FRESH AIR – Original Watercolor

Image of Fresh Air, watercolor by Woody HansenTITLE: Fresh Airt – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″ To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.


Bright, intense colors, combine to make a dominent  warm color scheme bring to mind favorite places of interest to people of various backgrounds and economic status. However, most will probably agree that the overall feeling of Fresh Air, despite perceived visual subject matter is one of clear, clean, fresh air.

The subject matter of Fresh Air is not as it may appear. Fresh Air, the watercolor is a painting not specifically descriptive of any one place in the world. This particular watercolor is an amalgam of images scattered here and there in my memory.

What you see is an assortment of shapes, silhouettes, suggesting images similar to mountains, posts, trees, plants, rocks, weeds, etc. This type of approach,–ranslation– allows the viewer to use his own imagination, to participate in the construction, or the suggestion of a scene unique to one’s personal interpretation.
Finally, a note that Fresh Air was created–as the saying goes, before a live, classroom audience. If you would like to try your hand at watercolor painting, or to take your current skills to the next level, I invite you to register for an upcoming class. Details HERE.


STICKING POINT – Original Watercolor

Sticking Point, an original watercolor painting by artist Woody HansenTITLE: Sticking Point – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.


Sticking Point as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Something that people disagree about and that prevents progress from being made…”

We’ve all experienced many sticking points during our lives. What are some examples you might recall? Here are just a couple that immediately come to mind.


From time to time throughout history, we seem to experience a Congress composed of a significant group of individuals who refuse to put the needs of the country and its citizens ahead of their own greed and political self-interest. The result? One sticking point after another. Perhaps the best example might be our present Congress, arguably the most ineffective group of free loaders in history.


According to the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California (JAHSSC), there is, what might be termed an educational sticking point with regard to USC, the University of Southern California and their former Nisei students. The sticking point?  Unlike the University of California (Cal), and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Southern California (USC), decided to award honorary degrees, only to LIVING Japanese American students who were forced to leave the campus during World War II, but not to those who have since passed away. Good, but not good enough.

According to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, the evacuation (Executive Order 9066), meant that thousands of Japanese Americans would be prohibited from attending colleges and universities on the West Coast. With the urging of the University of California’s President Robert Gordon Sproul, and his colleagues, including UCLA’s Provost, Earle R. Hedrick, these academic institutions were helpful in assisting and helping transfer as many students as possible to educational facilities in the interior of the United States.

Meanwhile, USC’s, Nisei students faced a sticking point, an uncooperative USC administration, led by then-President Rufus B. von Kleinsmid. Read more about this situation by following this link.


Those of us who paint realize, if we are fortunate, every so often we get a painting that just seems to happen almost on its own accord, as if preordained.

The development of Sticking Point was completely spontaneous. There was no advance planning what so ever. Once started, the painting simply evolved in a nonobjective manner, a team effort, a symbiosis between painter, paint, and paper.

In my view, a nonobjective painting such as Sticking Point must be more than the result of haphazardly  slopping paint onto a surface and calling it nonobjective. A non-objective work must show some understanding of design, of the relationship between shape, value, and color. Whether this is accomplished consciously or subconsciously is irrelevant.

Sticking Point is currently one of my favorite works, and will most likely remain that way well into the future

ª For purchase information, go HERE.

ª Questions? Comment? Leave your message below, or on my Contact Page.

ª I invite you to visit my WEB SITE,


Photo0-Alabama HillsWoody kMansanar DemoLEFT- View of Eastern Sierra from Alabama Hills. Photo courtesy of Al Setton.
RIGHT: View of one of five 2013 demonstrations.

In its 17th year, the workshop is in memory of Henry Fukuhara (1913-2010) organized by Albert Setton, assisted by Michele Peaarson, and Dan Dickman. Dates of the workshop are Thursday, May 15, to Monday, May 19, 2014. Workshop fee: $110.

FEATURES: The workshop features five demos, 3 critiques, plus daily offices hours with distinguished artists: Jan Wright,; John Barnard,; Al Setton,; Dani Dodge,; Phyl Doyon,

FEE: Fee includes a “Meet and Greet” party on Friday, May 16, 2014, and a no-fee group show in Fall 2014.

HOW TO ENROLL: To enroll: e-mail your name, address, phone, and e-mail address to Michele Pearson and send your check payable to Albert Setton, 1244 12th Street, Unit 5, Santa Monica, CA. 90401. For more information call Michele at 1 (310) 663-9582, or e-mail at, or contact Al at 1 (310) 428-0051. Email:

ª Questions? Comment? Leave your message below, or on my Contact Page.

