2017 HENRY FUKUHARA WORKSHOP

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.

2017 HENRY FUKUHARA WORKSHOP

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

SWANSEA SHACK

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.

ON LOCATION IN SWANSEA

The painting, Swansea Shack,is accomplished May 17, 2015, during  a recent, 18th Annual Henry Fukuhara Manzanar Workshop headquartered in Lone Pine, California.

Day  four of the five day workshop begins on an unseasonably calm, comfortable Sunday. The subject matter of Swansea Shack is located on private property in what is, or was, Swansea. The town has quite a history, some of which will be noted later in this post.

Nearly a hundred of us string out, assorted painting gear in tow, to walk  about a half-block, in a northerly direction on a narrow, dirt road, toward what appears to be the main gate to our destination. The view of the property, on the right is obscured by a rickety, wooden fence which goes a long way toward heightening the portal effect of entering through the wide, gate area. Swansea Shack is waiting just beyond the entrance.

As we enter through the gated area, we get the first glimpse of what lies before our eyes, I am temporarily stunned at what I see. To me, it is a bit like going back to one’s childhood and entering a candy shop, or toy store for the first time! So much to see and enjoy, but so little time to paint it.

In addition to Swansea Shack, here is enough material in this rather small area to last a lifetime. It is what many artist would call a dream come true.” It’s a treasure trove of subject matter, that is if you like old, weathered buildings, structures of a past era complete with all kinds of beautiful artistic “junk” strewn about. Priceless.

Shortly after arriving, we are treated to a wonderful watercolor demonstration by acclaimed California artist John Barnard. The demo goes well before an appreciative audience,made up of beginner, intermediate, and advanced painters of all ages and skill levels. Following John’s successful demo, we spread out over what appears to be, roughly, about a one square block area of private property which is open to the workshop on this particular day.

I am immediately drawn toward a shack like structure, including a type of water tower, and assorted pieces of debris which in my view is “artistic” jewel-like “junk.” It’s like Swansea Shack has been waiting years to be the subject of a watercolor painting.

THE SWANSEA SHACK ROAD MAP

I begin Swansea Shack by using a black, ink pen to  create a compositional line drawing. Next, come the 4-B, pencil mid-values (about  a five, on an eleven point value scale). This mid-value is assigned to  selected shapes. I attempt to note the value that is needed compositionally, without regard to the scene’s actual values. Lastly, the darks (black) are added over several mid-value shapes, or symbols.

Simple value plan by artist Woody Hansen

Once the simple, loose value plan is completed to my satisfaction, a high percentage of the work is done. This is often the part of the creative process that is the most liberating, the most fun.

In this ghost town of the past atmosphere, I’d swear I  hear Henry Fukuhara reminding us to, Keep it simple. So it goes, after a few enjoyable minutes in the fresh air and  morning sun, the value plan is completed. It now becomes a helpful road map during the creation of the watercolor painting, Swansea shack.

THE PAINTING BEGINS

The watercolor, Swansea Shack,  begins with a square, two-inch brush. Shapes are laid in directly with the brush wet on dry,  without the traditional preliminary pencil drawing. In this case the subject matter is blocked-in using only gray and, for the most part, the two-inch brush. The gray tone is about a three or four on the aforementioned value scale. Some readers might think of it as somewhere near a dark light, and a light-medium value.

Once most of the Swansea Shack is blocked in, the paint and paper is allowed to dry completely. When the paint and paper are dry, the black, ink pen is used to quickly and freely accent the various shapes. No attempt is made to carefully delineate the shapes themselves.  To the contrary, the goal is to allow the line work to follow its own path, in what might be referred to as “out of register.”

General color is then added over the grays. This is one method of achieving the duller, less intense, weathered look of the Swansea area. A few additional symbols are added, such as the two palm trees, etc. Of course, to my knowledge, there are no palm trees in Swansea, but these perennials make a good excuse for much-needed verticals in an essentially horizontal composition.

In the final stage of Swansea Shack, the chroma of a few color areas is increased. The last step is the choice of color in specific places like the doorway (the focal point) and water tank. I vacillate between using a red or blue hue. I feel a red is in keeping with the painting’s warm temperature, while the blue adds a bit of contrast and variety to the warm Yellow Ochre. I opt for variety.

