Image of  Woody Hansen watercolor, , A Rose IS A Rose Title: ROSE IS A ROSE – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more about this painting, including purchase information, click on image.


A Rose Is A Rose, provides an interesting study of how a non-objective painting can evolve into the suggestion of a recognizable subject. In this way the work becomes not a non-objective watercolor, but one of a more abstract nature.

A Rose Is A Rose, begins free-hand,Without a priliminary  pencil sketch, or value plan, and with no other objective except to served as a class demonstration of one of the ways a shape painter might approach the creation of a non-objective painting. However, about half way through the process I begin to see the suggestion of possible subject matter. When this occurs, I’ve learned it is often wisest to either “destroy” any semblance of subject, or “go with the flow” and see what develops.

In this case, I conclude this might be an excellent learning opportunity, both for myself and the class as well. So, out with the objective of non-objectivity and in with a goal of abstraction.

As I perceive A Rose Is A Rose, the viewer is looking outward through a window of some sort, bordered on each side by drapes of a predominantly green hue. It is a bright, sunny, warm day enjoyed by a bit of red, flora which compliments the green drapery. A few harmonious, green leaves gently float into view adding a feeling of texture to the overall composition.

The flora could be of any garden variety the viewer might imagine, but for me, the flower of choice must be a rose. “When all is said and done, a thing is what it is.”  Or, one might say, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” At the risk of opening Pandora’s Box (or jar), I ask the reader, “Can you smell it?”

Ah, well…okay, there is always hope.


The Internet offers a wonderfully powerful  tool with which to work. Thanks to today’s amazing technology, a wealth of information is but a few clicks away. Instant informative gratification is at our fingertips.

It’s fun to randomly select a word or phrase aimed at a bit of research. The process can be informative, and an effective method of refreshing one’s memory of previous lessons learned.  For example,  if we Google (or Yahoo) the phrase, “A rose is a rose” we come up with a variety of explanations and opinions.

I select the explanation provided at the web site, The Phrase Generator, “The meaning most often attributed to this is the notion that when all is said and done, a thing is what it is. This is in similar vein to Shakespeare’s ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’.”

The site further clarifies that the phrase’s author interprets the phrase, “Rose is a rose is a rose” differently. “The line is from Gertrude Stein’s poem Sacred Emily, written in 1913 and published in 1922, in Geography and Plays. The verbatim line is actually, ‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose’:


Want to learn watercolor, or brush upon your skills? Check out my upcoming watercolor classes and workshops.

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I’m pleased to announce I now have two paintings represented in the Inland Empire Museum of Art’s collection. Both, River Royalty and Sticking Point are seen elsewhere on this blog. Both may be seen either on this blog (above), or as part of the following exhibition.

ANNOUNCING the Inland Empire Museum of Art‘s first exhibition of its entire collection; featuring over 125 artists and more than 200 works of art. Many prominent artists are represented from the Inland Empire , throughout California and beyond. 

Millard Sheets Art Center
1101 West McKinley Avenue
Pomona, CA. 91768
tlcfairplex.org/sty * 909865-4161

Opening reception: April 12th 2:30-5:00pm.
Exhibition Dates: April 11-May 3 
Gallery Open: Wed.-Sun. 11 -4pm

IEMA Collection OpeningOpening View of Exhibition Collection (above)*IEMA collection Public ViewingCollection on public View (above)*

*Photos courtesy of Gene Sasse


Want to learn more about watercolor, or brush upon your skills? Check out my upcoming watercolor classes and workshops.

You’re invited to visit my WEB SITE, www.woodyhansen.com



Joyful Happiness, Original watercolor painting by Woody HansenJOYFUL HAPPINESS – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more about this painting, including purchase information, click on image.


There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door. – Marla Gibbs

Since this post promotes the concept of happy accident I can’t agree that a there “are no accidents.” However, I do support  the second part of the quote.

I’ve found that if one paints often enough he is sure to have an infrequent “happy accident.” By that i mean that frequency of painting almost guarantees, at the least, an occasional painting success. So it is with Joyful Happiness. Definitely a result of one or more happy accidents.

