Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seasons' Greetings!

The weather here is still balmy, perfectly nice for being outside painting.  Instead, I've been in my studio, painting some of the rare 'inclement' weather that brushes past us once in a while.  And thoroughly enjoying doing that.  

I want to extend my best wishes to all of you for a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of love, health, happiness and Art!  

Merry Christmas!


Two recent pastels painted in the studio of the surrounding area near me...

 'North Of Yellowstone Rd' 
Pastel - 10x16 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

'Horse Ranch' 
Pastel - 9x12 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Painting Around My New Home...

I'll be honest, it took me awhile to quit wiping off paintings, and to feel comfortable with my new surroundings here in CO.  I try not to accept anything less than what I feel very good about in my painting.  I've thought a lot about it, there were many factors to acknowledge, that had me scratching my head at my painting for a while.  They're all interesting to me.  This post is my idea about what I've been going through since moving here.

There is one thing about painting, above all others, that keeps my interest alive and energized.  Including all of the good and bad, that comes with being an artist.  It can be, in part, the following 'things'.  But they're not the major underlying motivation for me.  It is not the particular subject that I'm painting, it's not the physical act of applying paint or pastel, it is not only color, it is not only design, it is definitely not money or the benefits that other 'jobs' hold.

The one thing that keeps me painting is the intimate insight that you develop when you work long enough with your subject.  It's such an immensely satisfying, internal reward, and it is why I paint, above and beyond any other reason.  When you have that, everything that you do in a painting, is guided by it.  That is the quality that I hope to bring to my art.  

In painting the landscape, in my opinion, you Must become intimately familiar with the mood of the land, the smells, sounds, climate affects, the weather patterns, the way the sky above changes the look of the dirt, trees, rocks, and water.  You must sense what the land is about every single time you head out to paint. 

That doesn't mean that you can't be out there painting if you're not in tune with what I'm discussing here.  Yes, you can make images all day long, and I do this a lot.  But to give those images more than just a rendered surface, you need more than a good hand and a good brush.  

Everything that I put into a landscape painting, that I am proud of, has an underlying force that comes from how well I understand the raw essence of what it is I'm painting.  It's the kind of intimate knowledge that gives the weapons, clothing, art and accoutrements of the First People, the native Americans, such an amazing life force and connection to a wilder land than exists today.  They lived it, breathed it, ate and died on it.  That's the kind of understanding that I'm talking about.  It is Spiritual. 

I used to paint birds in a natural history style.  In that case the accuracy of the biology of the animal or bird, and their environment, was critical to the viewers of those paintings, and to me in painting them.  I'm not talking about that in this case, I'm talking about a much deeper and yet bigger picture than that.  

I lived in Minnesota for 33 years, fished, hunted, xc skied, hiked, and painted it on a near daily basis.  I became very familiar with what the land there was telling me.  Not to be mystical, although this is a bit of a mystical sensibility, I felt the land, much as a farmer does, because I had so much experience being out in and on it.  

As a painter, that sensibility came into my work, via my own internal editing, desires and artistic choices.  I painted many, many 'rendered' images, not pieces of art, along the way.  Learning has a much higher volume of failures than successes in any field.  I look at those failures as teaching tools.  "Why didn't I catch the mood of that day?"... "Why did I get caught up in the type of tree instead of what those trees mean to the shape of the land that they're growing on?"... "Why is this painting so boring to me?  It's well rendered, it looks like the scene.  What is missing in it that doesn't allow the spirit of the place, the sense of place, to come through?  What was I saying as an artist about the landscape that is unique to my own vision?"  These are the questions that come to my mind when I leave a painting location and am not thrilled about what I just painted.  It's not usually that I didn't get the color, that I didn't draw it well enough, that I didn't choose a good design.  I usually can accomplish those things.

What is missing when I don't enjoy my efforts, is that I return with a mere rendering, not an understanding of the life of the landscape that I just painted.  That happens for two reasons... 1- I don't know the place...or... 2- I didn't dig deep enough into why I want to be there, at that time, painting that place.  The latter can't be understood until the former is in place.  

That brings me back to the point of this post, I hope.  When I moved to Colorado I was excited to jump into painting immediately, faster than I was ready to.  Not only did I have some emotional things to overcome, normal in a relocation move when you've been in once place for so long, the logistical things that had to be done... like driver's license, unpacking, creating a workplace in a new place, finding out how to get around town, feeling like you're in a new country, and so on... I also needed some time to wander around the country side to understand a few things about this new land I was now planted in and on.  I did a lot of that, wandered, photographed, attempted to paint it, and wondered if I would ever learn this place as well as I knew where I lived in Minnesota, well enough to paint it as I wanted to?  

I have been blessed since moving here with great things happening in my career... an article in the November issue of Southwest Art Magazine, and the cover of the same issue... I've been invited to show as a featured artist at Gallery 1261 in Denver, and have also been invited to show as a guest at Saks Gallery in Denver, and at Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder.  I'm grateful for these and other opportunities that have arisen since my move.  Not to mention all of the artist friends that have been so gracious and welcoming to me here.  

