Swansea Shack, Swansea, CA. Original watercolor painting by Woody Hansen
Title: SWANSEA SHACK – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more about this painting, including purchase information, click on image.


The registration for the 20th Manzanar Workshop founded by Henry Fukuhara (1913 to 2010), will be held from Thursday May 18th to Monday May 22nd, 2017. This year’s title: “Henry and Friends: A Legacy of Giving Back”.

This workshop will feature five days in the Owens Valley. There will be an emphasis on giving back to teachers and to the art community, our cadre of friends-of-Henry volunteer- artists will provide a total of eight demos and three critiques.

The list of artist instructors for 2017 includes: Dave Deyell, Dan Dickman, Phyl Doyon, Woody Hansen, Ron Libbrecht, Rea Nagel, David Peterson, Albert Setton. All have painted with Henry. Shelly Pearson will be the On-site Greeter, Facilitator and Energy Center. Weather permitting, workshop participants will gather at Alabama Hills, Diaz Lake, Keeler, Manzanar, and Owens Lake. Continue reading


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.

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



18th Annual Henry Fukuhara Memorial Workshop. Photo of Manzanar Cemetery


May 14 to May 18, 2015
For enrollment info visit www.alsetto.com
Click on “Artist At Work,” then “Manzanar Application.” O, call 9310) 663-9582


John Barnard 
Dam Dickman
Phyl Doyan 
JoAnn Formia   
Ron Lebrech   
Al Setton


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


GEORGIA PACIFIC – Watercolor Landscape

Watercolor of Georgia Pacific, Fort Bragg, CA. Painting by Woody HansenGeorgia Pacific  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.

This painting begins on location, August 10, 2004, at the former Georgia Pacific Mill Site in Fort Bragg, California. For what ever reason, the painting remains in an unfinished state over the next ten years. Eventually, it is resurrected and given new life as the basis for a recent class demonstration.

Unfortunately, the original pencil-and-ink value plan is no longer available. So, perhaps this digital re-creation will serve to illustrate the approximate process of creating a “rough” version of the original, hand drawn, value plan

After photographing the finished Georgia Pacific painting, the image is de-saturated, scanned, and printed in grayscale. Next, a contour line drawing is traced over  the printed image. Once the line drawing is complete it is scanned, and opened in Photoshop, where three separate values are added one step at a time. The steps are seen below.

STEP 1 – THE COMPOSITIONGeorgia Pacific value Plan, Step 1

STEP 2 – Light Gray (below)

There are several ways of creating a value plan. However, I most often begin my plan by assigning light gray to everything except my white shapes.  This is usually accomplished with a pencil. Although, in this re-creation, a digital, light gray accomplishes close to the same thing.  (below)Georgia Pacific value Plan, Step 2

STEP 3 – Medium Gray (below)


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

A medium gray value is assigned to various pieces of the composition. The medium gray value is applied directly over the light gray. Georgia Pacific value Plan, Step 3

STEP 4 – Dark Gray (below)

In this step, dark gray is added over selected light gray areas. Georgia Pacific value Plan, Step 5

During the actual painting process each of these generalized values can be given greater variety by breaking them into three closely related values. An example would be the lightest values can be thought of as light-light, medium-light, and dark-light. The shapes of medium value can be broken into useful values of light-medium, medium-medium, and dark-medium, etc.

This type of approach is not meant to be followed in a strict,  rigid manner. There is always room for variety and flexibility as the painting process develops and evolves into its final state.

For purchase information, go HERE.

CHECKERBOARD – Watercolor Landscape

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


This watercolor landscape painting began about two years and one month ago. For what ever reason (probably dissatisfaction), it was not touched again until 9/22/2014, when I decided to use it for a class demonstration. The goal of this post is to illustrate the importance of patience.


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


Work continued on 9/24/2014, before Checkerboard is finished and signed on 10/1/2014.

The basis of the watercolor, Checkerboard, comes entirely from the imagination, an improvised compilation of previously observed shapes, scenery, flora, etc. No reference material is used, no photographs, sketches, or value plan. No pencil “cartoon” or sketch on the paper prior to beginning. The composition, as I see it, is that of a checkerboard pattern. Thus, the title.


Originally, the watercolor painting began wet into wet, on 140 pound, cold press paper. Once bone dry, the process was continued wet on dry. Most work was accomplished with flat brushes, although a round brush was used toward the end of the work.   I had some thoughts of adding black line during the final stages, but I ended up thinking the line was not needed. It’s really a judgment call on my part. Then too, there is that famous time honored watercolor saying,”Less is more.”

For purchase information, go HERE.

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.

For purchase information, go HERE.

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.

For purchase information, go HERE.

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.

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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, www.jan-wright.com; John Barnard, ww.wjohnbarnard.com; Al Setton, www.alsetton.com; Dani Dodge, www.danidodge.com; Phyl Doyon, www.phyllisdoyon.com.

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 michelep11@verison.net, or contact Al at 1 (310) 428-0051. Email: alsetton64@gmail.com.

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

ª I invite you to visit my WEB SITE, www.woodyhansen.com