“There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.” – Bob Ross

To use a sports metaphor, one can’t score if he doesn’t shoot. Anyone who has played basketball, on what ever level, knows in his heart that successful scoring is a combination of practice, skill, and occasional happy accidents. Some nights, some games it is almost as if one simply can’t miss a shot. Sports casters often refer to this as a player having a”hot hand.”Something similar applies to creative watercolor painting and happy accidents.

Outstanding offensive basketball players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, Bobby Jackson,  and LeBron James know that skill, and experience combined with “happy accidents” play an important role in their on court success. Professional ball players don’t hesitate taking the risk of missing a basket or two, or three, or more!.

When experiencing  a cold spell, these ball players, and others,  keep shooting because they know it’s only a matter of time until the  “hot hand” returns. Call it what you will. However, I suggest this phenomena is–for the most part–a welcome happy accident.

The above painting, Joyful Happiness, came about during a demonstration for a class of optimistic, positive minded, and supportive students. No negativity here, just eager beavers filled with joyful happiness of having the luxury to practice and learn the art of watercolor painting. On this particular day, I felt like I had the “hot hand,” as stroke after stroke, mark after mark, just seemed to fall into place. Happy accidents in action. Lucky me.

Real biologists who actually do the research will tell you that they almost never find a phenomenon, no matter how odd or irrelevant it looks when they first see it, that doesn’t prove to serve a function. The outcome itself may be due to small accidents of evolution.
E. O. Wilson


Want to learn watercolor, or brush upon your skills? Check out my upcoming watercolor classes and workshops.

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The Bright Side, original nonobjective watercolor by Woody HansenTHE BRIGHT SIDE – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more about this painting, including purchase information, click on image.


Relative to Fine Art one might ask, What is creativity, how do we recognize it, and what is its real worth?

Many consider Rollo May’s book, The Courage To Create, something akin to the artist’s creative bible.

“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. ”– Rollo May

I recently spent a few enjoyable hours searching the Internet for definitions and opinions of creativity. I came up with a wealth of material some of which follows.


1. The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Synonyms: Inventiveness, imagination, innovation, innovativeness, originality, individuality; artistry, inspiration, vision; enterprise, initiative. (SOURCE: (Google)

2. The quality of being creative. First known use of the term CREATIVITY, 1875. (SOURCE: Merriam Webster Dictionary

3. The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.(SOURCE: Oxford Dictionaries

Of course the above definitions raise the highly subjective and controversial question of what qualifies as an “artistic work.” When a work is considered artistic, do we automatically label it creative? Are all creative works artistic? To what degree are artistic works creative, or vice versa? What do the famous and not so famous think about creativity?  As the saying goes, “Stay tuned.”

Continue reading


Shazam, a unique watercolor by Woody Hansen

 Shazam  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.


What helps make a painting special, or unique? Furthermore, how would one go  about developing uniqueness? Ask several people in the field of art and you will receive many different answers. You will come away with little agreement. Art is, after all highly subjective. There are many avenues on the road to uniqueness. What follows is just one of those avenues.

First, let’s define what is meant by the word, unique. According to the Meriam-Webster dictionary,  unique is, “…Something or someone that is unlike anything or anyone else; very special or unusual; belonging to or connected with only one particular thing, place, or person.”


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To label something unique is not necessarily a positive or negative comment on its artistic or professional worthiness. Something can be poorly crafted, or visually chaotic, yet each is unique in a negative way. For the purpose of this post, we’ll attempt to take the high road.

In the case of Shazam, it is not necessarily the end result that is unique; it is the process that is unique. Is there something to be learned from the process? Can the reader adapt this method to create his own unique work of art? Read on.


First, it is best to never discard, tear up, or in any way destroy those paintings we personally, and shortsightedly, deem as clinkers, stinkers, dogs, etc. Save them dear friend, save them. We all have them, some of us have more than others. Carefully place these stinkers in a stack for reflection weeks, months, or even years from now. In time, some of these discards might turn into unique jewels in waiting. Time heals all failed watercolors, for failure does not have to be permanent.