If you're an artist, you know that despite every other good thing that happens in your life, if your painting isn't going right, if you're not in touch with that Artist within you, it can be overwhelmingly concerning. 

Not to draw this out too much longer, but I am happy to say that I am 'finally' beginning to be more in touch with where I am.  When I first started painting around Longmont and Boulder, I would stand and stare, mouth agape, at the mountains.  They're so powerful, so beautiful, that they put me in a painterly trance.  I've painted a few of them, wiped out a bunch, and am now settling down into seeing things closer to my feet where the understanding begins.  I found a couple of dirt roads that are rich with texture, color, shape and design possibilities.  Any success I'm gaining, has been because I've limited myself to gaining an intimate understanding of those two areas first, before I try to tackle chunks of the larger landscape, just yet.  It's working, I feel good about what I'm painting now.  

In fact, I've been hauling out large canvases, up to 24x30, and feeling pretty comfortable that I'm beginning to gain a sense of 'my' place in this landscape.  As time goes along, as more paint is pushed, more in depth observation and questioning is pushed through my art brain, I am now confident that I will find out how this land breathes in time.  Now the fun begins... 

These are all field paintings that were painted in October and November.  The first one, "Longmont Resident" was the first painting that I painted here as a new resident of Colorado, back in late September.  

Thanks for reading... 

Longmont Resident - oil - 9x12

October Flow - oil - 10x8

Indian Summer Day - oil - 11x14

Entanglement - oil - 11x14

November Willow Gold - oil - 9x12

61st Street - oil - 6x6

Fast Lane - oil - 6x10

Ringbills - oil - 14x18

Pasture Cows - oil - 6x12

Snaking Along - oil - 9x12

Softly Opening Day - oil - 18x24

Spread - oil 0 12x16

Where oh where did my blog go???

Well, I know... it's been accosted by facebook!  It's interesting to me how through recent time there have been several major communicating/social networking arenas that have absorbed my time, yet have been arteries through which I have connected with other artists, collectors, galleries, and a multitude of art resources.

As one has become more populated and easy to use, the previous ones have fallen by the wayside.  In my own life, since I first had a functioning computer, one that would actually connect to the internet, there have been three of these outlets for being in contact with other artists.

First there was Wet Canvas, an online artists' community, where I met many, many artists who have become lifelong friends.  I can't tell you how many hours I spent online on Wet Canvas talking with artists from all over the world about life, art and everything involving both, in between.  I think I started in about 1998 or so, continued as a contributer until about 2005 or there about.

At that time, Blogging increased in popularity, and ease of use, as a method to have commune with others about your art or art in general.  I blogged here pretty heavily for most of the last 6 years, and it proved to be a wonderful platform for presenting not only my own art, but for discussions about topics in the art world, that many of us are interested in.

Then came Facebook!  Since joining Facebook, my blogging has suffered in an increasing lapse between posts.  FB is simply so easy to use, and the artist community there is HUGE, that I think it became more attractive as an outlet for those of us who work alone in a studio, and enjoy the 'office chit chat' that FB seems to provide.  You can build a HUGE audience for your work on FB, thousands... until they cut you off!  I am thankful for the followers of my blog, and apologetic for neglecting it, until now.  There are many, many reasons for this, that those who study social phenomenon are going to be much better at laying out, so I'm not going any deeper into it than that.

However, I have decided that the blog is a better place to present my work, and to discuss the things that are important to me as an artist.  So, with that, I am planning to renew my efforts to get this thing back up and active.

As I last posted, I moved to Colorado in September.  I did make it, the truck made it, and the cats had a great trip.  Sarge found a spot underneath the bench seat, where the kitty litter pail was, Frida found a spot on the bench seat, glued to my thigh for the entire ride out here.

We only had one narrow brush with getting that truck and trailer into a tight spot, and nearly running out of gas, all at the same time.  I was into CO about 75 miles, and had been timing my gas stops at about 1/4 tank left.  As soon as I was there, I took the next opportunity to fill up.  That went really well, until I hit eastern CO.  For some reason, the gas stations seem to evaporate.  I hit the 1/4 tank mark, started looking... and looking... and looking.  At close to the 'low fuel' warning light and buzzer, I saw a gas station off of the interstate, with diesel.   Happy now, I pulled off and made the turn onto a narrow 2 lane road to enter the gas station.  To my grief, it was closed, and the entrance was barb wired!  I was now heading east on a skinny frontage road... and the sign said... NO OUTLET!  Words did not escape me... Looking quickly for somewhere to turn around the 22' truck plus the 12' of trailer, I didn't see any where to do that, but I did see the dead end a short distance ahead.

