Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Minimum Maintenance

"Minimum Maintenance" - oil on linen - 24x24 - © Marc R. Hanson '09

This is a piece about a road that I've painted in nearly all seasons and light, including at night. In the Rochester area it was a spot within about ten minutes of my house that I could escape to, park in safety and paint at almost any time. It is a 'minimum maintenance' road, meaning that the county doesn't do much other than take a look at it once in awhile. That was fine with me.

This started out so different than what it looks like here that I'm amazed at it myself. It started as a blue sky, popcorn cumulus day with green fields. The kind of day that you'd expect to see a French impressionist out painting! As I had a layer of paint down and was deciding what it was that I didn't like about it, I realized that it was too 'pretty' of a day. At that point I started going through my field studies to see what I could come with in the way of a color scheme that was more interesting to me. I found this one to use as reference for the sky. Once I was happy with that idea, I was able to key the rest of the painting to that sky. That's how this one worked. I'm pretty happy with it from the standpoint of color and the textural side of things. This photo just does not allow you to see that... dang photos anyways. There are about four or five layers of paint scumbled, overpainted, one or two scraped off, and dry brushed on to this painting. This is where I feel my painting is going, worked until there is a richness to the surface that has to be seen to be appreciated. It's not a heavy, trowled on, applied in one session sort of texture... it's more subtle than that. If I want the alla prima, at the moment, urgent sort of quality, I'll head outside. But in the studio I really enjoy this kind of building of the surface look of the paintings.

Here's the sky reference piece. From last July, "Friday Evening" - 11x14 - oil on linen - © Marc R. Hanson.

I'm going to ad to this post. Some questions have come up... thank you... about the kind of surface I'm looking for in my paintings, studio paintings that is. I don't know if these closeups will really show what I'm getting at, but it's worth a try!

All of these close up shots are of about 4" - 6" of the actual painting's surface. If you enlarge these, they're probably about twice life size. But I think that you'll see that I'm not as interested in 'pounds' of paint for the sake of weight alone. I'm more interested in an opalescent mixing of scumbled passages, dry brush, semi transparent glazes. I like the interest in surface appearance that working like this gives the finished piece. When I head to museums to visit the masters, this is what intrigues me most about their genius.

I forgot that I had this one ready to add to this discussion the other day.

These are sections of other studio paintings of late.

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Workshop Schedule

I have set my workhop schedule for 2009. This link... 2009 Workshops... will take you to the information for each one.

Here are the locations and dates-

April 17, 18, 19 - 'Pastels in the Studio' - Stillwater, MN

May 22, 23, 24 - 'Landscape from Life' - Taylors Falls, MN

August 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 - '3rd Annual Taylors Falls Landscape' - Taylors Falls, MN

(More details soon on this New York workshop)

August 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 - 'Landscape Painting at Tilly Foster Farm' - Brewster, NY

Hope to see you at one of these!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cotton Candy Winter Day

"Cotton Candy Winter Day" - oil on board -14x18 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Painted about 95% with palette knives. A few strokes of a Langnickle here and there for weeds, tree branches, to soften a knife stroke, and that sort of thing.

Well I was out last week painting a dried up dirt field with no snow, a little bit of ice in the furrows, a 16x24 painting. Started out nice and I had an old chocolate lab from a nearby farm for company the entire time, as long as I'd reach down and scratch his brick of a skull every once in awhile. I was loving working large on site, and on this board that I'm back to now. The problem is that it was so nice to be out on such a calm, sunny, winter day, that I didn't care as much about my choice of what to paint as I just cared about being out "painting".

Consequently, despite putting in a couple of days back in the studio on that one, the idea...concept... just wasn't there. I mean a painting full of dried up dirt??? I just couldn't wrap my "spirit" around that one.

So a couple of days ago I was thinking about how beautiful our winter had been until recently. By the way as of this morning, it's back to white, we had a fair amount of snow. But I was thinking about a few weeks ago when Kami and I were out in the country side on one of the most beautiful days that I think I've ever seen in winter. It reminded me of scenes from the old movie 'Dr. Zhivago' and those scenes of Omar Sharif and Julie Christie riding the sleigh, or hiking on foot in the Russian winter. With that in mind, I spent a couple of days in the studio working out this painting from that experience and thought.

We experienced a winter wonderland for sure that day and I'm sure that it's going to be a source of inspiration for images for us both for a long time to come.

Here's the trailer from the movie, "Dr. Zhivago", 1965.

Monday, February 16, 2009


"Fenceline" - oil on board - 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '09

It's a good thing to leave the painting equipment in the car... just in case. I had no plans to paint outside today, but on the return from an errand this afternoon I was struck by the silver quality of the light. Temps weren't bad, but the wind was up so I opted to paint from the car. Truthfully, I love this time of year. We're almost completely snow-less now, just enough to throw in a little bit of a pattern atop the landscape here and there. The subtle colors of pre-spring are very rich once you sit for a few minutes and adjust to what ever it is that you're looking at. It seems that the color emerges 'only' for those who are patient enough to sit and observe! It's good to be an artist...that's our job.

However, the range of color is limited and so was my palette for this one. I used White, of course... Ult Blue, Perm Red Med, Yellow Ochre light, and Ivory black.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

155th Ave. Afternoon

"155th Ave Afternoon" - oil on board - 8x10 - © Marc R. Hanson '09

Yesterday was nice as, anyone here in the midwest knows. So I painted in the morning with my bud Kami, and then in the afternoon with my bud, Marc...(Me).

The morning was beautiful and both of us had good results. I'm sure that Kami will post hers on her website and blog within the next couple of days. The one that I painted in the morning won't be up until I take a better photo of it.

This one is from my afternoon painting. Just a muddy gravel road with melting snow and ice. The light throughout the day was what could be called 'creamy', due to the warming temps and moisture in the air. "Sublte" was the word for the day. I liked the patterns of shapes that the topography and vegetation formed, and the subtle color of this time of year. Thanks for looking in.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Charleston, SC

"Charleston Waterfront Park, East Bay St" - oil - 8x10 - © Marc R. Hanson '09

It's really cold here again so I'm posting a memory from November of a beautiful warm day in Charleston, SC.
This is the only painting that I did while there for the New Orleans Show at Coleman Fine Art. Well, this one and the one that I painted in the park paint out that was auctioned for to benefit the Charleston Public School Arts programs. This one was on my own inbetween events.