Shazam, began on October, 21, 2011. Its original life ended in a matter of hours, or days. It was deemed a failure. It was not touched again until about two weeks shy of three years when it began its resurrection. At that point, it was only a ;matter of days before it was finished and signed with much personal satisfaction.


I no longer recall why I was originally dissatisfied with the painting, nor do I recall if the initial attempt was one of abstraction, or non-objectivity. It matters not the original intention, only the final outcome matters. The best thing I did years ago, was to have the good sense to set the painting aside to possibly live another day.

What if in a state of anger, dissatisfaction, or depression I had permanently destroyed it? What if, at the time, my inability to carry it to an acceptable conclusion those many years ago? The lesson learned is to avoid the temptation to think of one’s work as inadequate, unworthy of even lining the proverbial birdcage.

Regardless of one’s opinion of Shazam’s outcome, the initial stages of failure so many months ago provide the basis, the setup, the spring board  for what, to me, has become a satisfactory completion of the initial work. Along this theme, a couple of old songs of yesterday come to mind, High Hopes and Never Give Up.


The title is an afterthought. The name is not derived from a current mobile application. Older readers, and some younger ones as well, might recognize the unintentional resemblance of the iconic, bright, yellow  symbol on the uniform of superhero, Captain Marvel, who has the ability to fight various forms of evil.

Captain Marvel LINK: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071050/The Old Philosopher:https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo.DZED5UGXoAKKH7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTEwZHVmbG5uBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE4MQRncG9zAzEw?p=the+old+song%2C+never+give+up+the+ship&vid=a20a67db0a72e8b9a517aa163cccdbef&l=3%3A11&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608045843329715418%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DpOhKqWMhVVI&tit=%3Cb%3EThe+Old+%3C%2Fb%3EPhilosopher+Eddie+Lawrence&c=5&sigr=11avst5k9&sigt=119lqessa&age=0&&tt=b

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NMO ARGO – A Watercolor Progression

Watercolor progression photo #8 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen NMOmo Argo  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.


NMO Argo, begins on a half-sheet of 140-pound, cold press watercolor paper. In this particular case. work is accomplished on a level surface. A large, flat watercolor brush is loaded with Manganese Blue and Cyan, then the paint is encouraged to drip on areas of the paper, combined with a bit of a splattering and flicking motion.

The large brush, held by the tip of the handle, is slowly dragged over the surface during various stages of wetness. This is done in an attempt to create interesting shapes that  help to relate various parts of the composition to one another.

Paint is removed, scratched away, in a few selected areas. This is done to help create “repeats’  of similar marks in blue, and to open spaces and add interest. A brush handle is used to make rapid, assured,  scratch marks in three places.  These marks can be seen starting in the lower left area and progressing diagonally toward the upper right of the painting.

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Once the initial layer of paint dries, the same, large brush is used to, here and there, apply a light tint of the same colors as used previously. This further helps bring various areas together. NMO Argo, is allowed to dry once again before proceeding.

Work continues using a large, flat brush loaded with transparent, Magenta paint. This layer of Magenta color carves out a continuous shape, encompassing the bottom, left, and right areas of the composition.

The painting is thus divided in to two basic shapes with the larger shape dominating the smaller blue and white area in the upper portion of the main, 15 x 22 inch rectangle.

At this point a permanent, black ink pen is used to divide the dominate shape into three, linked shapes. To visually add variety to the three, relatively equal shapes a transparent layer of Cyan is applied to the left and right shapes. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #2 of 8 for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


The red is warmed and further intensified by a combination of colors in two or three layers. Each layer is allowed to become bone dry before adding an additional layer. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #3, of 8 for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


The large area on the left could stand some variety. How about that small shape in the lower left corner. What would happen if that color was intensified? To accomplish this with transparent watercolor, the existing paint must first be removed, lifted, from the area.

The small shape is ;masked off and the paint “lifted,”, while being careful not to overly disturb the hills and valleys of the paper surface. This procedure is done in about three stages, Each stage allowed to dry completely before continuing to the next, and so on.