The road was built up on a berm, so I couldn't go into the ditch to turn around.  At this point, the 'low fuel' warning light and buzzer goes off... I'm in the red zone and beginning to worry.  I attempted to do a 'back up, three point turn' with all of that length, but realized I was lucky not to get stuck trying that.

Without any other ideas, I drove to the end of the road a few hundred yards ahead... thinking maybe there would be a way to solve the problem.  At the end of the road, there was one dirt road that led up to a trailer house and a bunch of garbage (kind of a crack house looking place), about 75 yards ahead, and into a pasture.  I was looking at that, then realized that there were no fences along the road!!!???

Light bulb....

I tightened up the seat belt, told the kitties to hang on tight, and put that diesel to work.  Drove it right up that dirt road about 40 yds, just enough to clear the trailer, hung a tight left into the pasture (which I took a serious look at, it looked solid and destructive object free), and did a Penske U-eee... through the pasture and around back onto the 2 lane road, heading west again.  I'm sighing a big sigh of relief now, because if I run out of fuel, at least after a return walk with a fuel can, the Penske would be pointed towards my destination, a very good thing.  To cut this short, the very next exit, less than 2 miles ahead, had diesel and wide roads.  I made it, and with great relief drove on into Longmont, CO without having to stop again.

Mt Meeker and Long's Peak from Golden Ponds in Longmont

I love it here... this is the place that I though it was going to be, when I made the choice to relocate.  In the 3 months that I've been here now, I have become extremely comfortable in my new apartment, in my new state, with my new friends and community.  In a future post, I will talk about how I've tried to adjust as an artist here, that has taken some time.  But as adjusting to a new place to live goes, that has been a breeze.

Every day brings about new beauty in the landscape.  It never ceases to amaze and challenge me as an artist.  Be back soon...

Monday, August 20, 2012

The relocation adventure begins...

The countdown to my newest adventure, a move to Colorado, has begun today.  I'm going to try to keep track of my progress on the blog... 11 days and counting... I leave lovely Minnesota on either the 30th or the 31st of August, depending on my progress in getting everything done that needs to be done.  Services have been notified, I still need to change mailing addresses with a bazillion different entities... first I have to try to remember them all to do that... working on it.  

With an exception or two, most of my art business that has to be done beforehand, has been completed. And a new lease and rent has been signed and paid on a nice apartment in Longmont, CO.  I'm really happy about where I'll be living, the space is tight for a pack rat of an artist, but nice and cozy for now.  Once I have feet on the ground there I can spend some time in the next year looking around and possibly finding something that is more than I'm starting out in.  

Today I'm packing up art supplies, cook books, tools and other miscellaneous 'stuff', room by room.  The studio is first, there's a lot to deal with in here, but it's going well.  It's really hard to imagine the entire bulk of your life possessions fitting into a 16' truck... But it has too, I want it to.  Of course the Hughes Easel is coming along... after nearly selling it a few months back, I realized that it's seasoned now, and just like my cats, must be with me.  

There will undoubtedly be a large truck load or two going to Family Pathways and ReStore in St Croix Falls, as donated goods.  I've already outfitted several rooms up there with furniture, clothing, tools, shop tools, sound equipment and on and on.  Chairs, kitchen table and chairs, dishes, and so many other household goods, that I wonder why there's anything left here now.  And there in lies the problem... There is still too much stuff!!!  

Talk about feeling liberated, shedding your belongings may be even better than shedding body weight! Doing the work it takes to shed the junk also sheds the fat cells... I hope.  

I have to get back to it, but wanted to share my chariot for the adventure... a 16' Penske truck and a dolly to tow my truck with.  Why Penske?  After reading reviews, in which you basically become totally confused by the differing opinions, I paid attention to a couple of independent review sights, and Penske came out right up there with Budget as being the two most highly thought of for services and cost.  The cost to do this yourself vs using a container, or having moving company do it for you, is at least a 1/4th less than those options.  

I like the yellow trucks, so Penske it is.  I'll have 5 days to load and drive it to Colorado before the truck has to be turned in to a drop off site in Boulder, CO.  Should be no biggie...??? 

For now, back to packing.  And throwing, more throwing than packing in fact!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Abstract of the Block In

Whenever I write about painting ideas or methods, just to let you know, I'm only speaking about my own ideas or methods, and how I proceed with them.  There are many other methods and at anytime I may be using one other than what I'm discussing in any particular post. 

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend, who had taken a look at a lot of my paintings, and noticed that I frequently employ the use of a 'lead in' to the picture in the form of a road, shoreline, fence line, or some other linear idea to add a diagonal entrance into the painting.  This is true, they are great compositional tools for doing just that.  She also noticed that I often place that entrance to the right side of the composition.  I looked at some of those and realized she was accurate.  It was a surprise to me, so I began to think about it.  

I am right eye dominant.  You can do a simple test to see which eye is your dominant eye.  Hold both hands out if front of you gripped together as if holding a pistol grip, straight armed, and point your index fingers out in front.  Aim at an object in the near distance in front of you, put the two fingers on the object.  Now close each eye, one at a time.  The object will stay lined up with your fingers when your dominant eye is open, it will move when your dominant eye is closed.  

