Bit Of Yeah, But

Red, River Tree, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
DETAIL – Bit Of Yeah, But. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

When posting a new image on this blog, I usually show a small segment of the actual painting, a segment often referred to as a “detail.” When the detail image is clicked on, the viewer is taken to a page which features the full image. In this way the viewer gets two images to consider, one a detail image showing a close-up view, and the second image that features the entire painting.

Bit Of Yeah, But, is based on the detail of a previously posted painting titled,Yeah, but … If you look closely, you’ll see that the detail is crated from a … bit … of the lower right hand corner of, Yeah, but … Thus, the tile of this new piece, bit of Yeah but. So, one might say the detail seen above is a bit, of the bit of the original, Yeah, but.. Oh, the convoluted humor of it all?

On a more serious note, my personal point of interest for this piece is the large, white area. I wanted to capture some of the texture I saw in the white area of the original detail image. When I photographed the original, Yeah, but … Painting there was strong light coming from above. The direction of the light highlighted the texture of the paper, particularly in the untouched, white area.

To achieve a similar effect on this painting, I first laid in a gray wash over the intended white area. Once this layer dried, I then used a very stiff, old, abused, one inch house brush to lightly scrub over the gray with opaque, Chinese white. This technique allows some of the gray to show through somewhat mimicking the desired texture. Putting gray over white will not achieve the same effect.

Of course, using opaque white in a transparent watercolor is enough to cause some watercolor afficianados to experience dangerously high blood pressure at the least, or declare a near international incident at worst. Bottom line … I achieved my desired effect. Now, isn’t that more than you wanted to know? It’s definitely more than I intended to write.

To learn more and see the full painting, please follow THIS LINK.

Beauty In The World

Beauty In TheWorld, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
DETAIL – Beauty In The World. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

This painting is created in a studio environment. I use a randomly selected, inverted newspaper clipping as a basis on which to develop a design. The clipping features two well known politicians at a speaking engagement. As a starting point, without preliminary drawing I use a two inch, flat brush to directly lay in my darks first.

Both politicians are wearing red ties. Red and black go well together so I decide to use red as my accent color. From there it is a matter of ignoring the clipping and focusing on further developing a pattern of lights and darks, etc. From the beginning the intent is that of creating a non-objective painting.

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Emotional Trauma

Emotional Trauma, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
DETAIL – Emotional Trauma>. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

This painting was started at a recent Free Friday session. I didn’t have a value plan, choosing instead to paint directly on the paper. The approach was to attempt to simply create an interesting, nonobjective design. As I recall, it was the second of two paintings attempted that day. Each went unfinished. While I didn’t know it at the time, it was to be Rio’s last day at the American River (see previous post).

The following afternoon i had a scheduled watercolor demonstration. After beginning the demo painting I reached a point at which I wanted the piece to dry before continuing. On a whim, I decided to work on one of the two paintings I had begun at the river the day before.

The major national news story of the time centered around the destruction caused by the raging waters of the mighty Mississippi. I think it fair to note much of the nation was emotionally touched by images of televised devastation. At some point I commented the images on paper reminded me of the destructive power of rampaging water. That afternoon the painting almost reached a state of completion. Almost, but not quite.

The next day, upon reflection the painting seemed to suggest as much about my own feeling of recent personal loss as it might have about national loss – after all, national loss is personal loss magnified. A final wash, a few additional touches here and there. and it was done, finished, the end. Like life, a painting has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

As the saying goes, the trouble with “art: is it’s subjective. The beauty of “art” is it’s subjective. One never truly knows for sure if he is on target. In the long run, it probably doesn’t have to matter to anyone other than the creator of the painting.

Cold River Day

See my next watercolor demo, Saturday, Feb. 26, at 12 noon. Directions and more info here
/Cold River Day, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
Cold River Day. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image for availability and price info)


To begin, a brief update of the previous post, Walking On Sunshine.

Three similar, but different paintings finished days apart, Cold River Day, Walking On Sunshine, and a currently untitled third work, each inspired by a single scene along the American River.

The subject of this post , Cold River Day, occurred during a Free Friday session. Cold River Day, while inspired by an actual location was created several yards away from the scene. The painting was completed without a preliminary value plan, sketch, or photo. However, several days after completing the painting, I returned to the area to take the image seen below. I wanted the photo for this blog to illustrate the fact that one does not have to always attempt to replicate a scene exactly as it appears. The late watercolorist Henry Fukuhara noted that painters “can move mountains.” For me, the idea is to depict not what is, but what might or ought to be. Not an original thought, but a valid one just the same.