The masking  is removed, and the shape is repainted a bright red, to closely match the larger middle section to the right, lower middle. The same red, value and hue is added to a small area in the left of the painting.

Now the eye is entertained by the place meant and size of the bright red areas. his is noticeable in the upper left, lower left, and lower middle of the painting. Next, surface variety and texture is heightened  by the addition of black line in the form of calligraphy. (see below).

Watercolor progression photo #4 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


There is something bothersome with the upper part of the lower, middle shape. How about overlapping and lengthening the direction of the black line at the upper end of the left side of that middle shape?

The obvious solution might be to extend the black line further by simply adding more line. However, using a contrasting white line might be more entertaining. How to go about that?

One solution might be to add a red shape divided by the continuation of a white line. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #5 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


How best to encourage the further development of NMO Argo? Two, of many, options are considered. The first option, is to allow the shape on the right to remain as is and develop the diagonal downward thrust of the three, bright red shapes. This would allow for a purposely unbalance motif (see above). The other option is noticed by a class participant who asks, “What about developing the shape suggested in the upper right like you did in the lower left?” Could this be a case of two heads being better than one?

Either approach appears valid. Option one would create a desirable sense of informal balance, however this would seem to leave the right side of the painting less interesting and lacking the entertainment than the more formally balanced left side. Of course, there are positives and negatives to either choice. I decide in favor of the second option. Problem solving; exactly the kind of thing that makes painting enjoyable.

So, a decision is made to lift the implied shape in the upper right side to allow the color to be intensified using the method employed earlier with the smaller shape in the lower left side (see above, Stage 3).

After lifting the color, and before the mask is removed, the area is over-painted with me more intense red hue.  (below).

Watercolor progression photo #6 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


The basic hue of the larger, right and left shapes are changed from red to purple by adding a transparent layer of cyan over the red. NOTE: These two shapes, seen above, appear a darker value than what they were at the time of the photograph.

To add entertainment, a large, flat brush is loaded with transparent yellow. More opaque, Cadmium Yellow could have been used, but the yellow of choice in this case is a transparent, Lemon Yellow. Drips and splatter are added with care, stopping now and then to evaluate the overall pattern and effect.

The large, yellow drip in the lower right corner is an accident, but my, oh my, what a WONDERFUL accident. I could have removed it instantly with tissue. Years ago I most certainly would have. However, I have learned to embrace happy accidents. They are the jewels of painting. Contrary to popular, and much of academic opinion, there is simply no perfection in art. As Frank Webb asks, “Whose perfect?”

Try covering that yellow spot with your hand. Hopefully, you will agree how very, very important that happy accident is to the success of the painting. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #7 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


To help unify the yellow splatter, the same transparent yellow is applied over the predominately blue and white shape in the upper, center of the painting. The yellow layer placed over blue turns the blue to green and provides an attractive primary contrast of red against green, warm next to cool.

The yellow area also provided an additional primary counterpoint, contrast, conflict,  of yellow against purple, warm against cool, that visually stimulates and excites the eye. Ah, entertainment!  It is fascinating to note  how one color has the potential to energize, and positively affect, an entire painting.

Additional calligraphic line work is added to the yellow-green shape specifically, and to a few  other areas in the  painting as well. Next, various color areas of the painting are intensified by adding additional layers of related, intense color .

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with this watercolor.

Watercolor progression photo #8 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen


I’ve commented on various methods of titling paintings in previous posts, so I’ll only note that this title is typical for me, in that it  came after the work was completed.

In the process of giving the work a title I became fascinated by that little shape in the bottom, left of the painting. After the fact, it reminds me, ironically of a slightly misshapen bug of some kind that unnoticed, ever so slowly creeps upward on its journey of destruction. Or, could it simply be on a journey of discovery? So, we ponder the old, question, “Is the glass half full, or is it half empty?”

