Category Archives: Studio Secrets

The Mirror – History of the Black Mirror

London fine art studios Philip de Laszlo using a mirror in the studio

For centuries the mirror, or its equivalent piece of polished metal, has been used by artists to help them see the shapes and values of the image they are painting on a flat plane in reverse.

Indeed Leonardo da Vinci in his treatise on painting entitles ones section

“Come lo specchio é maestro de’pittori” The mirror is master of painters

There are so many advantages to using the mirror. If you hold it perpendicular to your strong eye and look in reverse at both your artwork and subject you are painting, it gives you a completely fresh view- retrieving the innocent eye. it also eliminates everything in your periphery. The flat plane of the mirror imitates the flat plane of your canvas, panel or paper.

In the book “Painting a Portrait by De Laszlo”, which Philip de Laszlo produced with his friend and art critic Alfred Lys Baldry he says that the mirror’s “chief value is that it gives me a new vision of both picture and sitter and therefor enables me to discover any faults there may be in drawing, or in the relations of tones. It acts like the fresh eye, which can often perceive defects that the painter, having got accustomed to them, has failed to detect. … the mirror is an honest critic.

The Black mirror has the added advantage of reducing the value range. I use my iPhone as a handy equivalent, though it can give you quite a shock when it rings mid concentration. We have recently got black mirrors in stock at the school shop Lavender Hill Colours.


Fantasy Art – A Discussion on its Evolution

london art courses in battersea

Our scholar Benj Randell gave a wonderful and insightful talk on Fantasy Art.

london art courses in battersea

To summarise my talk: Fantasy art has evolved throughout history to take so many different paths that it would be a travesty to try and sum it up in one particular style of painting. Fantasy art influenced by literature including religious and mythical texts is still quite diverse but it is easier to track its evolution and the change in trends throughout history. From the religious works of Hieronymous Bosch and Gustave Doré to the paintings based of Arthurian legend and chivalry by J.W. Waterhouse and Edmund Blair Leighton and then the dramatic and vivid work of Frank Frazetta, all have attempted to present captivating and believable representations of the fantastical. At present a lot of modern fantasy art is a product of the influence of Tolkien and the pulp magazines, however, the genre is still broad and isn’t confined by a certain definition.


The Lady of Shalott 1888 John William Waterhouse


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Gustave Dore; Paradise Lost – etching
Fuseli art course oil painting london fien art studios evening course weekend
Henry Fuseli; The Nightmare



art oil painting 19th century fantasy art
Edmund Leighton-God Speed!
art oil painting 19th century fantasy art
Edmund Blair Leighton; Accolade

Howard Pyle (1853-1911) influential American illustrator
Most well known for his paintings of pirates.
Wrote and illustrated (woodblock prints) his own Arthurian stories. ‘The Story of King Arthur and His Knights’

Howard Pyle art courses illustration fantasy art evening course concept art
Howard Pyle; Otto of the Silver Hand


Pulp Magazines
Inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from around the early 1890s to the 1950s. Considered as low-brow.

Some fantasy pulp magazines include The Argosy and Weird Tales.

art courses illustration fantasy art evening course concept art Pulp Magazines Inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from around the early 1890s to the 1950s. Considered as low-brow. Some fantasy pulp magazines include The Argosy and Weird Tales.
The Argosy
art courses illustration fantasy art evening course concept art
Weird Tales



Frank Frazetta (1928-2010)
Widely considered to be the most influential and most emulated fantasy artist in history.
He defined the look of Conan the Barbarian.

Frank Frazetta influential fantasy artist history look Conan the Barbarian.
Frank Frazetta; Conan
art courses illustration fantasy art evening course concept art
Frank Frazetta


Concept Art, and art form of creating ideas in order to create something more. Imagery for the space, the characters, the setting for video games, films and so much more.

London Fine Art Studios at the Affordable Art Fair

Affordable Art Fair | London Fine Art Studios

LFAS returns to the Affordable Art Fair for their autumn show in Battersea Park, this year taking on a delicious foodie theme.  In keeping with the this LFAS will be leading Still Life workshops and Ann Witheridge will be exploring the interrelation of art and wine, both as subject matter and sustenance for the artists!