Photo location for Cold River Day

A series of recent storms left the American River parkway flooded. On this particular Friday the water had receded. I walked along the trail to the usual Painting location to assessed the situation. The ground was still wet and muddy. Expecting that I might not want to set up to paint in mud, I took along a half-sheet of cold pressed, watercolor paper clipped to my painting support. From where I stood, I looked out over the river and, with an ink pen quickly sketched some shapes, loosely based on the scene before me. This process took no more that a minute. I then walked back to higher, drier ground (the parking area) and began painting the first of two watercolors..

The first painting of the morning, currently finished but as yet not titled, nor posted was allowed to dry in an unfinished state. The second painting, Cold River Day, was then started, but this time I allowed my imagination to take over. The initial process was one of attacking the paper in a non-objective manner. At this point I had no intention of doing much more than slapping some paint on paper and seeing where it would take me.

My painting support was at about a 75 degree angle, as I rapidly applied paint, wet on dry and allowed shapes to drip and blend. Gradually, I sensed the suggestion of shapes that might be trees, foreground debris, water, and background sky blending together. At this point I decided to stop to allow the first layer to dry completely. Time to pack up and head indoors with two unfinished paintings.

Later that afternoon and evening, back indoors I completed the morning’s first painting. The following day I worked on Cold Water Day. This painting, unlike Walking On Sunshine was more laborious in nature. I decided to develop a warmly dominate, split complimentary color scheme featuring an orange sky and orange water. I next decided to mask out the two main, blue tree forms and green foreground to allow a smooth, gradated sky and water. These days, I normally try to avoid the masking process, which in this case was done with tape.

Next came the orange sky and water, and then time to allow that layer to dry before proceeding further. Off with the tape, and an attempt to pull things together. After that a period of evaluation. I decided all the painting needed was one last layer of yellow to further unify shapes and improve color harmony.

Realizing I had a Market Place demo coming due in a few days, I decided to use this piece as part of the demo. I would work out a sketch, a value plan from this piece, use that to start the demo and finish Cold River Day, with the final layer of yellow and whatever else it might need. That was the plan. However, the creative process, like life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, I believe it worked out better than expected (scroll down to see previous post – Walking On Sunshine).

In the near future I hope to post the first of the three paintings mentioned. The painting is completed, but currently untitled.

Availability and pricing information for this painting can be found by following THIS LINK.

Sawa Sawa De

Detail of Sawa Sawa De, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
Sawa Sawa De. DETAIL. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

Sawa Sawa De is a recent painting begun and finished outdoors. As the reader of this blog knows, I like to paint, year round outdoors. My stomping ground is usually along the banks of Sacramento’s American River.

What a pleasure it was to create this painting! The images just seemed to flow onto the paper without restraint. The secondary color scheme developed along the way and was not preplanned. However, from the outset, the direction of the painting was nonobjective.

I once read where an acknowledged master of watercolor suggested one begin a painting based on a preliminary title so as to establish the direction of the work. that seems a reasonable and valid approach. On the other hand, there is also much to be said in favor of doing the painting first and finding a title later. Thus is the case with this watercolor.

The title, Sawa Sawa De, comes from a favorite song. The tune is from an, old, Long Playing record released in 1961, called Common Ground, by The Herbie Mann Aftro-Jazz Sextet + Four Trumpets. A musical clip of the song can be heard on iTunes and on at Enjoy!

NOTE: Sawa Sawa De, is part of an auxiliary exhibition atThe Art of Milford Zornes: Friendships and Inspiration exhibition at the CCAA Museum of Art , December 12, 2010 – February 20, 2011. This show features 17 paintings by friends and affiliated artists, together with 46 paintings by Milford Zornes, some of which have never been on public exhibition. For more information follow this link to the CCAA Museum of Art. I’ll post, in the near future, additional comments and information on this blog about the Milford Zornes Exhibition. Stay tuned!

For pricing, and availability, click here

Fall Friday

Win $10,000! Enter before Nov. 8th! Follow this link.Detail of Fall Friday, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
Fall Friday. DETAIL. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

Every once in a great while a painting almost seems to paint itself. This is the case with Fall FRiday. I didn’t feel like painting on this day, nor did I expect much success once I began the painting process. In all respects, the day began as an uneventful Free Friday.

This watercolor was painted outdoors, adjacent to the American River, a block or so west of the Watt Avenue bridge. My dog, Rio, is experiencing problems of old age. He has been my trusted companion and painting partner for nearly fourteen years and – as dog lovers know – it’s not a lot of fun watching a dog gamely struggle to overcome his severely arthritic joints.

