Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mike Hernandez Workshop!

Last weekend I was lucky to be in a workshop given by Mike Hernandez.  Mike's gouache paintings that he posts on Facebook have caught the eye of many of us.  He does such beautiful work.

Mike is a very kind person and generous teacher.  He is a production designer at Dreamworks, working with a graphic vocabulary for the commercial artwork he does which also applies to his personal gouache pieces.  Mike's knowledge of light and shadow nuances was boggling.  I took notes as fast a I could!  Mike emphasized the hierarchies that our brains like when we look at paintings.  The hierarchy, what you want people to see, is the composition with contrasts in shape, value, color, and detail.    

"Don't paint things, paint shapes!"  I know that works well, I just need to put it into practice.  Mike pointed out how we improve in technique by doing a lot of paintings.  So in the workshop we did a lot of paintings.  One day we met at a nearby location to do some plein air work after Mike's demo.  These were 30 minute 3" x 5" pieces, mine pictured below.  Back at the studio we did more 30 minute studies from projected photos.  The next day we did more quick, small studies to work on simplifying busy landscape scenes.  We started at 5 minute 1.5" x 2.5" size and worked down to 30 seconds, then back up to 5 minutes.  These exercises were fun to try and I saw I was learning more about simplifying shapes and economy of brushstrokes.  Mike generously ended with a beautiful demo.  As always I have a lot to remember when out painting.  Such an inspiring workshop!

My 3" x 5" gouache

My 3" x 5" gouache

Mike Hernandez

Both, my 3" x 5" gouaches

My 1.5" x 2.5" studies

Mike Hernandez


  1. Thanks, Sherry, Mike is an amazing artist - I checked out his website - lucky you!! Nice paintings that resulted!

    1. Thanks Joani. Mike and his paintings are just wonderful!