Back to my right side roads... I don't know this for sure, there are others who have probably studied such things, but I think that because I am right handed and right eye dominant, I tend to favor that side of the composition when it comes to drawing or painting a diagonal, or near vertical, entrance into the composition.  This is all subconscious, I don't purposefully, nearly always, place these entrances on the right side.  But, it would be more awkward for me to reach my right hand across to the left to draw in the same entrance on the left side of the canvas, unless I think about it (which I can guarantee you that I will be doing now) and make that conscious choice.  Also, my mechanical paint applier, my arm and hand, are on my right side... 

This seems to be a mechanical issue because I don't have a problem with placing other dominant compositional items on the left side, it's just this placing the entrance in on the right side that is interesting to me.  

A side note that may be related... When I was younger and skied, I taught skiing and did some casual racing and was coached.  I was always told that my turns, when on my right side downhill ski, were beautiful, very well done.  But when turning onto my left side downhill ski, I was told that I was "blocked" on that side, I don't perform a right hand turn as well.  Could that also be because of a dominance favoring my right?  Don't know.

Enough on that for now, but the way our brains work without our being aware of what they are up to sometimes is fascinating.  And thank goodness for artist friends, our 'third eye' contingency, for being honest in relating what they see in our work.  It's always helpful.  

Getting back to the topic "The Abstract of the Block-In"... To me this is the second most important stage of a painting, be it in the studio or in the field.  The first most important step is forming a Concept, an idea about what you're going to paint.  Without that, you have nowhere to go, not even enough information to get to the Block-In.  Concept is a blog post all by itself.

I use the block-in as the abstract break up of the blank space, the visual reminder of my conceptual idea about where I intend this painting to go.  It can be very complicated, or very simple, very specific or very loosely defined.  Either way, it sets the stage for the next steps in paint application to come.  
This is the way that I am able to see the 'big picture' of my idea for the painting.  If these big idea shapes aren't working, not proportioned in a pleasing way, not balancing each other, not providing a color scheme (loosely stated) that I am happy with, I will never improve the painting past this point.  

This is a critical stage. 

I'm asked often about using a toned painting surface.  As you can see in the photos of block-ins here, these are all painted on an untoned surface, linen on board to be exact.  That's one way.  I also sometimes tone the surface ahead of time and paint more directly and opaquely with out this same kind of a start.  Having many methods in your technique bag is never a bad thing.  

The other thing about beginning to place your Conceptual idea on the canvas in this way, is that it's a fluid situation, it can still be changed, moulded, wiped or continued at anytime.  The paint is thin, like a water color wash, nothing is locked into place yet.  This is the time to make the decisions...

If you normally get out the small brush or charcoal and begin to draw the little pieces of the composition instead of going for the large masses, try this way out, it might fit in some cases.

Thank you... Marc

These area few examples of slightly more drawn out block-ins.  In the one directly below, I began to use the middle to dark values that made up the road, weeds, treeline and buildings, to paint the negative shapes of the snow on the ground.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Demos from my last Taylors Falls Workshop

I've just finished a great workshop, my last at my Minnesota studio, the 6th Annual.  Below are the full demos that I did for the class and a group shot of some wonderful people who came to study painting with me from 7 different states.  It was a great week, I'll miss holding classes at this location.  

"Tree-O" - pastel - 9x12 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

I neglected to add this piece which was done as the last demo on Friday afternoon for about 7 of my students who wanted to see me do a pastel.  I hadn't had time, until we were finally done with the critique early.  Everyone was spent, including me, but we found some shade, they got some chairs, and I painted the trees up the hill behind me in the yard.  I enjoyed using the pastels after a long week of oil painting.

'Crex Sun' - oil - 16x20 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

'A Brief Respite' - oil - 14x18 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

'Croix Tones' - oil - 11x14 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

The last class at my Minnesota studio in Taylors Falls.  Artists from 7 states, some who've been with me a number of times, some who I've just had the pleasure of meeting and painting with.  One and all, a wonderful bunch of people and artists.  Thank you all for the time you gave to learn and enjoy this love we share.  

August 2012

It's been so long since my last post that the entire system for posting on the blog has changed!  I've had a busy spring and summer, and the fall isn't looking any different.  I'm just coming off of teaching my 6th Annual Landscape Painting five day workshop up here in Taylors Falls, my last one at this location because I will be relocating to Colorado in September!  

My resolution is to revive my blog as a place for conversation about my happenings and about Art and all things related.  For now a couple of items to get things rolling again...

In July I took part in the Peninsula Art School's "Door County Plein Air Festival" in Fish Creek, WI.  It was a week of amazing weather, artist camaraderie, and painting.  This years' line up of artists and the work that they produced was the best ever without a doubt.  The staff at the Festival did an amazing job  of keeping everything running smooth and creating the environment for the artists that led to great painting which resulted in many sales on the weekend.  Once again, a big thank you to the Peninsula Art School's staff and volunteers.