Over breakfast, an hour or so before heading to the river I had decided I would approach my morning of painting by “winging it.” I had no real subject matter in mind, no plan, no sketch, just a totally non-objective approach. My only goal was to start and finish a painting on on location.

Once at the river I, along with several caring painting companions watched Rio begin a short trek from the Watt Avenue parking lot to our painting area. He walks as if on short stilts, wooden but determined. Ten feet here, rest, sniff, pee, sniff, stumble along another few feet, stop, sniff, rest, look around, etc. Despite the best medication available in both dry and liquid form, his joints stubbornly continue to stiffen. Just as determined Rio refuses to give in to the aging process.

In short, I got a late start on the morning of painting. I decided to forgo setting up my painting easel and table choosing instead to paint on the ground. At times I will use a method similar to that of the great watercolorist, George Post. However, instead of squatting while painting I just paint, kneeling with both knees on the ground. If one has the knees for it, this method is really quite convenient and comfortable.

Fall Friday was completed very quickly. To accomplish a painting in this manner is more difficult than it appears. However, when one gets into a “zone,” much like a basketball player who can’t miss, the action appears almost effortless. Unfortunately, reaching the :zone: is somewhat an act of serendipity.

As the morning drew to a close, I stopped painting, thinking I had failed my goal of completing the work on site. I would take it back to the studio for completion at a later time or date. After lunch, I decided to finish the painting. I placed it in a mat to asses the work needed to bring Fall Friday to completion. Fortunately, I recognize it needed no more work. I decided to leave it overnight and to look at it the next day. Saturday I signed it. Mission accomplished.

Win some. Lose some. On this particular Friday Rio and I won one.

For pricing, and availability, click here

Little Bitty

Detail of Little Bitty, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
Little Bitty. DETAIL. Original watercolor by woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

This watercolor was developed by viewing bits and pieces of objects seen or imagined in the vicinity of Sacramento’s Sara Park during a recent Free Friday mini-workshop. A tree stump here, a shadow there, maybe a clump of grass, or the shape of a mud bank, etc. The idea was not to replicate, but to discover shapes that might eventually lead to an abstract, or better yet a non-objective painting.

To begin, I took an 8.5 x 11 sheet of plain paper, drew in a smaller rectangle, clipped the sheet to a board, and took a walk along the river. I loosely drew bits and pieces with a permanent marker as I came upon them. I tried to group things into an interesting abstract or non-objective pattern as best I could. No pencil, no eraser, no tracing, no projection. High risk, high gain. Once I had a design I liked I began applying paint and allowed the painting to evolve. Ah, yes, one is reminded not to paint what is, but what might, or ought to be.

Upon completing a painting,I often enjoy giving it an appropriate song title. In this case the title comes from the rock and roll tune, Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris. The relevancy? Little bits and pieces make up a pretty one. However, the country song Little Bitty by Alan Jackson also comes to mind. And so it goes, Where it stops no one knows; stacks of wax; … and the hits just keep on comin; Donny Babe, Yeth Their!, Purple Grotto, KEWB, Channel 91, Channel 91, KYA, Voice of the Bay (sorry,I couldn’t resist a bit of radio nostalgia stuff)!

For more information, including price, and availability, click here

Tootsie Fruitsy

Tootsie Fruitsy DETAIL - Woody Hansen Watercolor
Tootsie Fruitsy, Original Watercolor Painting by Woody Hansen
(Click image for purchase information)

Well, here we go … another opening of another show (so to speak, er, write). This painting is a studio piece. By that I mean it was painted entirely in the studio environment. I did it as a demonstration piece for the folks who are participating in my current watercolor classes.

In its finished state,Tootsie Fruitsy, gets its title from two sources. First, this work reminds me of Juicyfruit gum. I can smell the delicious aroma as I type this overly wordy entry. Second, another tip of the old hat to that creative, artistically inclined, youngster, Craig Ferguson (host of The Late, Late, Show on CBS (or as the Smother’s Brothers used to call it, the Cow Boy Station). As many of you know, Craig often does a humorous bit about the “Tootsie Fruitsy Ice-ah Creama” man (no offense intended to my friends of Italian ancestry). Or, as Craig might say,“Come on, lighten up, it’s a JOKE!”

I’m not sure how I feel about this particular watercolor. Part of me likes it and another part isn’t so sure. The two sides battled it out in my brain and the “likes it” won out. Of course it’s not about like it or not, it is about learning, about the journey, about the luxury of being able to do it at all. Besides, in art, failure is success.

