the study of light and color

The Study of the Language of Light and Color

Nearly one hundred years before Monet, J.M.W. Turner introduced a new way of seeing light and color. Monet was able to develop this new way of seeing because of the industrial revolution in France. Monet did this through better understanding the way light changes his subjects in different seasons, as well as, at the different kind of day and time of day. He was able to accomplish this by painting directly from nature with the invention and convenience of new permanent colors and tubes.

Due to the influence of Monet's innovations of visual perception, Henry Hensche's teaching and painting was able to go beyond Impressionism. Henry added new dimension to the art of seeing. Everything that Henry saw was in what he called light keys. Painting limitless light keys requires looking for the truth. This truth is in the way everything is enveloped in a particular light key in each season, time of day and kind of day. Traditional, classical, modern or any other previous ideas of painting have never been able to reveal the quality of the different light keys. Everything is also modeled in the particular light key through understanding color masses. Everything else is held to that key and is expressed through separate color differences not values.

Henry understood the only way he could achieve this visual truth was to make a complete break from the traditional school. He did this early in his career while he was an assistant to Charles W. Hawthorne. Henry taught the art of seeing and painting like a language. Every stage of the language has to be understood and practiced before proceeding to the next level. The problem lies in confusing color with tonal methods. They are two different languages. Progress is only achieved when the student is able to advance in their development of color relationships. There are no short cuts, formulas, recipes or easy ways to learn. Henry Hensche spent his life believing in developing this language of light and color. I call this language "color visualism" to separate it from all other labels. Henry did not want to be called an Impressionist, not because he did not want to be associated with the name, but because he was not an Impressionist. He was not connected with any of the traditional or modern movements. In my opinion, he is the only painter to take painting beyond Impressionism, Realism and anything else in the history of painting. He is an innovator in seeing and painting. He is recognized for his innovative achievements in his teaching and painting. This is a new language of seeing and cannot be explained, taught or practiced in a traditional manner or by traditional terminology.

Henry was the first painter in the history of painting to paint still life in different light keys modeled with color variations outdoors and using north light indoors. He modeled his landscapes and portraits in light keys and composed with three dimensional color composition. He has accomplished what no other painter in history has been able to do. Henry understood and appreciated what Monet had accomplished but that was only the beginning. Henry knew his own ideas were different and more truthful in the way we see. He wanted to develop seeing and painting to a higher level of visual perception.

*For more information about Henry Hensche, visit The Hensche Foundation.