Not wishing to be melodramatic, I must note that Nmo Argo, unexpectedly ends up being a work of unique, personal meaning. It began without a plan, without a direction, but evolved in a way that cannot be duplicated. It is not an abstract painting, it is a non-objective painting that came from I know not where. It is a painting, not an illustration. During its creative journey it evolved beyond my greatest expectations. That’s how I feel about it tonight. Tomorrow might be an entirely different story.

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TWISTED TREE 2014 – Original Watercolor

Image of Twisted Tree 2014, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen Twisted Tree 2014  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.



I observe the potential of a very large piece of watercolor paper which serves to protect the table tops of the classroom area. This piece in particular has many marks that have resulted over weeks, even months of student painting. The marks are of a random variety, a form of scattered painting residue. Some marks are pure accident, unplanned, without forethought. This will be the basis, the creative foundation for what becomes, Twisted Tree 2014.

After carefully selecting a smaller area, the larger paper is trimmed to half sheet size (15 x 22). This will be the starting point of the painting.  Now what to do? Is there a plan, an idea, a sketch, a direction in mind? Will the approach to Twisted Tree 2014,  be abstract or non-objective? The answer is “no,”for the former, and “yes” for the latter. See below …

Watercolor Class

Though often creatively studied and given thought, this sheet of paper sits in a state of limbo for several weeks as other painting opportunities take PRECEDENT. Eventually, a plan of action  develops for ,Twisted Tree 2014.

At the end of each day in which we paint in class, participants dispose of their left over water  residue by dumping it into a larger container to be properly disposed of at a later time. Of course this water contains a multitude of colored pigments, that most often become a dark, muddy  residue. Over time the water (unfit for plants) evaporates. This results in the various pigments settling to the bottom of the container where they eventually return to powder form.

An idea forms. What if the muddy-colored powder, is combined with clear water, and then applied to the aforementioned piece of paper? Might this make the beginning of an interesting painting demonstration? With this process in mind, the biggest hurdle is overcome. Time to turn thought into action.


,The beginning process of Twisted Tree 2014, is that of creating interesting “marks on paper. Thought is given to the few initial strokes, their direction, and possible free-form results. Then, with the paper and board level, without hesitation the strokes are made, dripping wet paint onto dry paper.

The first strokes of Twisted Tree 2014,are made quickly, without hesitation, yet slow enough so  the marks will likely avoid a break, and have in a linear, or line quality about them. The painting board is then tilted at various angles to allow the paint to run, to find its own path. The process is that of suggestion, to facilitate, to encourage, but not to expect total control.


Next, the brush is held in a vertical manner, point down,and held at various positions while encouraging the paint to drip from the belly of the brush to its tip and onto the paper below. The size of the drips can be somewhat controlled by the distance between brush tip and paper. A few, quick, diagonal scratch-like marks are made  to open up the larger, round drip in the lower, upper right quadrant of the painting. See below …Watercolor Class
                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer STEP 5 – THE MOTIF

To this point in the process the approach is thought of as being non-objective in nature. However, the basis of a possible landscape becomes apparent. Almost instantly, non-objectivity is jettisoned. A decision is made to further develop the painting toward a landscape motif, or what will become, Twisted Tree 2014.

With the addition of calligraphy, the large, slightly diagonal, vertical mark on the left side of the paining becomes a solid, mature tree trunk., while the mark on the right side becomes a spindly, airy, smaller, but determined, tree shape. Contrast. See below …

                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer

The dominate color of Twisted Tree 2014, is warm yellow. This dominance, this exaggeration, is further enhanced by the application of yellow hued paint, in selected areas of the painting. The faint, gray, suggestion of a mountain shape is applied  to the background, along with addition of decorative, loose, calligraphic line work. Additional line work can be seen in the tree areas, and in the suggestion of an imaginary fence line along the horizon. See  below …

                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer

A cooler, yellow sky is added to Twisted Tree 2014. Selected areas are intensified with the use of transparent, yellow, orange, red, and gray hues. Sky ;and mountain shapes make use of the powerful principle of gradation. The areas around the three,larger, dark, circular shapes are masked off. Then,  to open up those flat, looking circular areas, or shapes, opaque white is drizzled, light over dark.  Care is taken to make sure the white drizzles are loosely contained within the intended areas of the composition. See below …

