The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has an exhibition of Vermeer paintings from around the world opening on 10th February. This is supposedly the largest exhibition of Vermeer paintings, EVER.

Michael Weller shares his approach to the calm, quiet paintings of Vermeer.

  • Tutor, Michael Weller, NEAC
  • January 12,19, February 2, 9 and 16
  • 10.00 – 12.00 online demo, 4.00-5.00 pm crit
  • £200/course
  • Via Zoom and Whatsapp

What to expect of this online course

Vermeer paints women in quiet rooms, light coming in from the window. Sometimes there is a chair in the foreground. We see life going on, just as it always has done.

We will paint the corner of the room we’re in, things in the room, ourselves in the room.

Each class begins at 10 with a two-hour demo by me. In each demo I demonstrate some ways I manage a painting. Then students go and paint. At 4, we meet back on Zoom for a crit, and I go round the class and talk to people one-to-one.

The idea isn’t to paint like Vermeer, or me, more that we’re inspired by Vermeer’s world. We will try some things that I find helpful, to do with proportion and light and dark. By the end of the five weeks, people’s drawing will be better and the colours cleaner.

Materials list

Michael uses oils but students can use pastels, coloured pencils, gouache, acrylics.

1) Painting surface. M uses cardboard – but not corrugated – with two coats of acrylic primer on either side. Often the card from a cereal box. Primed thick cardboard is good too. Use canvases or boards if you like. Cut it to the size you like. Suggest 13 x 18cm, 25 x 18cm, 25 x 30cm.

2) Oil paint
a) Titanium white or zinc white. Warm white is nicer but more expensive.
b)Cadmium yellow light – lemon yellow is cheaper, but some brands’ lemon yellows tend to green.
c) Alizarin crimson (rose madder is nicer, but dearer).
d) Cobalt blue or cobalt blue hue.
60ml tubes or bigger, and at least twice as much white. I use Jacksons Artists Colours. But use the brand you like.

3) Low-odour oil-paint solvent. A jar for it. Gamsol, Zest-It or Sansador are fine.

4) Brushes. Good to have some bigger brushes.
I like long filbert brushes, household brushes.

5) Palette knives to mix paint, and apply it.

6) Palette or mixing surface. Paper tearaway palette is great. Wooden palette fine.

7) Kitchen paper or rags. A plastic bag for rubbish.

8) Plastic disposable gloves are great.

9) Apron is good. Don’t be like me and not wear an apron.

10) Some hand gel to wash your hands. 11) Newspaper to blot paint – I will explain.

12) An easel. Easier to paint on an easel.