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Preview: Painting My Way Through Life

Painting My Way Through Life - Marc R. Hanson

The painting blog of Marc R. Hanson

Updated: 2018-03-06T15:03:12.697-06:00




I'm having a hard time getting here to write... but will.  One reason is all the outside of painting, extra paint-icular activities business related that take so much time.  If only we could "just" paint.

One of those activities had to be to figure out how badly I overbooked workshops, painting events, life in general.  Not too bad, I seem to have some breathing room in between scheduled teaching and painting gigs.

So for now, although there will probably be an addition or two to this list soon, this is my 2017 Workshop Schedule.  If you find one of interest on the list, there is a link under each one listed that will get you to a website where you can look up my workshop.  You will need to copy and paste it into your browser window as they are not hyperlinked, this is a .jpeg.  Some may take you to an overall workshop page, some more directly to my workshop listing, and some may not be up just yet.  In that case, contact the organization about the workshop.

I hope to see you at one of these classes in 2017... Thank you!

“Not everyone who drinks is a poet. Some of us drink because we're not poets.” ― Dudley Moore


I'm not painting today because I am getting supplies ready for an intense week of painting coming up.  I am listening to music, music that is full of soul and poetry.  Doing that is not easy when the beloved creators of the music, who have shared with us their heartfelt genius and allowed us to pour the sound waves into our own life space, are gone.

We've lost two more, Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell.  Perhaps two different beings in many ways.  But both of them have given us their Art, their Poetry; poetry that is likely to be with us long after we ourselves are gone.  

R.I.P ... Leon and Leonard.

Hummingbird - Leon Russell
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Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
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Day 2 AF (After Facebook)


Is there a 12 step program to help with the shaking, sore stomach, feeling left out, sweats, slipping in and out of consciousness, the lack of desire to be alive that leaving Facebook has wrought?

Ok... That's just bullshit.  Just kidding.  But I do admit to feeling a little lost yesterday without the comfort (comfort meaning the contact with people I actually do know, but who live long distances away) of the familiar wake ups, the daily grinding out you all do, and the familiar rants and arguments that never seem to change.  There is comfort in all of that.

Comfort is my son, Freddy with an ice cream cone.  He's expressing exactly how I am feeling. 

But let me tell you what "comfort" really is, if you don't mind? (see photo above of my son)  Comfort is not waking up feeling like you MUST go and see what is going on there, it's heading out early to paint, to rake leaves, to see the day move a little more slowly because time isn't being measured by the opening of an app or website to watch what others are up to.  It's time to listen to music, to think about life, and to write about it.

Simply, it's the sweet time of becoming more involved in your own life more than in others' lives.

It's so ridiculous to think of what FB has become to so many of us.  Yesterday I was remembering back to a time without it, not too long ago in fact, when you had to either go see people IRL, or write an email, or talk on a phone, to make the connections you needed to make.

That's where I am again, enjoying the space from the feeds.  But I do also now have a nice little café, called Instagram, to hang out in when the art fix is needed.  All y'all (I'm trying) artists are feed for the soul.  Glad to see you there!

How to get photos on the computer to Instagram!


Sometimes someone says something to help you out that is worth a big hug!  If I knew her, I'd give fellow artist and blogger, Jessica Kirby, one right now!  I asked in the comments on the previous post if there was a way to get higher quality photos off of the computer, onto Instagram from the computer.

Jessica replied that you could use Dropbox... huh?  There is a Dropbox App (I may be the only one who didn't know this) that will allow you to access your Dropbox files on the computer (where I keep good photos of paintings taken with other than the iPhone camera), save them to your Photos App on your phone, and simply use them to post to Instagram on the phone!  Seemed too good to be true... It's not!  It works like a charm.

To make it a little more clear for all of us visuals out there, here is a short 2+ minute video to explain it simply.  I did just as this guy suggests, and was posting in about 10 minutes from Dropbox.

Love when this works like this...

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3,679 Miles Later... No more Facebook!


