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Offered entirely online: interactive, livestreaming classes and personalized feedback on completed work.

with Ian Jehle

“I don’t get abstract art.” How many times have we heard our friends and family say this about an abstract painting or sculpture. What is it that perplexes people about abstract art? At the same time, all of us are used to seeing abstraction in everyday objects such as: fabrics, wrapping paper, wall coverings and floor tiles. But what do we find appealing about this everyday abstraction. What makes one group of squares more beautiful or fascinating than another? 

In many ways, the use of abstraction coincides with the discoveries of Albert Einstein more than a century ago. More than anyone before him, Einstein made us aware that there are hidden forces operating between everything around us, even time and space itself. In many ways abstraction can be seen as the artistic expression of these unseen forces and laws.

This course will use hands-on exercises to examine abstraction from an analytic point of view. We will look at geometric, expressionistic, and algorithmic abstraction through use of examples from important artists and designers from the last 2000 years. We will see how abstraction has been used to express the unseen forces around us from the beginning. We will examine the topics of geometry, repetition, pattern, brush work, randomness and optical illusion – and show how these topics arise directly from science. The goal is for students to understand the forces and dynamics that make abstraction work and also to give students practical ideas to incorporate in their own work, regardless of whether that work is abstract or representational. 


  • What is abstraction?
  • Geometry and Pattern
  • Understanding Space and Spacial Dynamics
  • Abstraction through brush work
  • Understanding Minimalism 
  • Using Algorithms


Our Online Workshop Format:

  • Livestreaming classes take place via online video conference (using Zoom). The instructor conducts live demos with step-by-step instruction so that you can work together in real time. You also have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback during class time.
  • We keep class sizes small and the atmosphere is interactive and supportive.
  • Finish exercises or practice at your own pace, at home, outside of class time.
  • Receive individual feedback on your completed work and exchange comments and questions with the instructor and your fellow workshop participants in an encouraging environment.
  • Find supplemental material and watch the progress of other participants by visiting the workshop Dropbox folder in between classes.
  • Recordings from each week’s livestreaming session are available in case you miss a class or want to review a demo.