Art Adventures

Posts tagged ‘fine art’

My backpack trip into the Enchantment Mountains proved worthy of the incredible challenge I faced just to arrive. It was extremely rugged country. Mountain goats, waterfalls, lakes, icebergs, glaciers, and sheer cliffs astounded us with views at every turn.

I am no stranger to backpacking. I backpacked as a kid in the Colorado Rockies with my family. Later, I explored the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our kiddos, once they were old enough to hike (or be carried, as the case often was…ha…). Camping out in the wilderness rejuvenates my soul. I usually feel as though I have been holding my breath and when I get into the mountains, I finally exhale, and breathe deep for the first time in a long while. Ahhhhh……there it is. I’m whole again.

When my husband suggested we hike into the Stuart Range in Washington for a family trip, however, I was a little reserved. What? No, no, not for the kids, but for me! Our boys, ages ranging from 14-20 at the time, were completely able to carry their own food, clothes, and selves deep into the great outdoors. No problem. In fact, strong, young boys with tons of muscle and energy? Hiking was a breeze for them. All I had to do was organize the food and get myself and my own backpack to the destination. Easy enough, right?

Problem. Errrr, yes. Twelve miles in and 7,000 feet elevation gain of steep, rugged wilderness awaited. I was nervous about the sheer amount of physical energy needed to arrive at the campsite. Nevertheless, excited to go, I envisioned the beauty and couldn’t wait to begin. We made plans, reserved our permit, packed, organized, and headed up. Oh, and I DID pack my watercolor journal. Extra weight, sure, but I could handle it.

HA.

Every ounce practically killed me by the end. In fact? Just the weight of my own body proved almost too difficult to bear.

Difficult. But worth every step. It was so beautiful, so challenging, so scary, and so amazing, and I’ll probably never see it again.

Here we are, in all our pre-hike glory.

Here we are, in all our pre-hike glory.

The hike started out extremely steep, rising up out of the valley just outside of Leavenworth, Washington.

Me, with my three boys and friends, on our way up to Snow Lake

Me, with our three boys and friends, on our way up to Snow Lake. Hubby took the pic. It was a little steamy, as you can tell by the boy’s hair.

Our goal for the first night was to hike in and camp at Snow Lake, a 6 mile trek.The hike in was gorgeous, steep, but not terribly difficult.

Snow Lake. View from our camp, first night.

Snow Lake. View from our camp, first night. Mt. McClellen in the background.

No worries, I thought! I can handle this! The next day we headed out for the upper lakes.

By the second mile on day two, my knee was giving me a bit of grief from the steep climb the day before. THIS day, the climb was even steeper, working our way up boulder fields,

Boulder fields

Boulder fields above Snow and Nada Lakes.

over tumbling waterfalls,

Hubby and I, posing for an "excuse pic" i.e. RESTING!

Hubby and I, posing for a pic (i.e. RESTING).

 

across a dam, with floating trees on one side and a waterfall on the other (we had to cross the 12″ concrete dam while water rushed over the top…yikes!!),

This was scary for me. Death by drowning on one side, death by OUCH on the other! CONCENTRATE, Sarah! The dam was slippery!

This was scary for me. Death by drowning on one side, death by OUCH on the other! CONCENTRATE, Sarah! The dam was slippery!

and over a rounded, dead-drop boulder with rebar as footholds so that hikers would (hopefully) not plunge to their death. I have no photo of that, sketchy enough that my legs quivered and I was SO NOT taking my camera out. In fact, I may have cried. That’s just a rumor, mind you.

It was hot, gorgeous, and tiring.

Some of us rested in the shade. Kid 3 tired out from helping me up the boulders.

Some of us rested in the shade. Kid 3 tired out from helping me up the boulders.

So, yeah, gorgeous, but (ouch)knee, fear of heights, and water/drowning issues came to the front of my anxiety on that day. I worked it all through, though. and was rewarded with the most amazing high-alpine location I’d ever been.

Once we arrived at Vivian Lake, we re-grouped with a water filter re-fill, lunch, and a much-needed rest.

Son 1, refilling his water with a water filter system.

Son 1, refilling his water with a water filter system.

We rested among the no-fear mountain goats and spent the next day exploring the area before heading down the following day.

We hiked the entire 12 miles out in one day. By the time I reached the truck, I could barely place one foot in front of another. My legs were jellyfish, seemingly only marginally attached to my body with painful connections called joints. My back, shoulders and neck were stiff and my feet? Ugh. Too much. Only the memories of my family in one of the most gorgeous places I’ve been, and the photos I took, kept me going through some painful muscle aches for the rest of the week. Oh, and quite a substantial amount of Advil (and possibly wine…another rumor).