I took a little different approach to my own painting at the Festival this year, my 4th year, and painted larger and fewer paintings.  I stretched up linen for them all, smallest size for the exhibition was 12"x16", and I used Floater Frames on them all.  I was very happy with my choices, I prefer to paint on stretched linen.  I think it gives my work a more sensitive and softer feel than painting on a harder board does.  Of course there are times and situations for both, but for now, I'm really enjoying painting this way.  

I was honored to have been awarded the 'Best of Show' for this painting 'Monday Morning', given to me by Steven Doherty, former editor of American Artist Magazine since 1979, now editor of Plein Air Magazine.  It was such a treat to have had Steve select my painting, I've collected American Artist Magazine for a long time and still have all of the issues beginning with January 1979! 

To top that, the Featured Artists at the Festival selected the same painting for the 'Artists' Choice Award'!!!  That one is very special, to be honored by your peers is the highest honor an artist and painting can be given.  It was a wonderful feeling to be in that place.

"Monday Morning" - oil - 16x20 - ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

"Rolled" - oil on linen - 16x20 - ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

'Ephraim to the South' - oil on linen - 12x16 - ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

"Sister Bay Mood" - oil on linen - 12x16 - ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

"Wall Flowers" - oil on linen - 12x16 - ©2012 Marc R. Hanson

I will be back in the Midwest in mid September to teach at the Madeline Island School of Art, a workshop on the beautiful northern Wisconsin Island that sits just off the shore near the Apostle Island National Seashore in Lake Superior.  There is still space available in this workshop... if you're looking for a beautiful location to come and paint some field studies that you then take into their art studios to enlarge, and see my process demonstrated, this would be the place and time for you to join us.

See you next from Colorado!!!  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March Madness!

It's March and I'm restless as a bear in it's den about now. I've been in my den, my studio, for way too long, attending to details and deadlines, but this past week I decided that it was time for me to leave the Madness of the studio behind and head outside for some fresh paintable air. I'm having a good time in the studio, albeit a restless one, painting a lot of paintings from the Cape Cod region right now for an exhibit that I will be a part of with my friend and compatriot, Frank Gardner of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Frank's work can be found on his blog and website by looking him up on the menu of Artists on the right of this blog page. We will be showing at Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA ( There is a link to the gallery on the right side of this blog page ), the opening will be on June 30, 2011. More to come about that in future posts. It should be a fun show, I for one am painting a bunch of nocturnes using that area as the subject. And again, I'll make a blog post once I have the bulk of the work painted.

Back to my resltess self... We had a good amount of snow late in February and it's still nicely blanketing the landscape, though quickly disappearing now. I decided that since I hadn't been out painting it much, not at all, I should do that while it's here. I was in Colorado last month and painted a couple of paintings... they're following these first paragraphs... but that's been it for my plein air work since about October! That's not good, I thrive on getting out and painting from life... I need that as much as I need anything in my art world.

With that in mind, this past Thursday I headed out to dust off the plein air gear and see what might happen if I put the brush to the linen. I painted 3 on Thursday and 2 on Friday, they follow the Colorado paintings below. I'm painting these to lube up the painting elbow, they're smaller sized pieces, all 6"x8" on oil primed linen boards. All I can say is Man did that feel GOOD! It felt so good that I'm going to keep this up for the next few weeks, until I have to depart for Scottsdale, AZ and the Scottsdale Artists' School to teach a workshop the first week of April. I'm making a side stop on the way down in Sedona, AZ to paint with some friends and to visit my gallery there, Wind Rush Gallery, and drop off some new paintings for them. From there I'll head on to Scottsdale to teach for a week, after which I'm heading to Red Rocks, Nevada (Las Vegas) for Plein Air Magazines 'Plein Air Convention' in mid April. That should make for some interesting blogging... I have no real idea what to expect other than something like 700+ other painters will be there and there will be demos, classes, etc.. I'll fill you in on that one later too.

That's what's happening here. Let me know what you think or any comments that you might have, they are always appreciated... Thank you.

'The First Time' oil 8x10 NFS

I had a chance to visit and meet some wonderful new friends in Colorado last month, it's a long list of great people who are also artists. As this title suggests... this was the first time that I painted the area, the second time is below.

Ani Espriella and Me

 Me, Lamya Deeb and Jake Gaedtke

I want to thank a few of them, Ani Esperiella and Jake Gaedtke in particular. Ani, who is a fine painter, a wizard with the camera and also has an amazing background as a professional singer, was my host and did an amazing job of showing me more of the area around Boulder than I could ever have possibly found on my own. It was her photographs that I have been seeing on Facebook that caused me to want to go out there and spend some time looking and painting.  I was not disappointed, Ani is an enthusiastic lover of that area and she took countless hours from her own busy family life and schedule to share her beloved Colorado with me. She arranged for my being able to sit in on their Friday Figure drawing session at Gaynor Cooke Nelson's studio, for which I am grateful to Gaynor for. Then she threw a dinner party for a bunch of painters in the area and me, and she took beautiful photos of the entire week.  I can never repay her kindness to me during my stay.