All events listed here, tickets here.

Wednesday 19 & Thursday 20 October, 7pm: Art History & Wine Tasting with Ann Witheridge

Thursday 20 and Friday 21 October, 4pm: From Palette to Palate a gastronomically inspired Still Life Workshop.

London Fine Art Studios: An insight

London Fine Art Studios: An insight

London Fine Art Studios: An insight This is us!  We have been busy working with acapmedia to produce a wonderful video about the school.  Thanks to Chris and Aaron of acapmedia for all their work and expertise.  Thanks also to the team at LFAS for their participation.

Check us out here:

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We look forward to the release of a second short film produced with acapmedia.  Also with the support of The de Laszlo Foundation.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Aristotle)

portrait steps alla prima oil painting course

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Aristotle)


Today London Fine Art Studios celebrates a fabulous first year! Three terms of cast drawing, of oil painting, of nudes and portraits have flown by and we are enjoying a buoyant start to the summer courses. To mark the occasion and show that artists can party as hard as they work, we will be found picnic-ing and generally making merry in Battersea Park.


Highlights from the year have included an inaugural lecture from Simon Schama at Leighton House Museum; a talk by Alison Smith, Curator at Tate Britain; workshops and artists-in-residence at Dulwich Picture Gallery; filming with ACAPmedia; Griselda Murray Brown, FT Arts Editor, speaking about the synaesthesia of music and art; and so much more!


However, most exciting has been the expanding programme of classes to include Advanced Cast drawing, Printmaking & Etching, extended Sculpture schedules and new workshops with international artists. We are still looking forward to Henry Yan’s arrival in September.


And yet, though we be young in years, we are rich in experience. As with the Welsh football team, LFAS is greater that the sum of its parts: Ann Witheridge, Founder and Director, brings years of teaching, drawing, painting, exhibiting to bear on her leadership and vision for the Studios; our teachers are also established artists, represented nationally and internationally with creative projects a-plenty under their belts; our art store stocks the best materials from around the globe, offered at affordable prices to our students with a generous lashing of expert advice from Director Scott Pohlschmidt.


Then there are the students, hungry to learn, of all ages and backgrounds, with enriching life experiences of their own. The best will draw on the support of their peers as well as the knowledge of their teachers to further their craft; they will make the most of the lectures, partnerships and events that the Studios organise to help further their professional development.


Thus, the staff, the students and even the spaces (imagine artist’s paraphernalia and worn wooden floors) provide a unique and enormously productive learning environment.   Add to this a method that has lasted centuries, classical techniques handed down from one European Master to another. Newcomers begin with the Foundation Course, they learn the fundamentals and train their eye to see afresh, they learn what Aristotle knew: the delicate interplay of parts and whole, never fixating on the detail, always stepping away from the easel to see the bigger picture.


All this amounts to a carefully considered and honed training for amateur and professional artists, for part-timers and full timers alike. One that is supportive yet challenging, consolidated through tradition and wholly contemporary.


I would like to say how much I enjoyed my term at LFAS. The staff is amazing, welcoming, and all around wonderful, the store far too tempting, Chris’ tea some of the best in London, and the general atmosphere inspiring, lovely, and motivating. And as frustrating as it sometimes was (is) to learn a new way of doing something you think you already know how to do, the technique taught as LFAS is exciting, engaging, and expansive. I feel so fortunate to have found LFAS. Many thanks to all of you who make it work so very well.


Testimonial of LFAS Student

Artists in Conversation @ St Paul’s Studios, Talgarth Rd

atelier london artists studios

London Fine Art Studios is excited to attend this event tomorrow, Thursday 19 May at 7pm.

Stacey Gledhill, founder of the Blue Platter Club, brings together James Hayes and Clare Shenstone for an evening of conversation and insight.  James trained in Florence, Clare is a portrait artist who completed her MA at the Royal College in 1979.

A unique opportunity to learn of their professional challenges and landmarks, their influences and what it means to be an artist today.  All this in the exceptional setting of St. Paul’s Studios, Talgarth Road.

Refreshments provided, plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Tickets £5, email: