See nature through a rainbow Art. Erin Hanson’s very attuned thought of the colors of the earth – and her special talent for giving her vision for large-format oil paintings performed in a powerful style that she defines as open impressionism – has made her an extraordinary success since the start of the sale of his paintings a dozen years ago. Today he works in a 7,000 square foot warehouse in the San Diego Design District. The space includes his large studio and the Erin Hanson Gallery, and office and storage space. She and her staff oversee limited edition prints, illustrated books, and tons of walking shows here.
Despite this vortex of activity, Hanson himself is relaxed but optimistic and welcomes anyone interested in their art or the nature that inspires them. After nearly four decades of study, work, and activities that would be enough for most people to fill a life, she has found her true calling.
The power of self-motivation
When she began school, she was ordered what she needed to be when she got up. An artist, a scientist, and a dancer. I was a very determined, precocious kid and a hard worker. The alternative school she attended made it easy and challenging for her to pursue her goals. Everything was self-taught, self-taught. It was cool because I graduated with a total ability to do research and teach myself anything I needed. The school’s art teacher, Cesar Jimenez, had her first love for art, which received additional support at home. When I was 8 years old, my father told me that I would make 3D drawing easy a day if I wanted to be an artist. So I filled album after album with self-portraits and drawings of my brothers, animals, houses, and trees.
The school encouraged students to find part-time jobs in their areas of interest by the age of 12. There was a wall-mounted studio across from the school where they painted huge 40 x 60-foot acrylic canvases for casinos, restaurants, and cruise60-foot. He showed his portfolio to the studio’s chief artist, who brought and three years after school Weekend work. I’ve learned to mix any color with primary colors. And I was especially good at art trees. But everyone complained to me about how hard it was to be an artist.
Find his way
Instead of getting an arts degree, Hanson studied medicine at the University of California at Berkeley, then switched to bioengineering. At Berkeley, she pursued her art by checking the library books to learn Japanese brush painting and comic-style graphics.
Upon graduation, Hanson returned to Los Angeles with no clear career goal and supported himself with various jobs, from selling computer software to buying abandoned storage drives to reselling the items found in them. This latest work has brought her to Las Vegas, a prime location for storage units with its more roving population.
Ironically, it was the city of neon lights and noisy casinos that brought me back to painting. The beautiful Mojave Desert, which he crossed to Las Vegas, made me want to pick up a paintbrush again. On her first weekend in town, she decided to go out and camp, bring art supplies, and head to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Just 15 miles west of the Strip, this unexpected natural wonder features nearly 200,000 acres of towering red sandstone peaks and cliffs, a 21km scenic drive, seasonal waterfalls, and breathtaking hiking trails. I woke up at dawn the next morning and had never seen anything like these bright, beautiful colors when the sun rises there for the first time. I thought, wow, can I paint this. And I got out all of my cadmium reds, oranges, and yellows and started.
Back to the basics
That morning he also met the neighbors at the campsite, three young people who had recently moved there to climb. They had extra equipment, they invited them to join them, and that afternoon Hanson was climbing the steep walls he had painted. They ended up sharing an apartment near the canyon, and we all became climbing buddies for two years. Meanwhile, Hanson applied a sense of discipline to her painting endeavors that date back to her father’s advice about drawing when she was eight years old. One picture a week was my mantra.
I didn’t tell anyone about it, and I didn’t paint to make a living. But a year later I had about 50 paintings and decided to sell them. He heard about an arts festival in Boulder City, NV, so he rented a 10 by 10-foot tent and some display walls, packed her 110-foot paintings, and she came out. I sold six, still amazed at this first reception. More weekend events and enthusiastic sales followed. And since then, I’ve been organizing art festivals until today. So it’s a great experience to talk to people personally about my art.
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Expansion of palette and style
Countless paintings, journeys, and climbing adventures have resulted in Hanson’s distinctive style. When you climb a rock, you focus on a crack between two floors. So when I was painting a place where I had climbed, I sketched the cracks. It is these clear lines and shadows that form the powerful composition of a desert landscape.
Over the years, this stylistic approach has been more clearly defined and refined. After returning to California in 2008, her palette expanded to include cooler, greener hues and warm tones. At first, I was amazed because I didn’t know how to paint hills and green trees. So I outlined the trees and hills in black to make them stronger.
Electricity in preparation
Today, regardless of the subject, Hanson plans every picture in my head before I pick up a paintbrush. Then I create a composition in a sketchbook, which I transfer to my primed canvas with brushes. No color choice happens randomly: Mix my whole palette. I’ll use every color. Then, one strong color at a time, he deliberately applies each brushstroke and never goes over it again. That increases the power of the painting. I avoid muddy colors. The results seem to pulsate with energy. On some of his canvases, the stormy desert sky is filled with swirling movements; in other pieces, bolder brushstrokes capture the ancient power of the rock formations.