Progression image of Twisted Tree 2014 by  Woody Hansen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer

As is the case in several of the previous steps, the painting is set aside, allowed to dry, studied, and evaluated  over time. Areas are then lightened, darkened. Compositional adjustments are made with the use of value, color and calligraphy. See below…

Image of Twisted Tree 2014, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen


The creation of Twisted Tree 2014, was an extremely pleasant experience. The painting may appear haphazard in application. However within the original free-form framework, there is more control and thought given to the process than what might first be noticed by the untrained – or even  the trained – eye. Watercolor is a wonderfully creative medium, if given it’s freedom to share in the act of artistic creation.

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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

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Seasonal Surprise – Watercolor

TITLE: Seasonal Surprise. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen  (To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, click image)

Seasonal Surprise begins outdoors, during a Free Friday session on the American River Parkway. However, location means little, as this painting could begin anywhere, in any environment, any town or city, be it indoors or outdoors. In this case, stimulus is provided by just being outdoors, the smell of fresh air, birds singing, ducks quacking; no distractions of yard work, things to do, promotion, places to go, people to see, marketing, taxes, Facebook posts, tweets, television, etc.

The creative approach is to begin a loose, non-objective composition, using a large, flat, brush on 140 pound paper. The main elements of concern are shape, value, and color. I paint quickly, without over thinking the process in attempting to make interesting marks on the surface while keeping options open. After some time passes, the painting is set aside to dry and work begins on another watercolor. Seasonal Surprise leaves the parkway in an unfinished state.

Next comes a period of evaluation in the studio. I consider possible options. This process can take minutes, hours, days, or even weeks. It is not a non stop, start to finish approach. Eventually, shapes are laid on top of shapes. Do I stay the course toward a totally non-objective approach, or do I push the painting toward recognizable subject matter? Time will tell.

Gradually, a direction emerges. Surprise! Possible subject matter begins to evolve. I see an interesting, colorful composition, perhaps an impression suggesting an arrangement of flowers bathed in sunlight? Now, it is just a matter of pushing it in the right direction, not over doing it, and of course – as always – the hard part of knowing when to quit.

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

CCAA Museum Exhibition: Altered Prisms

Image of Altered Prisms Exhibition postcard

I’ve been invited to participate in the CCAA Museum of Art’s unique exhibition, Altered Prisms, Shifting Perceptions. Six of my recent watercolors are among the paintings on display.

Altered Prisms: Shifting Perceptions
October 12 – November 18, 2012
Reception: October 21, 2:00-4:30 pm
12467 Base Line Road
Rancho Cucamonga, CA. 91739

Come experience the opening reception in the Jospeh Filippi Winery where the CCAA Museum is located. Enjoy some wine tasting as you explore the exhibit.

When the show’s curator, Gene Sasse asked me to participate I was initially reluctant. Compared to others in the exhibition, my current limitations seem minimal. However, Gene is a persistent fellow and eventually changed my mind.

Then too, I don’t want to mist an opportunity to show alongside, eighteen year-old Kevin Mount a young autistic artist who I believe is extremely talented. Over many months I have come to know Kevin as a multi-talented, energetic, and  inspiring watercolorist who exemplifies, in every way the term “artist.”

Many of us go through life being relatively unaware of our physical and mental gifts. These gifts are so much a part of our every day life that we unknowingly take them  for granted, until some unfortunate event forces physical, and/or mental limitations. These limitations can be brick walls that forever alter our life and the lives of those closest to us. Randy Pausch provides a bit of insight:

Brick walls are there for a reason, they give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” – Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon University professor (The Last Lecture)

We are faced with hurdles every day, some seemingly insurmountable. But if we adjust our thinking, those brick walls are easier to scale and, in some cases can embellish our life and art, and even provide a positive shift in attitude, a renewed and greater appreciation for what we can accomplish. In other words, life can sometimes provide an altered prism.

For more information and a preview of the exhibition and its participants, please follow THIS LINK.