Master Copy Painting | Workshop

Learn how to analyse and recreate copies of favourite artworks.

Date & Time

14th + 15th November 2020 | Weekend | 10.00-17:00


LARA London
371 Clapham Road
London SW9 9BT
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In this two day course you will learn how to analyse and recreate copies of favourite artworks. Using sketches and unfinished works by some of the greatest portrait painters, we will consider materials, the use of colour and paint handling, in order understand the techniques and effects employed. Copying master works has been a fundamental part of an artist’s training for centuries and this introduction aims to enable you to incorporate this practice into your own artistic development.

This course requires a minimum number of enrolments to run.

Click her to read Ben Laughton Smith’s ‘An Approach to Master Copies’ step by step tutorial guide.


Aims of this Course

You will have understood the techniques and procedures used to paint a master copy in oil through careful observation of proportions, colour and painting style. You will also learn how to research and analyse artworks in order to copy them yourself in future and understand the working practices of art history’s most renowned portrait artists. Areas covered include:

  • Materials used by the masters;
  • Analysis of procedure and colour;
  • Blocking in;
  • Paint handling and mark-making.

The Facilities

Each class is limited to 8 students working from their own master print. The Workshop Room is located within the main school of LARA London. The lighting is of a professional photographic standard which provides a steady, unchanging environment in which you can make confident colour choices.


We will address in some detail the materials typically used by the artists we are copying. However, since each painter we will be copying used different materials we will be working with a standardised palette.

Please bring the following materials with you. Items marked with an asterisk are stocked in the LARA shop. Please call ahead if you would like to reserve items to ensure availability.

Oil Paint: The LARA Palette

  • Lead White – PW1 (recommended) or Titanium White* – PW6
  • Nickel Yellow* – PY 53
  • Yellow Ochre* – PY 43
  • Cadmium Red* – PR 108 (or cheaper alternative English Red PR 1C1 or Winsor and Newton Scarlet Red))
  • Alizarin Crimson* – PR 83 (more permanent alternatives: Quindacridone Magenta – PR 122, Quindacridone Maroon – PR 206)
  • Cobalt Blue* – PB 28 (or cheaper alternative Ultramarine Blue PB 29)
  • Raw Umber* – PBr 7
  • Ivory Black* – PBk 9
  • We highly recommend Old Holland, C Roberson, Blockx, Vasari and Winsor and Newton (cheapest option)

For Painting

  • Balanced wooden arm palette* (if you are right handed, please buy a left handed palette, and vice versa)
  • One stretched linen canvas* or canvas panels approximately 40 x 50 cms.
  • Hog bristle brushes* (overall a good selection of hog brushes should be used. The more brushes, the easier it is to keep colour mixes clean. A variety of sizes is essential for handling large areas of the painting as well as small details. However, a set of at least 10 ‘filberts’ and ‘flats’ should be enough to get started).
  • Flexible steel palette knife*
  • Refined Linseed Oil*
  • Sennelier’s Odour Free Mineral Spirits*, Winsor and Newton Sansodor or Jackson’s Low Odour Solvent (odourless turpentine substitute for painting). You cannot use turpentine within the studio
  • Airtight metal brush cleaner* or jam jar (jam jars must be clearly labelled with your name, course and solvents it contains)
  • Metal dipper* for medium
  • A good supply of kitchen roll* for cleaning brushes
  • Tupperware tub for keeping paints overnight
  • Something to carry your wet paintings home with on the last day, for example, a canvas carrier*. If you are unable to find one, another canvas of the same size can be strapped to the front to keep the painting safe while being transported


“Excellent.  Focused, clear and individually tailored.” Siobhan

Learn from the best tutors

Ben Laughton Smith

"The key advantage of atelier training is that it is underpinned by a philosophy of seeing in which all the individual parts contribute to a cohesive whole."


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