For the last two weeks I have been on an unusual trip, the purpose of which was to be an Awards Judge for two different events.  The first one was the EnPleinAir Texas painting event in San Angelo, TX.  The second was the Oil Painters of America (OPA) Western Regional Exhibition in Scottsdale, AZ.  Both events also requested that I perform public demonstrations of painting as well as the selection of awards for them.  As enjoyable as it was, let's just say it was both a nerve wracking and grueling experience.  I can safely say that the quality of artwork being painted in these events these days is increasingly sophisticated and expertly rendered.  The best pieces also had 'Soul', had that unspoken quality that took them beyond just being painted well.  It really was an "honor" to be asked to do this.  It is a weighty responsibility to take on.  How do we judge one over the other?  I'm going to save that thought for a future blog post.  But I have to thank those involved in both events for putting their trust in my ability to make good choices, their faith in me to see what I considered to be the best choices.  As I told everyone at both events, degrees of difference (thousands of a second in horse racing) were what separated one from others in many cases.  The good news for everyone is... the Art World that I am a part of, is continuing to push at the edges of what is the norm.  Painters are looking harder to see beyond the normal approach to the subject matter in many cases.  The practiced skill of many of these painters is growing fast, making the results interesting and exciting to see.  It has been a real treat to be with them all.________________________________________________________________________________I've done it, deactivated my Facebook account!  Yesterday, while driving the last 4 hours on my way home, I decided that there is more to life... period.  You all know the reasons, we all feel them, we hear and read news stories about them, we talk about them with friends, then go back and log onto our Facebook feed. My problem is that even though I've become acquainted with many, many people on Facebook, and some have become friends, Very good friends, for the most part it's the same old same old... same old people who I find myself interacting with, same old people coming out of the woodwork like marauding sharks when something is expressed that doesn't agree with their own world view, same old back up when it does.    Much of it is entertaining, some if it discouraging, all of it a time sucker!Lately, I don't have to tell anyone how volatile and vile that place has been.That is not why I decided to deactivate.  The rhetoric was part of the reason.  It wasn't inspiring or uplifting anymore, in my view.  Much of the flow down the stream on my newsfeed was false, false information, made up even.  Or it was trivial garbage... THAT I WOULD SPEND TIME VIEWING!!!  When you begin to feel a pall of disgust about something that you are involved in, it's time to reconsider the activity. My demo at the Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition last weekend at Marshall Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. It is an oil on canvas, 18x36, and was painted up from the previously posted painting, "Ditches and Dust".I already blogged some about this, so I won't beat it to death.  But one change of mind here... I am going to begin using Instagram (marcrhanson) for "pocket viewing" as I call it, and perceive the reason and habit of it and Facebook.  I have my account straightened out now so that I can use it properly, and will be for sharing artwork.  That's what I realized is the good part, a quick place to share art.  I don't want to leave the wonderful world of what my artistic comrades  are up to, that's 'I'nspiration that I need.There is a great sense of accomplishm[...]

Time to return to the sanity of the Blog World.


"Ditches And Dust"  - Oil on canvas - 12"x24"It's been quite a while since I devoted any real quality time to keeping this blog up to date, relevant or anything but fodder for cricket noise.  I have decided to calm down the crickets, get relevant and update things Art related, with a touch of life thrown in, and resurrect this dinosaur. What brings me to this place?  Well, I am thankful for Social Media, Facebook in particular, for what it has brought to the table in terms of Connections with old and new friends, and the  Inspiration that has been to me.  Facebook has been very satisfying, serving as a surrogate crowd to help turn down the quiet of the studio here in Mississippi, and elsewhere.  It has supplanted the 'alone' aspect of our work as artists with many hours of camaraderie.  But for me, it has become like a Roman Colosseum where too many peasants are thrown to the lions, too often.  It's too loud.I'm going to attempt to funnel viewers and followers of my art, back to this platform, where there aren't obnoxious ads, the constant rush of extraneous, petty subject matter, and all the traffic that jams up and diverts the true meaning of anything that you might want to say about art, painting, or life, on Facebook. Before the advent of Facebook, this blog stuff was calming, comfortable, and for the most part, a friendly place to share, chat, inform, learn and make connections with collectors and artists.  Many of you have become dear friends, we've shared experiences, art, and life in some cases.  I'm sorry that I have left it behind like I have.  I enjoy other's blogs, and have been noticing a little bit of a return to them with some of the artists who I like to follow. I know this is old fashioned, Instagram is where most people head now for the instant satisfaction of either sharing or viewing what else is "instantly" (name sake, duh) being shown and shared.  Frankly, Instagram doesn't satisfy my need for the visual experience of seeing art large.  I know I can access it on the laptop, but you can't post to it from there.  Maybe it's the older eyes?  But I can't stare at paintings on a platform that fits into my front jeans pocket, without feeling like I'm not getting the whole enchilada.The fact that the blog platform isn't "instant", is Exactly why I for one am returning to it.  If there is anyone out there who is not a cricket, stay tuned...I have been thinking about this since this morning.  I only speak for myself, I'm not trying to suggest that any of this isn't good for someone else.  The other reason that I am really interested in getting back here to the blog is that I think it will slow down my own tendency to post Anything and Everything before I even wash out the brushes or clean off the palette!  I used to really enjoy the chance to show process immediately.  But it is wiser, I think, to allow some germination of an idea before just "blasting it out there"!  No more just snapping a shot and plastering it all over without regard for the quality of the image.  I don't think it's good for how my art is presented to do it that way, and it's not good for the viewers who don't really see the truest representation of my images.[...]



