Chuck Ceraso’s lineage traces back to the French and American Impressionists through his teacher, Henry Hensche. Hensche was the student and protégé of Charles Hawthorne. Hawthorne, after painting with William Merritt Chase and Claude Monet, started the first art school, in 1900, devoted to the color discoveries of the Impressionists. When Hawthorne died in 1930, he left the school and teaching to Hensche who continued and further developed the teaching until his death in 1992.
One of several people around the country who continues to teach this approach to color seeing, Ceraso teaches to sold out classes at the Denver Art Museum and at his studio in Lafayette, Colorado. He has recently completed the booklet, The Art of Color Seeing, which is his description of the process Hensche introduced him to as well as his own insights into painting.
Ceraso moved to Colorado in 1988, devoting himself to the study of the fleeting effects of light in the landscapes of the Rocky Mountains.
Ceraso was born in Manchester, Connecticut. He studied art at the University of Notre Dame, and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art as well as with Hensche at the Cape School of Art. Ceraso spent several years painting as a quick-sketch portrait artist in various resorts around the country and the French Quarter in New Orleans. His work is in private and public collections in both this country and abroad. Ceraso is listed in Who's Who in the West and The Dictionary of International Biography.
“After 30 years of painting, I’m more awed and inspired than ever at the challenge of painting. I’ve learned that to really see I have to let go of all of my ideas about what I’m looking at. A full presence of awareness is required for this seeing without thought, without ideas. This presence then seems to facilitate a more spontaneous process of painting, one unencumbered by a plan for a specific outcome. The painting has a life of its own and goes where the process itself takes it. In this, painting has become more an experience of revelation than as something I make happen.
“I’ve noticed that there are two basic experiences I have when looking at paintings. Some, to me, convey the sense of a picture of the subject and others convey to me a sense of the subject itself. The first seems a step removed from reality, the second a step deeper into reality. I think of the work of Sargent, Monet and Van Gogh as examples of the latter. This is my intent and goal as a painter. I’m less interested in making pictures and more interested in creating living images that are a step deeper into the reality of the subject. I strive for paintings that convey an energy of aliveness that is a clear reflection of my experience in seeing and that carry a presence that can be felt as well as seen.”