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

with Ian Jehle

Most of us have had the experience as kids of staring at pages from Magic Eye books, trying to make our eyes see a three-dimensional elephant or race car emerge from a seemingly random and regular pattern of pixels. Whether it’s artworks that reveal picture when you look at them from the right angle or even the infamous Dress, what is it that fascinates us with these and other optical illusions? We all have an instinctual desire to turn patterns into pictures, but what happens when a single pattern creates two completely distinct pictures. That’s an optical illusion.

More than simply tricks, optics have been used by artists for centuries to create visual tensions, add movement, and even evoke mystery in works of art. Many of us have heard people complain that a 6 year old could make a Mark Rothko painting. As art lovers we all know this is not true. But why? What is it that makes a Rothko so much more than three fuzzy rectangles on a colored background? This class will focus on various forms of optical illusion, or said more precisely, optical dynamics, that artists have employed throughout the centuries. We will look at artists such as Mark Rothko and talk about his relationship to Hans Hofmann and his theory of Push/Pull.. We will then look  at the teachings and work of Josef and Anni Albers, both Bauhaus trained, and discuss how they use color to create dynamical movement.

This course is recommended for artists and creatives looking to understand and work with looking to understand why some images have more life movement than others and how to incorporate this sense of excitement and mystery into their own work.



  • What are optical illusions and why do they fascinate us
  • Roman tiles and the magic of optical patterns
  • Op art and the art of color illusions
  • Push/Pull, Hans Hofmann and Mark Rothko
  • Joseph Albers and the role of Color Dynamics
  • Ellsworth Kelly, Jean-Claude and Christo and the art of making space bend.


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.