Jake Gaedtke, a wonderful painter and gifted teacher, was generous enough to line me up with a very nice apartment for the week on the property where he lives.  Jake can cook, big time, so we had a good couple of meals and time to talk 'art' quite a bit, but we needed more.  I can't thank Jake enough for opening up his home to me and for allowing me to come and go as the schedules dictated.  I can't wait to get back and visit both of these very special people and all of the others too.

'The Second Time' oil 8x10 NFS

Lamya Deeb, a wonderful pastel and oil painter, Ani Espriella, Jake Gaedtke and I painted on both of the days that I painted these pieces.  I loved painting there, the sun warmed us up so nicely so that even with snow on the ground it was nearly T-shirt comfortable.  Love, love painting in this area.  I can't wait to get back and do it again.


Since I'm doing all of these little studies, I'm offering them for sale too. Not too much interest in the galleries I'm in for small winter paintings, so I'm offering them out of my own studio at what I think is a pretty fair price. They will come to you, if you are a collector and purchase one, unframed, packed well, insured and varnished. It may be a month or so before I get them shipped out to you if you purchase one, depending on the drying time of the paint. They are being sold with a PayPal 'BUY NOW' button that is linked "BELOW" each painting. Click that button and PayPal will guide you through the rest. Once you do that, I'll receive an email with your information on it and will get the paintings off to you ASAP after they're dry enough to wrap and ship.

How many of these and how often I paint them is not known... This is not going to be a project like my 2009 April Marathon or my 2010 September Nocturne Marathon. I have a very busy schedule right now and am not able to commit to the kind of endeavor that both of those projects required. I am hoping to paint 2 or 3 a day, hopefully daily, but won't be posting them each day. I'll post when I have a day or two's worth of sketches done.  

They are all FOR SALE FOR $295.00, unframed.  That includes shipping and insurance.  MN residents, the appropriate sales tax will be added to this price.

Please enjoy them all.  Thank you for looking and if you would like to own one, thank you for that as well.  

All but one of these studies were painted in Wisconsin between Dresser and Osceola along a little out of the way marshy wetland that the Wisconsin DNR uses to raise trout fingerlings for later release into the many trout streams that are in the region.  It's running water so at least part of it is almost always open in the winter.  I've painted the area winter, spring, summer and fall, it's always a joy to behold.

SOLD 3/1/12 #1  'March Snow' - oil 6x8  ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
The fresh, heavy March snow was covering most everything when I arrived to paint.  By the time I left, and the next day, most of the snow had melted off of the logs and grass hummocks.  The dark water was marvelous agains the stark white of the snow on this over cast day. 

SOLD 3/1/12 #2  'Snagged' - oil 6x8  ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Seems like the kind of place where a fishing line would definitely get snagged, hence my title.  

SOLD 3/1/12 #3  'Evening Sliver' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
This was one that I have been wanting to paint because of the subtle color temperature shift on the flat snow plane.  I used two colors plus white to paint the snow.  When I sensed a slightly warmer temperature, I used more alizarin crimson, when I sensed the temperature as slightly cooler I used more viridian.  This was really subtle, the snow was mostly a flat color until I looked very hard at it and saw the differences.

3/2/12 #1  'Rat Huts' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Friday morning found me out on the ice of Little Lake, north of Taylors Falls.  The high bright overcast was so strong, so bright that I cold barely stand it out there without sunglasses on.  I went ahead and painted this scene, simple but an exercise in my learning about the color of the sky against the snow value and how much warm or cool color is in each one.  When I head out to do these kind of studies, they're learning tools for me.  I'm investigating these sort of issues, trying to understand more about the very subtle differences.  The big differences are easy to see, easier to paint... it's these times when everything in the landscape is so closely related that are the most challenging to paint in my opinion.  I don't just want "a gray" for the sky or "a white" for the snow... I want 'THE WHITE' and 'THE GRAY' that is out there, in my paintings.  

SOLD 3/2/12 #2  'Swan Slough' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
For the last painting on Friday I went back to the little slough in Wisconsin to paint.  The snow was nearly gone, other than the ice shelf on the slower water, but the light was amazingly flat yet full of color.  That was enough to paint in my mind.  As I was painting the geese were there haggling over territory, and there was a pair of trumpeter swans who would circle every so often, trumpeting in that very low, melodic sound that sends me right back to primordial times.  What a treat it is to see these magnificent creatures out there while painting.  What a life it is. 

3/5 and 3/6, 2012

I wrote this on Facebook yesterday after an amazingly nice day out in the field...

