Monday, February 14, 2011

Some More Hensche

For those of you on the path of learning about art and developing your work, you may find some insights in the sayings by Henry Hensche.  

He apparently was an excellent teacher - if you really wanted to learn.  Not so much if you were looking for the secret.  His painting was considered superior to Hawthorne's, and he also surpassed his mentor in teaching methodologies.  His teaching of the awareness of colour has been dying out since his death in 1992.  I suspect this is partly a result of our instant gratification society.  This approach takes constant practice and dedication.

A student's growth in painting ability is directly connected to his ability to see.

You don't ever do a painting for money.  If you paint to sell you stop developing.  Selling is a by product.

If you are looking for painting techniques (or formulas) you will not get them from me.  Techniques give you a predetermined solution to your problem.  Without visual analysis you will experience no growth.  You will return to pat solutions your teacher gave you.

Paint the large masses true to their colour relationships in the light key in which they are seen.  When this is done well you divide the masses into the divisions of the variations of colour seen in those masses.  When you no longer see any variations, stop.

It does your painting no good to add all kinds of detail if you miss the main point.  Get the right light key and the details will take care of themselves.  Otherwise your paintings will look like craft paintings.

You cannot fully develop your vision by painting in a studio.  You must get outside to learn to paint correctly.

Change your colours directly on your canvas, not on your palette.

And a host of others.


Hensche Study

Some references follow;

Hensche on Painting by John Robichaux
Hawthorne on Painting by Mrs. Charles Hawthorne

These books are available for less than $10.

You can download a Henry Hensche Colour Study pdf (approx. 190 pages) from


  1. Sammy Britt studied with Henry from the 60 till Henry painting and teaching. he is a great source of information

  2. Thanks for the link. There is a good Hensche reader available from Blue Ridge paints on their web site.