Tuesday, May 25, 2010

jesse reno workshop

i took a painting workshop from an 
artist called jesse reno at artfest this year
at fort warden, in port townesend WA.

all i can say is amazing.

he was an interesting teacher, and man can he paint.
but mostly...  boy does he get you thinking about your
paints in a new way (plus he is funny).

anyway i am going to give you a very brief description
of his painting plan.  basically there is no plan, there
is only what is good on the page and you paint
over the rest of it (and you keep doing this) over
and over and over again, until something brilliant
is left.  

this is how you start...  a piece of paper.
red, yellow, blue, white and black paint (only).
no paint brush (just your hand).  and then you just get it down...
get the color on the page with your fingers.
slap it down, smoosh it, DO NOT be careful.  play.

after you get layer 1 of the color down, you look at the mess- 
and then you paint around the spots you like 
(leaving the good behind), and covering up the rest.
clearly i am missing A LOT of photos but...
this is what happened after 4 layers (or so).

(a close up)

i covered up the white, and added in the black spots
on my bugs face and body 

somehow my lady became a bear. 
 i put in some houses
& i wrote in the words "armless and lopsided"

i remember not liking that bear so much, so i put some hills over him

the bear became a house and a dog...  *i lost "armless
and lopsided"  but added in the word capable.
and found myself to be done.  although in hindsight
i probably should have kept on going.

(close up)

you really do just use your hands.

this was one of the most exciting things i have ever done
with paint, and as soon as all these shows are over this summer
i have EVERY intention of getting out my real paints and
going to town.

OH- and if you ever have  the opportunity to take 
a workshop with jesse reno OR go to ARTFEST
do it.  you won't regret it.


  1. Oh i've been a massive fan of Jesse reno for ages now, being stuck in the UK i'm not likely to ever take a class with him, but a girl can dream right? :)

    I love what you made though, wonderful work!!

  2. I too am a massive Jesse Reno fan. I love his work and am totally envious of you having taken a class with him :P

    Thanks for sharing the process with us, it was fascinating to watch it progress, and I love the finished piece, brilliant.

    PS I'm in the UK too so I'll join you in the dream Micki

  3. lovely work.

    Just wanted to let you know I now have a new blog address.

    Please pop on over and connect with me again, as I dont want to lose any of my lovely followers.

    I have also added you to my new blog roll

    Hope your having a nice week

    Louise @ Illume Design Invites

  4. WOW! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing the process too. Just a question though...do you use your hands to paint the whole painting, or just for the first layer of paint?


  5. kaili... you use your hands for the first 3 or so layers (you do) and then you get to use oil pastels (on top of acrylic paint) and a charcoal pencil. then about 2 more layers in you get to start using a brush. it really is an amazing process which no one in the class really understood until the end (i don't know why it was so hard to grasp either). honestly i feel like my painting was a bit of a failure even though it turned out lovely. i was SO unwilling to let that bug guy go/ and that is NOT what this painting was about. i'd imagine jesse's paintings must be 15+ layer deep. and boy are they amazing.

  6. This year I had to forego Artfest because I was heavily involved with the Olympics. (My choice!) But I was so sad to miss Jesse Reno. I wanted to take a class with him so badly.

    I hear he's booking with a store up here at some point, so I got on their mailing list and hopefully when the times comes, I will be able to go.

    Everything I've seen out of his classes (lots of my pals have taken one) are amazing. I love to play in paint, though I cannot paint per se.


  7. Thank you for creating such a lovely space : )

    I’d like to invite you to win a piece of my fine art through a giveaway on my blog.


    I wish you all my best.


  8. Oh! Your work is so...inspiring!
    I'm getting something from your Etsy shop but I just can't choose! They're all so beautiful!

  9. Thanks Cori! Im going to try it on my own, it looks so freeing and I think your result is amazing! I wish I could go to art fest!! If I ever go the states, it will be on top of my wish list.

  10. Wow. That is such a fun process, and I love what you have created. I actually really loved it right from the second photo.

    I totally want to get to Art Fest one day.

  11. put artfest on the top of your list of "things to do".

    what a wonderful experience.

  12. I would be happy to produce work as lovely as any of the layers you created. Beautiful colours! The process looks like a great way let go and get really creative. Very inspiring, thankyou

  13. cori thanku so much for this post! especially for those of us who,say, are home all the time with two itty bitties & can't get out to take an amazing art workshop... i used to draw & sculpt years ago but haven't in so long i don't even know how to get going anymore (i sew & craft, which i enjoy, but it's just not the same) ...i flipped when i stumbled across your work- i think it's so amazing --has really been inspiring to me-- just want to get back into my art & somewhere in there find my own voice.this has given me a good idea of where to start (probably during a near-future naptime) thanku :) -erin http://erinlebeau.blogspot.com/

  14. I love this post. What a fascinating technique - terrifying and liberating. I found it really interesting watching your painting progress - I would have been happy with the first two iterations but you kept going sort of ruthlessly and every painting it became was fantastic. How did you decided when to stop and when to keep going?

  15. funny you should ask! i stopped when the workshop was over. if you ask me there is a section in the upper left that needs a little something else, but i am not sure when i will EVER find the time to get to it (so sad). i really could have kept on for hours though. i wonder what it would have turned into?

  16. Thanks for sharing this process, it's very inspiring! Your work is beautiful!

  17. so glad you showed the pixs from your jesse reno class. great stuff.

  18. I love it! X)
    I just found your shop on etsy and I'm liking your work a lot!

  19. I'm so excited to have found you and your wonderful blog! I love this post on painting too. I've always wanted to paint but let my fear of failure stop me. Now I know to just keep painting over it! Thank you. Your art is gorgeous.