Sunday, July 17, 2011

Art Class with Jeff Hengst

Tomorrow is the last day of a wonderful art class Kim and I have been taking with Seattle artist Jeff Hengst. It has been a wonderful set of sessions on Sunday and Monday evenings this summer.

Setting a base color on the canvas
 The class has been about finding your muse and ways of being creative, but we've also brought in some "practical" technique sessions, too.

This has been a wonderful experience for me. I haven't taken any sort of art class (outside of photography) since college. And, quite frankly, I sucked at anything involving drawing, painting, or sculpting back then. Probably what drove me more into photography.

I can't say that I'm any better now, but not because of anything lacking in the class. I was in the class mostly for the discussions. Why the nude as a subject? Working on large scale or small scale? What inspires us? How we can learn figure painting by eating chickens.

For most of the class we worked in small to medium sized sketch books. Jeff encouraged us to try new materials. If we always worked in pencil, try charcoal. Or try oil paint. We learned how to stretch a canvas and prep it with gesso. We talked about tools. We talked about ideas. All encompassing.

This evening we made a big jump from the sketch books to large paintings. Paintings on plywood panels using limited palettes (2 colors) of latex house paint and large brushes. It seemed that everyone in the class really enjoyed this exercise. In the very very first class we burned our art. We kept that theme going. Creating things and letting them go. With the large panels tonight we painted them. Then we hit them with water from a garden hose. Then we painted again. 

Though Jeff has been a working artist for many years, this is the first time he has offered classes, and Kim and I feel so honored to be part of the first class. We're looking forward to more classes. Kim is especially interested in working with concrete, which will be offered in August.

It looks like Jeff doesn't have a blog set up yet, but you can contact him at to get information or call the studio at 206-328-4758 and Jeff or his assistant, Gio, can help you with class info or sign you up for a class.

I made a conscious decision to not bring a camera to class until this last week of class. I didn't want the distraction for me or for the folks in the class. But I'm glad I did bring it tonight. Here are some photos from this evening's class:

My initial piece from this evening, before
attacking it with the jet spray
The transformation after the spray, working
with a much wetter media

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