Mosaics in the landscape
This story was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art March 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art March 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Erin Hanson calls her style of painting “open impressionism” and explains that it encompasses wide brush strokes and an alla prima technique. “Open impressionistic painting is blind to the rules of traditional impressionism, taking a more colorist, ‘open’ approach, with the artist attempting to soak in the basic abstract shapes of the landscape on a more primal level,” Hanson says.
Although the California-based painter was interested in art at an early age, she didn’t consider it as a career when it came time for college. She took a few art classes at the University of California, Berkeley, but majored in bio-engineering. Hanson says that although she enjoyed her courses in subjects such as microbiology, the actual work in the field seemed boring and mundane. After graduation she instead chose to start up an import business, which eventually blossomed into a successful, lucrative venture. Meanwhile Hanson also became an avid rock climber, and this hobby ultimately led her back to her childhood passion for painting. “When I climbed, I saw vistas in the deserts, and I just knew that I could paint those landscapes for decades to come,” she says.
At the time she was living on the edge of Las Vegas, NV, and climbing regularly in Red Rock Canyon. Today Hanson lives in the Los Angeles area, paints full time, and heads to the Mojave Desert for climbing expeditions whenever she gets the chance. Rocks continue to serve as a major source of inspiration in her work, often translating into simple, abstracted shapes that form a mosaic of colors on her canvases. “I am lucky enough to go into terrains that lots of people can never go into,” she says. “I want them to be transported to these landscapes and experience the beauty through my paintings.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Studio on the Park, Paso Robles, CA; Pez Gordo Gallery, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; Marshall-LeKAE Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Fredericksburg Art Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX; Cobalt Gallery, Tubac, AZ; Atelier Gallery, Charleston, SC; erinhanson.com.
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