Beautiful, long day painting in the field today. Four observations done. I love being a visual chronicler of the change that happens through a day. The change that all of those people flying by on the road, and tossing sand and mud on the easel and me, miss. Painting all day outside slows the march of time and lets you savor the entire picture in slow motion, rather than wonder where it went. We painters are a lucky bunch.

All of these paintings were painted within about 3 or 4 miles of each other, or less.  And they are all for sale for $295.00 unframed, including shipping and insurance.  More details are above.

SOLD 3/5/12 #1 'Red House' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Monday morning found me north of Taylors Falls again, out on one of my all time favorite circuits to travel and paint. I got a late start and had a dinner deadline, so I only managed two pieces. My interest in this one, on a rather flatly lit day, was the color that the red house brought to the view, and to balance with the red of the road. I love painting these views looking down, or up, the country roads in the area. This time of year it's a bit dicey, they're full of moisture so that any passing vehicle almost always gives you a good spraying of grit. Several of these paintings have the grit in them still.

SOLD 3/5/12 #2 'Old Gus' House' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
I don't know the actual name of the man who lived in this house, I could probably dig around and find out who he was. But I do know that he was very old before he passed yet every summer evening you could see him on his little John Deere riding mower out taking care of his yard. He could barely walk, but he had pride in his home, a home that may have been his or in his family for who knows how many generations? His house is on a corner that I turn on almost every day. I miss Old Gus.

3/6/12 #1 'Milk Barn' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
On Tuesday my first stop was at this farm that sits a ways off of the road, but which has such interesting buildings that it has drawn me to it several different times in the past.  The light today was warm but filtered, making the color cast slightly ocherish.  I was surprised at the slight difference between the snow and the white of the milk barn.  I enjoy seeing those little changes and making note of them on the paintings.  

SOLD 3/6/12 #2 'Pathways' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
There's another lovely milk farm on my favorite painting road that I have never painted until this one.  I think I'll probably spend some more time here in the near future.  I painted these livestock paths going to and from the barns because I liked the dark lines.  You can see how they always take the same line on the way out, and on the way in.  Kind of like me, always painting the same road. 

SOLD 3/6/12 #3 'Crossroad' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
This was the time of day, about 4:00 pm on a warming winter day when the temps are in the high 40's to mid 50's, that I was waiting for.  I love late winter, early spring when the melting snow fills the air with moisture and it becomes heavy and accepting of the color of the lowering sun as the day closes.  Rich, saturated, but gray is what really gets me going as a painter.  The palette of this painting is probably my favorite of anytime of the day or year. 

SOLD 3/6/12 #4 'Beautiful End' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
As long as it was a nice warm afternoon, and I had three paintings done, I decided to try the ending hour for the fourth one of the day.  I wanted to be sure to get the snow for color, and the sky and treeline for contrast.  It was hard to find a place to paint in a hurray that had those ingredients.  Fortunately there is a development near where I painted the 'Crossroad' painting, a few miles away, that hasn't 'developed' yet.  It's roads and empty lots.  I pulled into there thinking that the empty lots would give me the fields of snow needed.  Was not ideal, but I finally just said enough, stopped and painted what was happening.  These sort of paintings are always fun to do, a challenge for sure.

3/10/12 and 3/11/12

With warming days our snow is all but gone now. On Saturday and Sunday I went out to try to find the remnants of a less than typical Minnesota winter. The winds were up but so were the temps, in the high 50's to mid 60's.

SOLD 3/10/12 #1 'ATV Trail' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
On one of my regular painting hunting roads, one called Red Wing Ave, I stopped immediately upon seeing this scene. The line of the snow that was left, though on it's way to a good melt, marked by the ATV tracks was all it took. That combined with the geometry of the composition, pretty dramatic as the road disappears over the hill top, and the texture of all of the trees and shrubs lining the fence made it a real treat to paint. As I was working along, nearly finished, an ATV approaches me from behind, stops and I see a man and woman eagerly wanting to know what I was painting. As we talked, it turns out that the property is theirs, he cut the ATV trail recently and is very proud of how it looks. They told me it's an animal magnet, deer, turkey, fox, raccoons and more, all use it to get across the road that we were standing on, into the next field over. It's always a plus to have the landowners come by to see what you're doing, it makes them proud, makes me glad that they appreciate the art.

SOLD 3/10/ #2 'All That's Left' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Later in the day, staying out of some of the strongest winds, I stopped at this farm that I pass all of the time but have never painted. I'm on the same road, a few miles south of the one above. In the summer and fall, these roads are hard to paint on because of the dust. They're so wet right now that there is no dust, nice to take advantage and paint some areas that I don't get to normally. I was attracted at first by the melt water in the plow furrows from the previous year. My surprise when setting up was to see all of the goodies around the farm yard that I could use to add some little touches of color to the painting.

