$80 billion art?

Sky full of money

The following CNBC article was brought to my attention recently. I share it here.

Will Artspace Be the Art World’s Amazon.com?

Fine art is an $80 billion global market and the co-founders of Artspace.com think an online marketplace can grab $10 billion to $15 billion of that total. The article goes on to note:

Artspace co-founder, Christopher Vroom said, “As an investment, the contemporary art market and the fine art market more broadly have been an extraordinary place to put money over the past decade. The $1 billion in contemporary art sold at auction last week at Sotheby’s (BID) and Christies lifts the value of other works …”

Sounds good. What do you think? Read more …



I saw this on yahoo this morning. I thought it was interesting, and maybe you would be interested, in case you missed it.

Veteran’s Day, 2012, 13, and 14

Recreated U.S. Flag with button stars
Medium: Collaborative Quilt by physically and mentally challenged artists.

In recognition and appreciation of all veterans, past and present. Thank you for your service.

Arnold Hansen (Uncle). Died at age 18, WWII. US Navy, April 19, 1944. Body lost at sea. Ship: John Straub.

Earlier today (2012) my dog Connor and I took a walk through the neighborhood. The American flag was prominently displayed outside 11 of the 182 homes we passed. While far from a scientific survey, 11 of 182f homes suggests that the U.S. Flag was flown outside .06% of the homes of my friends and neighbors. Lest we forget.

11/11/14: Connor and I, together walked a different part of the neighborhood, this time covering 158 homes. We saw 18 U.S. flags prominently displayed. My math thereby indicates 11% of my friends and neighbors flew the flag on this Veteran’s Day.

“Freedom is never free.” -Author Unknown

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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.

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.

Walking On Sunshine

See my next watercolor demo, Saturday, Feb. 26, at 12 noon. Directions and more info hereDetail of Walking On Sunshine De, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
Walking On Sunshine. DETAIL. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

This painting is the result of my demo last Sunday at The Market Place in Rancho Cordova. A personal thanks to those who attended. The demo provided a pleasant opportunity to meet with a supportive group of new and old friends who share my interest in the glories of watercolor.

Walking ON Sunshine arrived by a rather serendipitous route. In actuality there are two versions of this painting. This is the second of the two. I plan to post the first version, Cold River Day, in the near future. I will note that the first version began without a preliminary value plan. More about that later. For now, it might be of interest that I used a value plan for Walking On Sunshine.. In this case I based the second painting (Walking On Sunshine) on a value plan I created (see below) from the first painting (Cold River Dauy).

Sketch for Walking On Sunshine De, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen

I created the value plan (roughly, 5′ x 7″)specifically for the demo to help illustrate the importance of shape and value. I had decided to start the second version and then finish with the first version. The weather outside was cold and damp so I didn’t expect I’d have the drying time I needed between layers to complete the painting in the manner I wanted, etc. To my surprise the painting dried much faster than anticipated, a result – no doubt – due to the indoor warmth of The Market Place.

The demo painting was not going as well as I wanted. At some point I set it aside not expecting it to dry. in time to continue I was not overly pleased with its current state and said as much. I then spent a few minutes talking about the painting process, the use of value, etc. After only a few minutes I returned to the painting not expecting to work on it. As sis often the case with watercolor, letting it dry on its own worked to my advantage. I was surprised to see a painting I liked. On the spur of the moment I decided all it needed was the addition of some calligraphy. I became so enthused I “attacked” the painting with much gusto. The line work went on quite rapidly.

At this point I decided the work would benefit from the addition of figures. So, I quickly drew in two figures, added some color to them and “presto,” the painting was finished. Oh, yes,someone in the audience (Bondi Abraham, I believe) suggested I add a few of “your birds.” It see,ed like a good idea, so I added a few flying fauna to finish the painting.

Moral: Watercolor painting … Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. You be the judge, I already know my opinion.

As noted earlier, I plan on posting the first version of this painting in the near future. As I used to say, back in my radio days … “Stay tuned for further developments.”

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

Cow Pie Awards

New Indoor Watercolor Classes Begin Sept. 8. All levels welcome. Learn more HERE!
Detail of Cow Pie Awards, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen
Cow Pie Awards. DETAIL. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
(Click image to view entire painting)

Cow Pie Awards was painted the afternoon of the second day of three, Plein Air Days at this year’s California State Fair. It was painted shortly after walking through one of the livestock buildings on the fair grounds. The premise of the painting had been germinating for many weeks. The sights and smells within the livestock building helped solidify my thoughts.