ª I invite you to visit my WEB SITE,


Randomly generated text emphasizing the world, LEARNYOUR INVITATION and 20 TIPS FOR SUCCESS

I INVITE YOU to join me for exciting indoor watercolor classes which begin on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. These enjoyable, informative, and affordable sessions meet on ten consecutive Wednesdays. There are three groups from which to choose, 9-4, or 1 to 4, or 6 to 9. All levels welcome. Take advantage of registration incentives. For more information and 20 tips for watercolor success, please click on this link.


MANZANAR WORKSHOP, 16th Annual Henry Fukuhara workshop

Manzanar Workshop Watercolor painting of Manzanar Guard HouseWatercolor Title: MANZANAR GUARD HOUSE – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image)

The annual Henry Fukuhara Manzanar Workshop is going on this month in Lone Pine, CA. The above watercolor painting, “Manzanar Guard House,” is my attempt to recognize this important event held in Henry Fukuhara’s memory. This year’s four day workshop begins Friday, May 17, and runs through, Monday, May 20, 2013. The workshop features four demonstrations, and three critiques. I’m pleased to note I’ve been asked to do the Sunday demo at Manaznar, as well as sharing that afternoon’s critique with Al Setton.

This is my second Manzanar Workshop demo and my third critique. I’m looking forward to another enjoyable gathering of artists of all levels. This is definitely an event not to be missed. I’m told, as of this writing there are over 100 artists expected to attend this year, an increase over the 80 artists who attended last year’s workshop. Registration is still open. I hope to see you there.

The current Manzanar Workshop line up is as follows:

Friday, May 17  (Manzanar Workshop)

9:00 AM  Dan Dickman demo at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center.

3:00 PM Al Setton critique at the Lone Pine Film Museum.


Saturday, May 18 (Manzanar Workshop)

9:00 AM Chris Van Winkle demo at Alabama Hills.

3:00 PM  Bill Anderson critique at the Lone Pine Film Museum.

Sunday, May 19 (Manzanar Workshop)

9:00 AM  Woody Hansen demo at Manzanar.

3:00 PM Woody Hansen and Al Setton critiquet at the Lone Film Museum.

Monday, May 20 (Manzanar Workshop)

9:00 AM Willie McFarland demo in Keeler. No critique the last day. Workshop ends around noon.


Workshop Contact Information

Michele Pearson, 310-663-9582

Al Setton,  310-428-0051.

Questions? Leave a comment here, or on my Contact Page.  For Manzanar Guard House purchase information, go HERE.

WORKSHOP: 16th Annual Henry Fukuhara Workshop

Photo of Easter Sierra mountain rage as viewed from Alabama Hills, CA. Photo by Al Setton.
View of Easter Sierra from Alabama Hills                                Photo by Al Setton

WORKSHOP OPPORTUNITY: I’m pleased to announced I’ve have been asked to do a watercolor demonstration at this year’s, 16th Annual outdoor Henry Fukuhara Workshop. This will be the second time I’ve had the pleasure of doing a demo (Keeler) and the third time i’ve helped with the critique process at this particular workshop. This year I’ll be doing a watercolor demo the morning of Sunday, May 19, on location at the Manzanar Interpretive Center, manzanar, CA. That same afternoon Al Setton and I will share the critique responsibilities for the day.

Based on personal workshop experience as both participant and presenter, I believe his is truly a rare opportunity to be part of a most enjoyable, entertaining, and informative event. Expect to share knowledge with 60 to 80 plus artists of all levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This very economical workshop experience comes highly recommended.

So, I invite you to join us for the 16th Annual Henry Fukuhara Workshop, at Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, Manzanar, and Keeler, California, May 16 to May 20, 2013. This year’s annual event is organized by Al Setton, Shelly Pearson, Dan Dickman, and Phyllis Doyon. Join six workshop artists with over 180 years of combined artistic knowledge and practice. Bill Anderson, Joe Gibere, Woody Hansen, Willie McFarland, Al Setton, and Chris Van Winkle.

Workshop fee is $90 and includes 5 outdoor art demos and 3 indoor critiques of participant work; a workshop Meet and Greet party with the Paige Too band’ group art show at the Thousand Oaks Community Gallery, optional authentic chuck-wagon lunch served at Spanhower Ranch ($17).

Applications available at, call or (310) 663-9582. You may also contact me by my Contact Page.

To learn more about the history of Manzanar, click THIS LINK.

Photo of annual Henry Fukuhara workshop participants (left) and watercolor demonstration (right). Photos by Al Setton
Photos by Al Setton

10th Anniversary

10th Anniversary logo

Today, July 22, 2012, marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of my Free Friday Mini-Workshops. It’s hard to believe ten years have passed. The passing of a decade is cause for a bit of reflection. 

