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Art Classes

Detail of "Alton Ochsner Sr." 40x40 inches, oil on canvas. Hanging in the Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans.

Hello Everybody: 

The different classes are listed on the Calendar in the menu.  By clicking on the class you want you can view the class description and then go to the page for signing up. If No classes are on the calendar it means I currently have other projects to finish.

I will be giving free demonstrations also and these will be on the calendar. 

If you think you might want to take a class later please email me so I can put you on a list. Please give any preference for times when you would like to take a class or two day workshop.

The classes are about color and some advice about the head and figure in pastel, oils, and charcoal.  No classes in acrylics are planned, sorry.


Yours truly,

Bob Graham  bigbobgraham@aol.com  

 My teacher, Henry Hensche studied with Charles Webster Hawthorne who studied with William Merritt Chase.  Here is a bit of the History.

William Merritt Chase-Charles Webster Hawthorne-Henry Hensche  


In 1869 William Merritt Chase went to France and studied with the famous French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.   In 1871, he settled in at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, a long-standing center of art training that was attracting increasing numbers of Americans. He studied under Alexander von Wagnerand Karl von Piloty, and befriended American artists Walter Shirlaw, Frank Duveneck, and J(oseph) Frank Currier.  In Munich, Chase employed his rapidly burgeoning talent most often in figurative works that he painted in the loosely-brushed style popular with his instructors. He founded the Parsons New School of Design. 


In 1896 Charles Hawthorne became assistant instructor to William Merritt Chase at his Shinnecock, Long Island outdoor painting school where the lessons of the French Impressionists were first brought to American shores.  In 1899 Hawthorne opened his own outdoor school in Provincetown, MA- the Cape Cod School of Art - the first school to teach outdoor figure painting.  By 1915 Provincetownwould grow into one of the largest art colonies in the world, attracting such luminaries as Childe Hassam, William Paxton, and Ernest Lawson.  Artists who sought Hawthorne’s instruction includedEmile Gruppe,Norman Rockwell, Max Bohm and Richard Miller


Henry Hensche (February 25, 1899 - December 10, 1992) was an Americanpainter and teacher. Born in Germany, Henry Hensche came to the United States by way of Antwerp, Belgium. He was ten years old when he arrived at Ellis Island aboard the British steamship S.S. Kroonland, along with his sister Erna, and his father Fred. His mother died before he was two. At the age of 17 he began to work in the stockyards so that he could afford to attend the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied under George Bellows. He also studied at the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, the Art Students League of New York, the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and Charles Webster Hawthorne's Cape Cod School of Art.

After the death of Charles Hawthorne, Hensche began to teach on his own in Provincetown.

  As a painter and teacher of consummate skill, Hensche is considered by many in the art world to be an unparalleled colorist - a painter justly deserving the artistic lineage that extends back just two generations to the seminal American impressionist, William Merritt Chase. He has been called an iconoclast, a pioneer, and the late GrandCentralArtGalleriesof New York named him, "L'Enfant Terrible de L‘Academie". A teacher for over 60 years, Hensche instilled in his students a profound appreciation for the beauty of nature’s light and color.  

 Some of his students who have gone on to become nationally successful painters are William Draper, Franz Kline, and Nelson Shanks.

  In 1930 Henry met Ada Rayner, a Londoner who came to the United States in 1929 to escape what she thought was the repressive caste system of an old world.  Ada built her home in Provincetownon, 12 Conwell St.  Hensche often referred to her as his best student, and she’s remembered for her outdoor floral still life paintings.  They married in 1936.



Bob Graham was born in Canton, Texas, Jan. 11, 1947.  He spent 4 years in college studying commercial art before going to Provincetown Ma., in 1970 where he met Henry Hensche.  At that time Hensche was widely known as a great colorist.  The ideas at the Cape School affected Graham for the rest of his life.  Graham taught first in Atlanta Ga.and then in New Orleans La.  In the New Orleans parks in the 80”s he taught “The Figure in Lanscape”, a plein aire course.  Between 1984 and 1990, while working as a French Quarter artist, Graham won Best of Show in several of the nation’s top shows including the American Artist Professional League, the Salmagundi Open, and Knickerbocker Artists.  His painting techniques were published in the 90’s in two hardback anthologies by Madlyn C. Woolwich.



In Provincetown, during the summer of 1970, I walked up to the gate to Henry and Ada’s house, opened it and walked up the path with my portfolio under my arm.  I was going to talk this teacher into taking me on as a student.  He did take me on and was always exceedingly kind to me and his instructions were always on the mark. The last summer I spent with him in Provincetown, in 1982,  he told me to teach.   I managed to see him quite often , since he came to live just south of New Orleans in Houma, La.  He never stopped being my teacher.


Henry stands out as one of the teachers who brought the ideas and sophisticated visual acumen of the original French and American Impressionists through a long period of lassitude concerning naturalistic painting. The other teacher who brought this forward is out of the Paxton school of Boston. Modernism became the rage, and Henry’s expertise in “an old” school of art was largely ignored.  Henry regarded Impressionism and its backbone, color relationship, as a gift to the human race which it never had a proper chance to assimilate. His long life and his constant growth as a colorist validated his belief in the worth of the methods he used. He taught one on one, so his suggestions about how to achieve the look of sunlight in the studies of his students, were priceless.  Books and videos cannot do that.  His students keep the traditions alive.

Bob Graham