Drawing the Real World

Class with Jamie Bollenbach

Sunday, December 2, 9, 16
10:00 am—4:00pm

A 3-day intensive course in drawing directly from life, for complete beginners and more experienced artists alike.

With your own eyes—no photos, no crutches—learn to draw by looking at and sketching the real world. Jamie Bollenbach will show you the basics of looking and seeing with tips and tricks for people who are new to drawing, or those who would like to master the fundamentals of direct observational drawing. This friendly and inspiring approach to drawing teaches:

  • Retraining your eyes and using drawing to see like an artist
  • Proportion — using simple geometry in art
  • Doodling, imagining, daily casual sketching
  • Measuring and intuition

We will develop and deepen core drawing skills with still life objects as our subject, participate in group reviews, and create original sketches based on direct observation. While the core of instruction will cover a classical understanding of proportion, accurate value, and the many elements which we can control to create a traditional illusion of reality in a drawing, we will also investigate how this “visual grammar” allows us to be deeply expressive, to investigate what is unknown, and to begin to develop our own artistic voice.


Jamie Bollenbach creates complex, enveloping abstract oil paintings sourced in the figure and occupying vast, imaginary landscape spaces that bubble with humanistic vitality. Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Bollenbach began painting professionally in San Francisco and Oakland. He attended Reed College, and achieved an MFA in Studio Arts in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002, where he began intricate, highly spatial abstracts based on the human figure. He founded a studio-gallery in Portland, Oregon, and has taught painting, drawing, and design at the University of Washington School of Art, the Northwest College of Art, Highline Community College and other colleges over the last ten years. He has lectured on his work and approaches to creative practice at Evergreen State College, Microsoft, and University of Washington. Bollenbach's paintings hang in galleries and private collections nationally, and he has exhibited throughout the west coast including the solo show “The Amplitude of Time” at NOMA gallery in San Francisco, the Seattle Art Museum Gallery, and SF MOMA’s artist gallery. He paints at his studio in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

5-minute Live Figure Study, Susan Heston, 2017.


$165 Frye Members
$225 Non-members


Classes have additional fees for art supplies. Download the supply list for this class.


Continuing education credits and clock hours are available to educators through Seattle Pacific University (SPU). Payments for fees are paid directly to SPU online. Students will receive a link to register via email one week before the first day of class. 10 clock hours or 1 credit. $20 flat fee for clock hours. $50 per credit.