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Jesse Reno Workshop

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  • with Jesse Reno
  • May 16-19, 2019
  • Lincolnton, NC

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  • About


    This workshop will introduce students to Jesse Reno's techniques and philosophies on painting and the creative process. Students will engage in a series of lessons, demostrations, and interactions where Jesse asks the class questions about their work to figure out where they're going and help them get them there.

    All four days of the workshop will include painting and technique demontrations as well as engagements and exercises in the creative process. Students will combine these lessons together to create original works of art that are rich in variation and conflicting ideas that will help them find and follow their truest desires and beliefs within their work.

    One of his students had this to say about her experience : "Working with Jesse gets my creative juices flowing. He reminds me to dance with the paint, not to force a solution on the painting, but to respond to a combination of what is within me and what emerges on the canvas. Jesse's unique approach to life and painting inspire me to be more appreciative and curious about what I will discover next with the brush. He reminds me to be fascinated, patient, strong, gentle, delighted, and bold." - Jacqui Beck

    You will learn to free yourself from creative restraints and embrace your mistakes in this workshop. Jesse Reno will act as a guide to help you adapt, fix and use your mistakes to create works of art that would otherwise not be possible. By the end of the four days, you will be on your way to unlocking your full potential as an artist and have the tools neccesary to get there, which will evolve over time as you continue to apply and learn from them.

    "I have taken 4 workshops with Jesse – in each one I gained RENEWED perspective on approaching paintings from an "UNPLANNED" approach. He uses a variety of creative prompts, mark making, and exercise to jump start the creative process. I enjoyed his mix of class techniques-fast paced prompts, live demonstrations, and plenty of time to work independently with his guidance and input. Along with strengthening my painting techniques, I have also applied his techniques to my art journaling and have gained a new found trust in the creative process" - Jo K. Quetsch

    At Jesse's sold out workshop last year, he and the students spent hours after class having fun in the unique enviornment of Donna Downey's studio enjoying conversations on art, life, and the creative process over delivious meals in a gorgous natural surrounding.

    This workshop is open to all levels.

    Jesse's Bio
    Jesse Reno is a self-taught artist that has created over four-thousand original paintings in the past fifteen years using a combination of magic, technique and intuition.

    "My process is one of trial and error, changing directions, persistence of ideas and letting intention guide me rather than chasing outcomes."

    He creates work out of his two studios in Portland, Oregon. One is inside his home and the other is inside of a public space named True Measure Gallery, where visitors are encouraged to flip through his original works of art.

    Jesse's style has been described by critics and fans as contemporary primitive and abstract narrative.

    "Contemporary primitive - of the present, searching for understanding through introspection, a basic wisdom of things based on connection to one's ideas ideals and dreams rather then institutional, or technological knowledge based on intricacies."

    "Abstract narrative - a visual narrative derived from the interpretation of creations made up of intuitive actions manifesting as abstract shapes, forms and emotions. A process without preconceived plans, just a thought and a feeling following one after the other to become an idea. Changing directions as forms emerge to find an idea free from judgment, something true in and of itself. From this, a world of personal myth, iconography, symbols and beings are created. Observing these creations as they emerge as well as noting their transitions and final meanings one learns to understand what has been stated. Through this understanding, we see the synchronicity of moments and coincidences in life - a visual narrative where environment, being, and understanding all come from the interpretation of this visual diary to create a story of potential, growth, and self-destiny."

    Jesse's paintings have been exhibited all over North & South America, Australia, and Europe. In addition to his studio practice, he hosts workshops to teach and inspire others. In 2016. he was selected by the National Arts Education Conference to give a talk about his visionary style of teaching workshops.

    When he isn't painting or leading artistic workshops, Jesse is creating experimental videos and music to inspire his studio practice. He often exhibits these films, songs, and paintings simultaneously to immerse audiences into his world.