This past weekend, paying homage to this amazing hike, I worked on a landscape of one of the waterfalls we found at the lakes. I wanted to capture the raw beauty of this location, the way nature molds the landscape, the resistance and strength of the alpine trees, and the simple glory of water in erosive action. I’m bringing this to you, in the hopes that you can experience a part of The Enchantments, without the pain of the hike!

Enchanted, 12x32, original watercolor on textured Plexiglas

Enchanted, 12×32, original watercolor on textured Plexiglas

“Enchanted” was created for a group show at Tumalo Art Company, and is hanging at the gallery during the month of March. It’s delightful to see in person, with collaged texture and watercolor crayons capturing the rugged feel of the cliff bands surrounding Vivian Lake.

Enjoy the new work, and find it and other paintings of mine at Tumalo Art Company, and Hood Avenue Art.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and events! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that we can meet at showings and to receive notifications about classes. I will be planning a workshop painting class in the fall of 2017. I will post more when I know the dates. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images

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Last week, I looked at relationships between sisters with my blog post and painting, “Wishes”. This week, I take a closer look at another relationship, mothers and daughters.

I don’t have a daughter, but I am a daughter. My mother is still alive, in all her glorious 84 years! She went to Italy with me this spring, during our Paint Tuscany trip.

Mom and I in Tuscany

Mom and I in Tuscany

My mom and I and my sister formed an interesting triangle growing up. I was caught mediating battles between two of them. Although unpleasant at the time, it taught me valuable skills of negotiation, compromise, and an ability to see both sides of every argument. After my sister left for college, Mom and I grew closer and enjoyed many activities and conversations together. Our relationship bloomed further after I married and started a family. Even though we lived 1,300 miles apart, we talked every week and saw each other as often as we could. Through the past 30 years, my mom and I continue to grow our relationship as she experiences the downfalls of true age and shares with me what it was like for her to go through her 40’s and 50’s and the challenges that each age brings. She has always been there for advice with parenting, marriage, and friendship. She gives me incredible encouragement and drive to go after my dreams of being an artist. She went to college and obtained a degree in her 50’s and has written and published 2 books. One of which she just published last year at age 84!

During my childhood, there were many times when I believed she “didn’t love me”, didn’t understand my troubles, or just didn’t care. What I couldn’t grasp at the time, was how much she really did care, and sometimes that care resulted in actions just the opposite of what I wanted to happen!

In painting “Going Home”, I wanted to capture a moment in a day when, after several attempts to rally her daughter, Mom finally grabs the daughter’s hand and says, “Yes, it is really time to go. Now.” It’s the end of a fun day and the daughter is tired and sad to leave. She feels her mom just doesn’t understand, or care about her feelings. The mother is tired as well, and both trudge off for dinner and possibly a bath before bedtime. Mom imposed her rule and her authority and daughter is feeling the brunt of it. But the mother has only the well being of her daughter in mind.

Going Home, 14x11 Original Watercolor and Collage on Plexiglas

“Going Home”, 14×11 Original Watercolor and Collage on Plexiglas

In this painting, I bring up a conversation about the relationship between mother and daughter. They are joined at their hands and in their communing shadows on the ground. Although you can feel the disappointment in the daughter, there is acceptance in her posturing, and a love and connection both will feel their entire lives. The colors are joyful, promising a bright future.

 

“Going Home” is available at Tumalo Art Company in Bend, Oregon. When you go to see it, notice the explosions of square colors radiating off the girl’s skirt. Her emotions cannot be contained. The shadows mingle and their hands are connected to illustrate the lifelong connection between the two. Trees are in the background, softly suggesting a promising future. Notice that the girl has rubber boots on. This brings up a conversation that morning about shoe wear. The mother probably didn’t want her daughter to wear the boots, but gave up on the argument, acknowledging her daughter’s ability to choose her clothes and giving her that choice., further illustrating the balance of authority, choices, friendship and love in their relationship.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images.

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During our Paint Tuscany trip this May, we toured the beautiful hill town of Montepulciano. It was just as I had imagined it to be, but even more spectacular. A quaint little town of stone atop small hill with incredible views of the Tuscan valley below, Montepulciano also had unique stores, tucked along its streets, begging to be explored.

It was in Montepulciano where I found a hand-made book store, Legatoria Koine. Oh my. Such beautiful books! Such reasonable prices! I had to buy two. One for me (of course), and one as a gift (you know who you are!). Its heavy, torn-edged paper looks like old-time textured watercolor paper!

