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More Painting with Jesse Reno

I could write a book about what I learned in Jesse Reno’s class not only from  the techniques he taught but from the stories he told and the example he set.  I so wish I had a tape recorder capturing all of his tales.  Oh, I just showed my age by saying tape recorder.

Jesse was able to get the right and left sides of his brain to work together with the use of just one word.  Why.

Why?  That word?  That word that meant a long essay answer on a test?  That word that was so hard to deal with when your parents asked you why you forgot to clean your room? Yes, that word.  That word helped me analyze what my “creative” side liked so I could understand what worked for me in my painting.  The more I understood what worked and why I felt more confident in my choices.  Why is such a powerful word!

He encouraged us to do what we liked and then ask ourselves why we liked it there.  As I did more and more of that throughout the day I was more aware of what was needed in parts of the painting.  Weird, the more I did something the better I got at it…haven’t I heard that before…oh wait, I tell it to my kids all the time!

Here’s a look at some of the stages of development.

Just getting the paint down with our hands only- and I began to notice shapes that I have been drawn to over the years.  Why those shapes? I liked how my hand felt when I made them.




More paint layers.  Why?  Because I had almost all the same movements on the canvas and I needed more variety.







Blocking out areas- this was the scary part- completely covering over something- no going back.  Keeping only what I truly loved and getting rid of some things I kinda liked.






Starting to see something in it.  Beginning to find the meaning in it.








Trying to decide if these are the colors I want in it…






Nope, not those, but a bit of green, now that makes me happy!  Why?  I like the memories and feelings green brings up for me more than what red brings up in me.






I had to add some text to it, I just can’t call something “done” unless it has words somewhere.










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  • Ann March 26, 2012, 7:44 am

    Very interesting journey from the start to finish of the painting. I liked seeing the images and your thoughts about the piece at the different stages.

  • Lori - What Remains Now March 26, 2012, 8:09 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It is so interesting to see things in-progress. I will be asking, “why.”

  • iHanna March 26, 2012, 10:05 am

    What a interesting road you’re on after a class with “the guru painter” 🙂 Thanks for sharing your steps, very cool to see and read about why you did what you did!

  • Pauline Leger March 26, 2012, 1:46 pm

    This is so interesting… thank you so much for posting each step. i LOVE seeing the transition from one step to the next. i’m sure you learned a lot – and how can a class like that NOT be fun & eye opening?!? Great stuff. Your painting is wonderful. xoxo

  • Pauline Leger March 26, 2012, 1:46 pm

    ps: i know what a tape recorder is too. 😉

  • Corrine March 26, 2012, 2:05 pm

    Glad you listened to your inner voice here! xox

  • Lorinda @ Everyday Endeavours March 26, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Great piece! I love seeing your steps and reading about your thoughts along the way. xx

  • Kathleen March 26, 2012, 5:35 pm

    What a wonderful progression. I love the colors and it looks as though it may have texture too. What fun!

  • cat @ sea.sky.stone. March 26, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Um, what’s a tape recorder? Never mind…I’ll look it up on the internet tubes 😉

    I’m really enjoying your posts about this class–especially this thing about “why”.

  • Lynn Lucas March 26, 2012, 11:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing and showing us the process. Its quite liberating to know that there definitely can be a process and that pieces of work do not just magically appear. I love the outcome and the question.

  • Kristin Van Valkenburgh March 27, 2012, 12:44 am

    Ooooh, I love this! I SO WANT to take a class from him – and now even more so! His work expresses so much energy and freedom to me – and with this bit of insight, I can see how. Loved the share, thank you! xo

  • Daniele Valois March 27, 2012, 1:02 am

    ok, OMG! FIrst off, I would die to take a class from him…and I am actually working on that! …Second, this painting is AMAZING! I love it so much I cannot even tell you how much I love it. I feel happiness and freedom, and youth, and the smell of rain, and running to catch my rainbow! this is everything I want in life! I am so blown away by what you’ve done here, and if you would be willing to sell a print, I would love to add it to my wall of awesomeness!

  • jane w. March 27, 2012, 7:31 am

    sounds like an awesome class – loving the color and texture through out..

  • Ginny March 27, 2012, 2:59 pm

    Carolyn, I really enjoyed this post. I just finished a very simple watercolor and now I am going to go back ask myself why I like it. Your painting had such movement and beautiful colors. I definitely saw the ocean and the waves – two of my favorite things.

  • Corrine March 28, 2012, 7:50 am

    Hi Carolyn, I tagged you in my post. Play along if you like, or not. xox Corrine

  • Kat March 31, 2012, 4:52 am

    I love visiting you here and seeing what you’re doing, you’re having such fun playing with colours, shapes and just letting go, it’s great!

  • Melisa March 31, 2012, 9:22 am

    I love seeing the progressions of this. Very cool!