    "For me, painting is an experience. I love the feeling of each of my mediums and methods of drawing clenched-fisted, wrong-handed, without looking, using my hand and palms to smear and mix acrylic paints, using brushes, scrapers, oil crayons, and pastels in any way that comes to mind. I'm always painting in reckless layers, searching for a meaning in random intentions, and then pulling out the images I begin to see. I will aim to instill in all of you the excitement of the unexpected and creating in ways that don't seem like they should work. This will really open you up and remove the stress of painting as well as reinforce the idea that we can outshine our expectations of ourselves in ways we never knew.
    In this four day workshop, we will work on multiple paintings over the course of the class and focus on letting go of our preconcieved ideas about painting. We will learn to see what's really there rather than getting caught up in what we want to see and learn to appreciate what appears as it appears. We will learn to understand combining and seperating elements within a painting to get a truely mixed and collaged cohesion within our finished works.
    My work acts for no reason other than to convey an inner struggle for expression; simple, direct, and always with purpose. Two-hundred times this year I've painted random layers of self introspection and visualization; expanding and growing through trial and error. The paintings thicken with purpose as time goes on with each new thought learned, and each layer created, confirmed, rethought, re-identified, and tested until it is true or removed.
    I approach painting with random intentions to give a sense of natural order. Its integral to my process, as well as my intentions. I attempt to find meaning through seperating myself from my thougths and then following them through my actions. I generally work on five to ten paintings at all times, so I can jump between them all and stay busy. I try not to get to caught up with any one piece until it nears its end. I feel this keeps my self-editing more honest. It keeps me from getting too atatched to one idea and allows me to move on to follow my thoughts rather than lead them. Following what I see is what I strive for more than anything in my process. I generally work on pieces in many small sessions so my assessments are new and fresh each time I sit down to work a piece. I tend to make sense of the imagery and add any final touches in the final stages of a painting. It's not until its almost completely finished that I understand a painting's meaning.
    My art relates to primitivism in the purest sense, it comes from within with strong belief. The images search for pureness in expression and connection beyond language... As in primitive cultures my creations remain pure as if they are my visual diaries, free from the concerns of technique, preconceived ideas, meaning, or concern for what has come before... they come from within, and manifest as expressions of the world that surrounds, like gods created in ones own image, a reflection of self...art is about getting whole." - Jesse Reno

    Student Testimonials

    "I've taken both a two day and a five day class with Jesse. The two day class gave me all the basics of his process. I credit him with being the person who got me painting. The five day class not only helped me to better understand his process, but it also made me be more aware of the choices - in particular, the choices I make regarding "contrast" in my paintings - in color, intensity, size and texture. The structure of his classes, with both demo time and work time keep things moving and allow plenty of time for questions and practice. His way of talking aloud while he is painting is really a helpful teaching tool. Jesse is funny and supportive. He understands that art is life and life is art. I loved painting with him!" - Samyak Yamauchi

    Event Schedule
    10:00am - 4:00PM 

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What airport do I fly into?

    Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina

    Do I need to rent a car?

    We offer complimentary rides (at specified times) to and from the airport and shuttle you each day to the studio. For more info, click here.

    Where do I stay?

    You can either book a room at our new studio or get a special rate with one of our hotel partners.

    To book a room at our studio, email or call us at 704-240-8076 or donna@donnadowney.com. For more info on rooms, click here.

    To book a room with a special rate with our hotel partner, see below:

    Quality Inn (located 2 miles from Donna Downey Studios)
    1550 E Main St, Lincolnton, North Carolina, 28092
    Phone: +1-623-432-0782
    Book Here

    Hampton Inn (located 2 miles from Donna Downey Studios)
    129 Roper Drive, Lincolnton, North Carolina, 28092
    Phone: +1-704-736-2000
    To register online for the special event rate, click here or call and use Donna Downey Studios corporate code 0002759994

    What is the cancellation policy?

    Purchased class spots are non-refundable. In the event that you cannot attend, and the workshop is sold out, please email kelli@donnadowney.com to be put in contact with the first person on the waiting list. From there, the payment must be worked out between both parties. If there is no waiting list, we are unfortunately unable to provide any refund or credit.

    If you would like to enroll in a workshop that has been sold out,
    please send an email to donna@donnadowney.com and you will be put on a waiting list.
    Questions? Contact donna@donnadowney.com