Hand bound Italian book. Leather outer, watercolor paper inside

Hand bound Italian book. Leather outer, watercolor paper inside

I can’t wait to fill it with artwork! It smells like leather, has rough edges, and came with a little note tucked inside. The woman who waited on us was a beautiful late-20’s Italian girl, who bound all the books (and painted oils on the side!). So cute.

Anyway, as we wound our way up through the town to take a look at the view as well as a garden near the top, I passed by a gorgeous alley, flooded in yellow Tuscan light, with views to the valley below. Breathtaking.

This is one of three Tuscan paintings I worked on this weekend.

Here is my reference photo:

IMG_5247

Montepulciano alley, showing views of the valley below

Can you see why I was so inspired??!!  And, weirdly enough, it wasn’t a terribly sunny day, but warm sunlight burst through the haze and flooded a golden glow to the wall.

I painted this scene for several reasons. First, of course, to capture the gorgeous Tuscan light. But I also love the archway and the dark foreground drawing us in to a misty Tuscan landscape. A couple pause to contemplate the valley view, which adds a human element to the scene. I am also drawn to the lamp on the wall to the right. I decided accentuate a triangular composition highlighting the window box, lamp, and people.

With the composition focused on the 1/3 RH side of the canvas, here is my thumbnail sketch. Doing a small value sketch always help me decide on placement of shadows and forms within the painting.

Sketching the basic outline, values, and layout of the alley

Sketching the basic outline, values, and layout of the alley.

I gesso-coated rectangular paper cut out and collaged it onto my Plexiglas surface, haphazardly placing tiles of paper to resemble old brickwork. Netting further provided a gridded surface, suggesting rough stonework in the walls. As I painted, I sprayed and splattered water and paint on the surface, giving it an overall aged feel.

A dark entry of warm stonework draws our eyes into the painting. We then dance along the shapes of window shutters, glance off a warm yellow wall, and find the couple enjoying the valley scene below. We then might find the lamp and pop back to the red flowers of the window box before contemplating deeper into the scene.

Hard to see in this photo of the painting, but I added a white skirt on the woman and placed red shoes on her feet. 🙂

Montepulciano lowres copyright

Montepulciano Alley, 20×16, original watercolor and collage on Plexiglas

The resulting painting takes me back to my Tuscan experience and reminds me of our warm May day in Italy. I feel pulled in to the painting. I remember the cobblestone walls, stucco surface, rich smells, intimate windows, flowers, culture, and wonderful people. Imagine and allow it to draw you in to a beautiful moment in Montepulciano.

Find my work at Tumalo Art Company. In July, I will have my Tuscan work hung on their walls!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images.

 

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Okay, okay…it’s a little corny, but I figured, hey, with this spring-like weather on Valentine’s Day? I’m a little cheesy.

As I painted this bunny, I thought about his expression. He is chewing on something. Maybe a thought. Maybe a piece of an herb. Perhaps it is something slightly bitter. He’s mulling it over, as it leaves an strange taste in his mouth. Like an ornery thought, or a wild hare (pun…), it won’t go away. It won’t let him go. He’s planning a crazy move. My kids have looked just that way before they do something naughty.

Watch out. He’s gonna get his funk on.

Bazillowres copyright

Bazil, 7×5 original watercolor and gesso on recycled plexiglas. $110

And, as it just so happens, it is my 2-year anniversary on WordPress today.I set up my blog on this day in February, 2014. My very first blog post was March 10th. At that time, it had been 3 years since I stopped painting. I decided to begin again with a blog as inspiration. I had a goal of starting one new painting and finishing a painting every week. I promised myself to blog about the finished painting every Sunday, with a short story about the painting. It would give me a reason to paint, and hold me accountable to produce work that was not only going to be visible to anyone on the internet, but also improve my skills as a painter, by simply painting every week.

To that end, after 2 years and 99 posts, this blog has kept me focused. I still have the goal to start one painting and finish one painting every week. I’ve improved not only my painting skills, but my writing skills as well. My readers have increased in numbers and have kept me busy with their positive likes and comments. I have met many new friends with this blog and other social platforms that have spun out of it. Over the past 2 years, my business as an artist has grown until I am busy enough to have trouble finding time to write! I am selling paintings, prints, and greeting cards, and have added a monthly Watercolor & Wine Class that fills quickly and has been extremely positive and fun. Much of that success has come from right here…

To any of you thinking about starting a blog for your business, hobby, or just for fun, I would say go for it! You don’t have much to loose, and much to gain.

Can’t wait for more to come! Great paintings, an Italy trip, new friends, and more sales!! Thank you all so much for your continued support.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes.

 

All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hansen unless otherwise noted.

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