens, children’s paintsticks, big colour marker pens, whatever they like.

Oil paint

I use Jacksons Artists Colours. Affordable, good quality.

  • Zinc white (warm white is nicer but more expensive),
  • cadmium yellow light,
  • Alizarin crimson,
  • cobalt blue,
  • 60ml tubes or bigger, and at least twice as much white.

and the rest

  • Low-odour oil-paint solvent. A small jar for the oil solvent. Zest-It or Sansador are fine.
  • Brushes. Palette knives. I like long filbert brushes, household brushes and sometimes hands and fingers.
  • For a painting surface, cardboard or mountboard, or paper. I like to use breakfast- cereal boxes. Cut it to the size of the picture you’re copying. Two coats of white acrylic primer on each side. But if you have a surface that you like to work on, stick with that.
  • Palette or mixing surface. Paper tearaway palette is great. Wooden palette fine.
  • Kitchen paper or rags. A plastic bag for rubbish.
  • Plastic disposable gloves are great.
  • Apron is good.
  • Some hand gel to wash your paint- covered hands.
  • Easel – to put your board/card/canvas and the printout next to each other.
  • Clips or sellotape.
  • Newspaper for blotting and testing paint.


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