For several years the fair has hosted Plein Air Days. It is a time set aside for selected painters to create their works, outdoors among fair visitors. The original, non-competitive nature of Plein Air Days At The Fair seems like a commendable idea. This was my third season of participation. For the most part, i’ve found the experience worthwhile and positive.

This year someone, or some committee, decided to turn Plein Air Days into a competition. I assume this was done on the basis of solid reasoning, and accomplished with the best of intentions. Furthermore, I assume some of my fellow painters welcomed an opportunity to win award money. However, as many decisions in life, there is an up side and a down side.

I find the change troublesome. As a result, I participated in the three day affair, but did not submit any work for the competition. By doing so I prevented myself from having even the slightest chance at award money or possible sales. Admittedly,not smart and a very poor business decision on my part. Spinning wheels and tilting windmills.

I should note that realistically, in three days of outdoor painting I didn’t produce much that a state fair juror would recognize as worthy of an award. Then too,even though I’m pleased with Cow Pie Awards, it appears more political cartoon than painting (no disrespect intended).

I realize the award process is a large part of all state fairs. We have, of course, a juried event at the main state fair art show. Fair enough. No problem with the basic idea. And, frankly, I have a tendency to be as competitive as the next person. In some cases, even more so … to a fault. That noted, I definitely enjoyed the non-competitiveness of yesteryear’s Plein Air Days. I also understand the only constant is change. Still, the jury process being what it is, I believe it would be reasonable to expect one art event at the fair to promotes art appreciation over judgement.

Cow Pie Awards was painted with an intention of placing it in the competition. Awards aside, I wanted a personal statement seen and point of view presented. However, people whose judgement I respect cautioned me that Cow Pie Awards might be viewed as offensive. As the saying goes, “hog-wash!” Yet as I was about to walk out the door the early morning of the third and last day of Plein Air Days, I made a split second decision. I intentionally left this painting in the studio. Regrettably, a kind of self-censorship. The worst kind.

Arguably, I suppose a high stakes robbery, and the shooing of a pregnant cow is enough fair controversy for one year. The good news? I hear fair attendance was up somewhere around ten percent.

For pricing, and availability, click here

American Anthem 2010

All that we’ve been given by those who came before …
Nora Jones American Anthem Image
American Anthem – Sung by Nora Jones
(Click image to see video and hear audio)

Why an image of Nora Jones on Memorial Day?
1. I’ve posted it before. It bears repeating on this special day.
2. View the short video.
3. In memory of my uncle, Arnold Hansen, cousin Harold Loch, and fellow veterans, present and past. Arnold died at age 18, WWII, US Navy, April 19, 1944. Body lost at sea. Ship: John Straub. Harold Loch (11/05/31-12/11/98), received the Korean War Veteran Medal of Honor on June 22, 1996, and carried the price of freedom to his natural death..
4. Thank you, Nora Jones. I cannot imagine the song being presented any better; a wonderful blend of art and craft. Album available on iTunes.

Apparently, the military is denying benefits to physically wounded soldiers, claiming their wounds were caused by a “Personality Disorder.” Being discharged with this pre-existing condition means no disability benefits and no long-term medical care. Regardless of how you feel about these wars, it is shameful how we turn our backs on our wounded soldiers. Write your representatives in Congress and let them know this deplorable behavior is disgraceful and must be stopped. More 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

Runyon River

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

Here is a painting of a river that is, yet isn’t. Or, maybe it is a painting of a river that isn’t, yet is.

Runyon River is a fictitious name I’ve given the preliminary sketch – value plan done along the banks of the American River in Sacramento, California. That title makes no sense, right? Right, but it gives me a great excuse to use the opening lines of this post. Then too, if I were to write the real reason for the title it would probably come out sounding self serving and, overly sentimental or serious. So, Runyon River it is.

The painting features an analogous color scheme of green, blue, and violet, with a bit of grey (or gray) thrown in for good measure. The composition is of the standard landscape type of overlapping planes (foreground, mid-ground, and background). A rather basic approach, but effective just the same. It reminds one of the saying, “Keep it simple stupid.”

My Colors: Gregariously Greedy Green, Bountiful Bashful Blue, Vicariously Vicious Violet, and Middle-of-the-Road Gray Grey.
My Paper: Unstretched 140 pound, Cold Press,Winsor & Newton.

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