Free Fridays are – with few exceptions – free, outdoor watercolor events offered weekly on Fridays, 52 weeks a year, even during fog, light wind, and;or light rain. The American River Parkway offers a splendid outdoor studio with a wide variety of painting opportunities. Anyone with an interest in watercolor  is invited to attend, to paint, see demonstrations, sketch, ask questions, seek help, share information, etc. Out of town visitors, including vacationers are also welcome.

When I began Free Fridays (as a tribute to George Post, my first watercolor instructor) there weren’t many outdoor painting opportunities in the area. Times change of course, and today the opportunities are many.

The first person to attend Free Fridays was Dorothy Jundt who accidentally discovered me painting, accompanied only by my dog Rio at Sara Park. Dorothy and her daughter were at the river picking blackberries. Dorothy and I found we shared interests in watercolor and the next week Dorothy showed up with her painting equipment. We three had a great time, only Dorothy, Rio, and me.

Gradually a few more joined in each week there were three of us, then four, maybe even up to five at a time. Some hung in there for several weeks, months, even years, but most came and went, especially during fall and winter.

So today, ten years later, not much has changed relative to increased participation. If anything, the numbers and interest seemed to have dwindled. Some weeks it is just my dog, Connor and me (Dorothy and Rio have passed on). Why the lack of enthusiasm? Maybe it’s because (you fill in the blank).

If you’d like more information about Free Fridays, click HERE.


Cantara Composition, an original watercolor by Woody HansenTITLE: Cantara Composition (Mount Shasta, CA.). Original watercolor by Woody Hansen (To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, click image)

This is a recent painting, but was created from a sketch done on location some time ago.

As is my usual approach, I do a small, 4 x 6 in line drawing using a black, felt tip pen. Next, using a graphite pencil I then add a mid-value gray to all shapes except those I want to remain white. Satisfied with the overall shapes and distribution of mid-value gray, I then add my black values, where needed in order to balance out the composition. Some blacks are laid over white shapes, some over black shapes.  This creates a value plan of white, gray, and black.

After line, shape, and value, comes the color decision.  I decide on purple (or as some prefer, violet). From there it seems obvious to follow a secondary color scheme of purple, orange, and green. This brings to mind the Thoreau goal of keeping things, “Simple, simple, simple.”

The mission here is to create a basic, non “fussy” shape painting based, in this case on translation and transgression. No, “Wow, it looks just like a photograph ” here. Mission accomplished.

Questions? Leave a comment, or contact me personally via my Contact Page.   To learn more, please follow THIS LINK.

Value Plan Sequence – Example 1

This is a one-minute video illustrating the sequential development of a simple, preliminary plan or sketch using three, or four values. I find this process helpful in the effort to create an interesting painting. As seen here, he four values include white, black, and two grays. A basic, non-complex plan can go a long way in making the creative process more enjoyable.

Of course, not every painting demands the above approach, but having a plan is helpful in the effort in understanding the initial stages of a painting. To my way of thinking, one aspires to first get the shapes (design of the rectangle) right, then the values right. Once this is accomplished,there is much flexibility with regard to color and the other aspects of painting.

I discuss the value plan process in further detail during my watercolor classes and workshops
Link to class info HERE
Link to workshop info HERE.

Sunny Shasta

September watercolor classes now forming.. For more info click here
Sunny Shasta, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
DETAIL – Sunny Shasta. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

This watercolor is derived from a 4 x 6 inch, three-value plan (white, gray, and black). The value plan is one of several I completed last month in Mt. Shasta, cA.

I selected one of those value plans as the basis for last week’s half-sheet (15″ x 22:) watercolor demonstration at The Market Place, Rancho Cordova, CA.

A felt tipped, permanent black ink pen is used to quickly lay in the basic shapes. I then ask onlookers to suggest two colors I might use to begin the painting. Red and violet are suggested.

Mixtures of red and violet provide about 80 to 90% of the initial color scheme and are added in various amounts in three, separate layers. The drying process of the first two layers is hastened with the use of a hair dryer. . After the first two layers are completed and dried, a third hue, yellow is added to the final layer.

Below is “Sunny Shasta,” as it appeared at the end of the demonstration.
Sunny Shasta: First stage, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen

The next morning I insert the painting into a display frame and set it on an easel for further thought. From time to time I note areas that might use improvement. Some of the suggestions are seen in the image below.
Sunny Shasta, Stage two, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen

Once the areas of concern are completed, I decide to add a horizontal highlight on the surface of the water. The line is taped off, and the color lifted with a wet brush and Kleenex. The area is allowed to dry. Next, the blade of a sharp, knife is used to scratch out a few intense highlights along the line, just to the left of the rock. Those highlights are are intended to bring the viewer’s attention into the painting and toward the intended focal point, the rock formation. The image of the finished painting is seen below.
Sunny Shasta, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen

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