ABOUT THE LOCATION

What is now a ghost town, Swansea is located in Inyo County, just off highway 190, near the cities of Lone Pine and Keeler, on the eastern side of California’s magnificent Sierra Mountain range!

According to the Swansea web Site:

“Swansea was built in 1870 to support the nearby camp of Owens Lake. Owens lake held the furnaces for smelting some of the ore from Cerro Gordo.”

All that remains are a few weathered structures, some foundations, and several ‘No Trespassing’ signs.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WATERCOLOR…

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

QUESTION and COMMENT FORM, Click Here!

A ROSE IS A ROSE

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

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.

ABOUT THE TITLE IDEA

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’:

LEARN MORE ABOUT WATERCOLOR…

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

QUESTION and COMMENT FORM, Click Here!

18th ANNUAL HENRY FUKUHARA MEMORIAL WORKSHOP

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

18th ANNUAL HENRY FUKUHARA MEMORIAL WORKSHOP

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


ART INSTRUCTION BY PROMINENT ARTISTS

John Barnard 
Dam Dickman
Phyl Doyan 
JoAnn Formia   
Ron Lebrech   
Al Setton
SPECTACULAR SCENERY, INTERESTING CALIFORNIA  HISTORY, AND A PARTY with Good Eats, and a Live Band, too!


LIVE IN THE SACRAMENTO REGION? ENROLL IN A  WATERCOLOR CLASS.

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

QUESTION and COMMENT FORM: Click HERE.

HAPPY ACCIDENTS

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.

HAPPY ACCIDENTS

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

LEARN MORE ABOUT WATERCOLOR…

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

QUESTION and COMMENT FORM

CREATIVITY

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.

ON CREATIVITY

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.

A FEW DEFINITION OF CREATIVITY

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

BAJO LA LUMA – Watercolor

BajoLLa Luma. Original watercolor by Woody HansenBajo ls Luma – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″

To learn more, or view this painting framed, select the image.

WATERCOLOR HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

Bajo la Luma, represents another example of allowing a painting to age before discarding it, or sending it to the circular file, glue factory, etc. This non-objective painting begins on July 13, 2013. I no longer recall why it remains in the “unfinished” stack for so long. However, in early November 2014, it is rediscovered and selected for a class watercolor demonstration.

THE APPROACH TO THIS WATERCOLOR

I recall the beginnings of Bajo la Luma, is as what I call my “whisk broom”  approach. The watercolor paper is first saturated with clear water. After a brief period to allow the water to soften the fibers of the paper, a common whisk broom is used to scar, score, rough the paper’s surface, giving it a different texture than what one might expect of a sheet of 140 pound, cold press watercolor paper.

PROMOTIONAL LINK

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

Only three, single-pigment colors are used in the development of this watercolor. The approach is direct painting without a preliminary plan, or pencil/black ink line as a guide. A work of this nature just evolves over time, the outcome is always tenuous, and  certainly never a sure thing. It might be thought of as painting “without a net.” Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Highly subjective in any case. But then, isn’t that part of what creativity is all about? I think so.

THE TITLE

What about a title? It’s fun to title non-objective paintings, and for me, the titles come at the conclusion of the work. Quite often I look to an appreciation of music for a title. At times a painting’s title is based on a piece of music because the melody or rhythm seems suited to the work, while other times the title, has little to do with the painting and is chosen only for the purpose of differentiating  one watercolor from another.

In this case, Bajo ls Luma, by the great guitarist Otmar Liebert, is playing on an iPod as the painting is photographed in preparation for posting. The music seemed to fit my mood and perhaps, even the painting.

NOTE: All links are working properly when originally posted. However, third-party links may–in time–become inoperable for reasons beyond my control. Therefore, some links may not work as expected.

For purchase information, go HERE.

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)

PROMOTIONAL LINK

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.

CHECKERBOARD – RESTING A WATERCOLOR

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.

PROMOTIONAL LINK

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

WATERCOLOR IMPROVISATION

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.

THE WATERCOLOR PROCESS –  A RECOLLECTION

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.

SHAZAM – A Unique APPROACH

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.

SHAZAM – A UNIQUE APPROACH

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.”

PROMOTIONAL LINK

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

THE PROCESS MATTERS

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.

NEVER GIVE UP

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.

LIVE ANOTHER DAY

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.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

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

For purchase information, go HERE.