SCHWABACHER WET #1 - oil - 6"x9"






LEANIN' TREES - oil - 6"x9"






SWIFTLY ST. VRAIN - oil - 9x12



TURKEY WOODLAND - oil - 8x10

Critiques Available


I've been up to some things that need to be written about.  First is a new teaching option that I've been developing the idea of for some time.  It's a way for you to get your art to me for Critique.  But rather than as a digital representation, or a week of travel to a workshop, I am going to be accepting the actual paintings for critique. My reason for wanting to do this, and it's going to be a lot of work on my part, is that there isn't really a good way to see the depth of a painting, of the artists' soul, other than by holding it in hand and seeing it in real life.  Some things are fine to critique digitally, but the subtleties are lost in that format.  Using my method, if it's necessary, I can make alterations by using an acetate overlay, on Your painting, to make corrections.  All of that is followed up by an objective written review, that I will return to you with your artwork. If you think that you are interested in this, it's all explained below...________________________________________________________________________________Hands on Critiques Marc R. Hanson O.P.A.Nationally recognized painter and sought after instructor, Marc R. Hanson, is offering a way to get a personal ‘hands on critique’.  Send Marc your art, receive critique, and the paintings will be shipped back to you with a Critique Review, explained below.  Critique Fee:  I charge a fee of $50.00 / per painting. You may send one, two, three, four or five, up to 5 paintings, at a time @$50.00 each.  I am limiting the number of paintings critiqued per session (one mailing), to five (5) for ease of handling reasons. What is included in the Critique Package:   My personally written review, completed and returned to you for each piece paid for, and  submitted.  Possible corrections on an acetate overlay ( at my discretion based on if I think that it’s a benefit to the critique), suggestions for YOU related to the paintings provided, and anything else that I think will be of a help to your painting, are all part of the ‘Critique Package’.  What is included for the Critique Fee:  All that is mentioned above… Plus the pick up of the paintings from the Post Office, unpacking of the paintings, safe storage of the paintings and packing materials, a truthful and honest (but respectful) Critique of your paintings, including the writing up the reviews, possibly making painted corrections on acetate for your painting(s), re-packaging with the packing materials (new envelope, or what it takes to ship back) that you provide (time and tape to re-pack provided), delivering back to the Post Office for return shipping (using your pre paid shipping/insurance label).  Following that, I will notify you in an email that the paintings have been shipped, with a tracking number.My Critique will be my objective review of how well I think that you’ve implemented the basic artistic principles of visual art in your painting.  Those include, but are not limited to, Concept, Drawing, Value, Color, Design, Edges, and the other design principles and elements that make up a visual statement.  The returned Critique Package will contain your Art, possible alterations (in a separate form of media), and a Critique Form, containing comments made about the specific categories mentioned above.  It will also include suggestions about your art, for you.  I may contact you via phone or email if I need more information from you.  Wha[...]

