The logic of drawing and painting – 2 day workshop with artist Henry Tian

This is an opportunity to study with figurative artist Henry Tian for two 6-hour days. The idea behind this workshop is simple. It seems that in most other forms of art or any field of specialty, such as music, dance, literature, sport, etc., there is a lot of “studying” and “training” involved before one can really participate in it in a meaningful way. Think about the simple task of writing a sentence. You have to know the grammar, the vocabulary, the shape of each alphabet, and hoping your handwriting is neat enough to get the intended meaning across to the reader. That is a lot of knowledge and skill required for a simple sentence. The same goes for most things.

One of the most strange things I keep hearing is, “I have no talent for drawing”, but I have never heard anyone say, “I have no talent for driving a car”. If they have never had the opportunity to learn the necessary knowledge and skills involved in an activity, how can they expect to master it? It baffles me. Do they expect to know how to play chess without first learning the rules?

I guess drawing and painting is a different story. There is practically no barrier to entry. Anyone can enjoy it, which is great. But that also means it is increasingly difficult for amateurs who want to learn to paint like Rembrandt, Bouguereau, and Sargent. For sure, you could still go to one of those classical ateliers that still exist these days, but for an amateur who just wants to take up a serious hobby, that is not feasible. So I offer my workshop to you.

I have taught about 30 students so far, and the overall sentiment was that they all would like to draw and paint more naturally, like the old masters, but they have not found the right information or instruction that will help them get there, until they studied with me. The core skills and knowledge I will be teaching you in the workshop are:

– How to observe spatial relationships, light and shadow, color temperature shifts, soft and hard edges

– How to draw accurately without any external aid such as projectors, tracing paper, etc, using knowledge of angles, alignment, proportions, and abstractions

– How to correctly judge value relationships and edge relationships for rendering believable 3-dimensional form

– How to effectively judge colour temperature relationships for rendering believable atmosphere and lighting situations

– How to effectively compose the picture to deliver a powerful visual impact

How class works: a combination of short lectures, demos, student practice, and individual critique; we will work in charcoals and oil paint. All subjects will be discussed (portraits, figures, landscapes, still lifes, etc.). No previous experience required.

Date and Time:

Option 1: Saturday November 16 and Sunday November 17, 9am to 4pm (with lunch break 12-1)

Option 2: Sunday November 10 and Sunday November 24, 9am to 4pm (with lunch break 12-1)

(When you register, let me know which option works better for you, thanks)

Location: Clayton Park Halifax (my private studio)

Cost: $180 (all materials included; a 50% deposit is required at the time of registration)

Class size is limited to 4 students.

Please email me at to register. Thank you!

Henry Tian, figurative artist based in Halifax, NS.


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Represented by: Art 1274 Hollis Gallery

1274 Hollis St, Halifax NS B3J 1T6