In retrospect, I might have stopped several layers earlier* . There are times when a painting seems to come too early, too easily ,and one mistakenly feels a need to push on, to develop it further. I try to avoid this kind of silliness, but every once in a while “trying to please” takes over. Who the devil am I trying to please? Who ever it might be, an imagined audience composed of peers, students, jurors, societies, galleries, critics, the buying public, etc., is caused by self doubt, insecurity, and ignorance. Truth be told, what really matters is the opportunity to create another watercolor painting.

Colors: Juicyfruit Yellow, Censorship Red, Puritan Blue, Threatening Purple, Protestant Orange, Catholic Green, and Profitable Black.

For more information, including price and availability, click here.

* The (I could have stopped here) third of seven layers …
Tootsie  - Woody Hansen Watercolor


Between The Bridge and The River DETAIL - Woody Hansen Watercolor
BTB&TR – DETAIL – Original Watercolor Painting by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

This painting is a non-objective, demonstration piece from my current, weekly watercolor classes. It consists of of three or four layers, one over the other with drying time between each layer. The dominate shape is derived from a newspaper photograph of four men in suits, possibly businessmen or politicians. The subject matters not, only the basic, dark and light shapes are of concern here.

The first layer is the “light” layer. I use three, high key values (light light, medium light, dark light) of transparent primary colors to lay in a wet-on-wet, non-objective pattern. The layer is allowed to dry.

Next comes the second, or medium value layer. This is done, wet-on-dry, and where the initial shapes are described within the rectangle. I create a mid-value intermediate tertiary color with which to develop the initial pattern. Before continuing, this layer is also allowed to dry.

The third and final layers, all wet-on-dry, are used to further develop. adjust. and define the over-all design.

BTB&TR is an abbreviation of Between The Bridge and The River. The name really has little to do with the

    originalintent of the painting. The title is arrived at, not before, but after the painting is completed.

    Upon finishing this non-objective watercolor I sense a feeling of the fury of a raging fire. I thought about naming the painting, Fire and Fury. Maybe I should have stuck with that original title. It is certainly much shorter in length. However, a book and an interesting religious concept came between the painting and the original title.

    I recently completed the audio book version of Craig Ferguson’s American On Purpose (The Improbable Adventures of An Unlikely Patriot). It’s a great read. I haven’t had so much fun since the days of creative radio and television personalities Don Sherwood, Al Jazzbo Collins, Steve Allen, and Johnny Carson)!

    Chapter 40 (Between The Bridge and The River), of Craig’s book seems fitting to the feeling of the painting. Also, in some small way, it is my recognition, respect, and appreciation of Craig Ferguson’s artistically creative approach to late night television.

    In the late 50’s I was fortunate to spend many Sundays as a disc jockey (“And now, here is your local announcer …’) spinning very large discs or platters (vinyl records) of a religious program. The name of the program escapes my memory, but the featured speaker was Father Keller who always ended his transcribe program with, “It is better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness.”

    What, you inquire, do the above five paragraphs have to do with my watercolor painting, Craig Ferguson, fire and fury, and religion? Read or , better yet, listen to the book.

    Colors: Religious Red, Devilish Scarlet, Blistering Yellow, Purgatory Blue, and Grim Reaper Black.

    For more information, including price and availability, click here.

Blue Ice

Blue Ice DETAIL - Woody Hansen Watercolor
Blue Ice – DETAIL – Original Watercolor Painting by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

Blue Ice begins as a non-objective painting, wet-on-wet (wet-into-wet), on 140 pound watercolor paper.

After the paper absorbs a significant amount of water, its surface is randomly scarred with a metal putty knife. Blue paint is then applied with an eye toward creating interesting shapes of varying sizes. At this stage paint value is a range of light and mid values. The work is then allowed to dry completely.

The next layer is comprised mostly of mid and dark values of blue, Attention is devoted toward creating interesting positive/negative shapes in an attempt to bring harmony and unity to the work while developing an over all checkerboard pattern. During the time this layer is still wet and soft, the shapes are scraped with the putty knife. This layer is allowed to become totally dry before continuing..

The painting is completed in one to three more layers by making final adjustments to shapes, value, and color. The end result is a non-objective painting which has a cool temperature emphasis and a blue color dominance.

Colors: Brilliant Ice Blue Blue, Cool Earth Red, Yahoo Yellow Hue, Midnight Oasis Black.

For more information, including price and availability, click here.