New Studio Work


This is a collection of studio work that I have completed since finally getting some extended time following about 6 months of traveling to paint in events and teach.  I normally paint on one painting at a time, but in the last months have been starting a new one whenever one I was working on, needed a rest, consideration or I simply needed a change of scenery.  The large oils have all come to a finished state, they're never really finished, in the last couple of days.  Thanks for looking in.Oils and pastels...'Along the Path' - oil - 30x40'End of Another Day' - oil - 36x48'Light Bank' - oil - 20x30'Stalker' - oil - 30x40'Beaver Work' - pastel - 16x20'Old Milk House' - pastel - 12x16'A February Snow' - pastel - 18x24'January Hoar Frost' - oil - 8x9.5[...]

Happy New Year!


This morning's 'over a cup of coffee' musing is somewhat of a continuation of my last blog post.  It's a New Year, a good time to reassess our lives.  I am avoiding the disappointment that resolutions inevitably bring, but I am trying to keep in the spirit of the season and am internally reviewing how the past year has felt to me.  In light of that...Sometimes I feel like I want to rock, or even sink, the boat, with my art. You know, make some capital 'A' ... Art!  There are times when I wish it was that powerful, that it would stand up and shout annoyingly loud to be seen, to say something grating.  I don't mean in an 'artistically mastered aptitude' kind of way, but in it's raw expressive power.  To make the Art something aside from how or who I seem to be, in a public way, to others who know me.  Like the quiet, scholarly kid in school, who shows up at the talent show and kicks ass on a '68 Stratocaster ala Hendrix, and does it left handed!  To really dig deeper into the 'self' than has been done before.Other times, I just want to find quiet, and the internal solace that making art brings to my life, and never let a painting be seen again.  To paint for my own personal expressive needs without the need to share it.I know we don't find our voice, it finds us.  We will do what we do, no matter how hard we try not to... so all of this is moot really.  Yet I spend a lot of time wondering about this.When standing at the easel, no matter how rebellious I might feel at that moment or on that day, no matter how much I might feel like painting something that is explosive, challenging and controversial; feel like painting something that would make my Mom call me up and ask if I'm 'OK?', I inevitably return to the peaceful kingdom side of painting.  In the end, I make 'pretty' paintings.  I am grateful that it is appreciated by viewers of it, and especially by the collectors who spend their hard earned money on it.  But I feel restless about it.It makes me wonder what the potential in me is, or if there is, and if I have the nerve to expose it? But, I am curious?  Are others just happy as larks doing what they've always done?  Or do you find yourself torn at times as to what painting should be saying about you?  Or finding a new voice?  Is that ever something that keeps you up at night, wondering if what you're painting is what you should be painting?  If you're one of us, and you solved it for yourself, how did you get there? The two paintings below aren't put up here as an examples of what I'm talking about above.  I'm showing them as an example of something I did at another time, when I was thinking about this same subject.  The two paintings were painted in 2009 and weren't anything like I'd ever done before.  I painted with an empty head, with out any forethought.  I turned up the stereo and threw, smashed, scraped, and applied paint with my hands or anything else I could find at the time... exploring how the music that was playing... made me feel.  I tried to let that feeling come out of me during the painting session.  To let my emotional response to the music show in how the paint ended up looking on the canvas. It was one hell of an exhilarating experience.  I did these two, one after the other, and could hardly believe how out of breath I was, and how 'high' I felt, tuned in to the music unlike any exp[...]