SOLD 3/11/12 #1 'May Avenue Cedar' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Sunday was a little windier so I drove to a road, May Avenue, because I knew that I could find some shelter from it in some nice areas. One of the attractions that I like on this road are the small bodies of water that pepper it along the way. I stopped at one, but found my interest in this cedar tree that was on a hillside away from one of the ponds. I liked it for the warmth of the palette, balanced by the snow shadows.

3/11/12 #2 'Baby Browns' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
In the afternoon the winds were really up and the light was flattening out. But in a nice little area along the St Croix, on a Wisconsin Rustic Road, I found this, part of the DNR Hatchery property. This is the area where they let the fingerlings learn the ropes, fingerling rearing area they call it. I can attest to it working. In the current were many nice little 8"-12" brown trout. At one point a guy showed up with spinning rod in hand to see if he could surprise a nice one. He told me that last year he caught and released a nice 17" brown. Guess what I'm doing this spring with my fly rod? I didn't know you could fish here, and I've been hanging around the area for nearly 6 years now!


3/16/12 and 3/17/12

I spent a few days in the studio last week, hence the break in postings. On Friday I couldn't resist it any longer, temps hitting the high 70's, even an 80 degree day! Friday was beautiful, calm and with skies that had some activity to them, making it more interesting to me than a flat blue sky day. On Saturday I was up early and down to the river to start the day, then the day slowly became more windy and cloudy so I made it a short day.

NFS 3/16/12 #1 'Morning Impression' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
I loved this first part of Friday morning, humid, atmospheric and full of color. This piece is what I could see, just the shapes of the trees spotted around the field. I worked hard at not allowing myself to paint more than my impression of the subject, what I could see while squinting down on it.

SOLD 3/16/12 #2 'Mid Day Hues' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Man was the sky and landscape rich and full of color by about 11:00 am! All of the heat and moisture in the ground resulted in some moisture rich air. When ever the air is that saturated, the color is amplified when looking at it with the sun at your back. Looking the opposite direction, into the light, the moisture has almost the opposite effect and lightens all of the shapes, creating nearly washed out color. This is why I love painting from life... you can't dream this up, even if you know and understand the principles, every single situation is different every single time.

3/16/12 #3 'Dang Flat' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Later in the afternoon the high overcast caused the already merging color, closely analogous, to become even harder to separate and distinguish. The title refers to that, the color being so flat and tough to find difference in. That's not a big deal, you paint what you see, but it is an exercise in being subtle.

SOLD 3/16/12 #4 'High Sun' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Staying in the same spot as Dang Flat, I painted the sky to my right. A nice big could formation creating some drama was plenty to paint. All of this is a study of what is going on out there. While I'm not trying to 'copy' all of the specifics of what I am standing in front of, I am almost always trying to capture the color relationships as accurately as I see them. I do that because this is what is building my own visual library for future use. I don't want to make things like that up, I can change the land shapes, remove or add objects or their placement in the landscape. For my purposes, trying to replicate the color relationships is paramount, is my reason for wanting to be outside painting from life.

SOLD 3/16/12 #5 'Just Up The Road' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
By now you are probably noticing that this was a good painting day for me. I was hoping to be able to box up 6 for the day, but with some driving time using up the #6 painting time. But 5 is a good day. This last one is a spot just about 1/2 a mile from my house, at the edge of town. Every time I drive past this on my way out of town, I look up this road and think "I should paint this sometime.". Well I finally did, it only took about 6 years. I had to work fast, this was about an hours' worth of painting time, light shifting fast, shadows expanding, leaving, coming back a different shape and color... Whew! But I managed and then went and had an ice cold beer and some dinner across the river. A satisfying day for sure.

SOLD 3/17/12 #1 'Morning Breaks' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Up and out early enough on Saturday morning to paint the sun coming up over the Wisconsin side of the river. It's mostly a color exercise, there's not much land mass to include. But what a beautiful morning it was!

3/17/12 #2 'On The Marsh' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
It was looking to be a promising day so I took the drive north to Crex Meadow in Grantsburg, WI. Just as I arrived, the clouds moved in and the light left... such is landscape painting. I had already set up and was excited by what was in front of me before it all changed. With what I remembered and the occasional splash of sunlight, I managed to get this one painted. I've painted this spot in the spring, summer and early fall, all while the greens predominate, so it was fun to paint it at the end of winter when the tones of dormancy were still dominant. Lot's of birds all weekend, cranes, swans, geese and ducks. Also a lot of shorebirds arriving now.

SOLD 3/17/12 #3 'St Patty's Day' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
By now the wind of the day was getting to be tiring. Being pelted by dirt, sand, and the dried grass chaff that was all airborne and getting in my eyes was making me think about calling it a painting day. From Crex Meadow I drove back south down to William O'Brien State Park in Marine on St Croix, MN. That's too much driving, but when looking to find a spot to make the best of the time you have outside, sometimes too much driving is the result. We've all been there. It became dark and neutral by the time I set up to paint. So I played with that contrast between the spotty bright light of the spaces inbetween the clouds and the tree masses along the river.