Like A Sloth Moving Forward


 Oil on paper 2-3/4" x 8"As my last post here indicates, I enjoy, receive energy from, open up the 'Art' side of my brain, and generally love to hear what other painters/artists have to say about the process of becoming, and of being an artist.  Some artists have said to me, "I've always been an artist, never any need to 'become' one..."... Fine, I'm jealous of that myopia.  The question that comes to my mind when I hear that is "Really?  You never, ever thought about anything else in life, or found anything else in life to be really cool to do?  Other than what you have always done?" If so, that's Wonderful, I am in awe!I like to fish, hunt, fly airplanes, mow the yard, tear out brush, work with animals (3 years of being a vet tech in high school almost had me looking at being a veterenarian), ski (I taught skiing professionally from the time I was in the 10th grade until I was off to Art School and could have enjoyed that as a 'life')... cut, rivet and glue big things together (like boats and airplanes), do light construction work... and on and on.  At one time or another, any of those interests almost had me off on another life tangent.I am getting to a point about art eventually... your indulgence of my sloth like movement foreword is appreciated greatly.  In this stream of consciousness piece, it seems, I am thinking out loud about why I am always questioning my art, and myself as an artist. Pretty boring stuff... you can check out now.If not...I'm happy that although I spent my earliest years scribbling in bird books with Crayola crayons, having 'battle drawing' events on lined notebook paper with my other pre-school warrior buddies (the result of being a military brat), copying the cartoons of my dad, and all of those photos in National Geographic, I had many, many other interests in my back pack of life. I would be an idiot not to think that my life could have taken several different roads (like if I was just a few months older and my draft number had been drawn in 1972), if only due to all of my interests in life, if nothing else.  And I would be blind not to think that all of those other interests, hobbies, curious periods about the wide world around me, didn't have some profound effect on me and the reason that I am an artist.  They made me the artist that I may become, by the time I end up as a pile of dust.  Without those interests, I don't think I could have become an artist.  They are what formed the way I see the world Now... and Now is all I have to gauge where my art is.To cut this way short, when I left the college biology labs (the ornithologist in me wanted to draw and paint birds) to find an art school program that would give me the best basic training that I was aware of, I chose Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and began a major program in Illustration. I actually interviewed at UCDavis with Wayne Thiebaud, but decided it wasn't structured enough for who I was then... meaning I didn't know crap and needed a lot of work!  Looking back, it would have been interesting to have tried that out...I do not have the mind or make up of an illustrator, I knew and had that confirmed at Art Center.  Although I received great training there, I didn't have the right stuff to head off to NYC or stay in LA and work in a commercial studio.  My youth as the son of a military officer, and all of the affiliated discipli[...]

Two videos that have been inspiring to me.


'Mid - Afternoon August' - oil on canvas - 16x20 Horton Hayes Fine ArtWhen I'm in my studio painting there is usually music on.  If I am in one of those silent moods, or feel the need to be uplifted by human voice (probably a side effect of being alone in a studio so much), I love to listen to videos about being an artist.  Recently, I ran across both of these vids on Facebook (see, there is something good about FB), and they have been enormously interesting  to me.  They both touch on very personal aspects of an artists' life.  Enjoy if you feel the need...Nicolas Uribe " was born in cozy Madison, WI, but ever since that day I have not set foot on Wisconsin again. In all honesty, I haven’t really been actively avoiding this generous land of cheese and beer. Given the very attractive winters that this icebox of a state has to offer, I was happy that my parents decided to return to Colombia before my first birthday. I spent my first 17 years in Bogotá and after finishing High School I went to New York to study Illustration in SVA. After graduating I worked at Evergreene Painting Studios, a mural painting studio, and at The Studio, an illustration studio where I did animatics, storyboards, print jobs, together with some illustration jobs (paperbacks, jackets, etc). After two years of constant and diligently supervised drawing, I decided to go back home to Colombia and be free to paint full time. What was a hard decision at first, turned into the best career move. I have been able to paint what I love, and be surrounded by friends and family."His talk with the students at the NY Academy of Art is one that should get you thinking about what and why you paint.  It did me...Nicolas Uribe Lecture to New York Academy of Art students."Lennart Anderson was born in 1928.  He studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cranbrook Academy, and at the Art Students League under Edwin Dickinson. He is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is an Associate of the American Academy of Design.  His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Tiffany Foundation Grant, and the Rome Prize. He has had solo exhibitions at many galleries.  He was an art instructor for many years in the New York area, having taught at Yale, Columbia and Princeton Universities, at Pratt Institute, Skowhegan School, Art Students League, and the New York Studio School.  He is now a Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College.For many years his work consisted of large, ambitious neoclassical figure compositions.  Later his paintings were on a smaller, more informal scale: a few portraits, some lovely landscapes and a lot of still lifes.  He gave careful serious attention to these traditional problems, and in the process he invested each of his objects with grace and presence."Lennart is suffering from macular degeneration.  In this short video he discusses his art and career, and how he's dealing with this physical challenge to his art.  Very inspiring...Lennart Anderson in his studio, painting and conversing.[...]