By Hayley Thomas
A landscape is not simply a landscape where painter Erin Hanson is concerned.
"My style is very chunky and stylized and abstracted. So when I paint Paso Robles, I look for those abstract shapes in the landscape," Hanson said.
Her third annual October exhibition will show at Studios on the Park Oct. 2 through 26 with a painting demonstration slated for Oct. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. and an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. that evening.
All artist reception attendees will have the opportunity to enter into a free giveaway with the chance to win an original oil painting, reproductions as well as Hanson's most recent coffee table book.
The Los Angeles resident first came to Paso Robles four years ago to take a breather from the bustle of city life. She certainly found it.
"I came and totally fell in love with Paso Robles," Hanson said. "I drove back a week later with my camper van and spent five days traveling the countryside, sleeping in my van and photographing the landscape in the changing light."
It was the month of May, and Hanson found no shortage of undulating green hillsides or texture-laden twisted oaks. She found wildflowers, rolling mist and glistening dew. The artist took about 1,000 photos, unable to keep up with her eye's appetite for the land.
"Ever since then, I have been making Paso Robles one of my biggest painting destinations ," Hanson said.
The artist boasts a history of painting desert landscapes, which call for stark, abstract shapes and bold colors. When Hanson first started painting Paso Robles, there was a true challenge ahead. However, Hanson has never been afraid of mixing it up.
"Paso was the complete opposite, with greens, blues and rolling soft lines and rounded oaks," she said. "I found ways to bring out the movement in the landscape using highly textured, chunky brush strokes."
The artist has found her stride in Paso Robles. The series of paintings to be displayed at Studios on the Park were created exclusively for the show, and encompass multi-panel works that do justice to the expansive land.
"I like to capture broad landscapes by painting them across panels," Hanson said. "These are ways I can bring space into the work. It's almost like you are looking through a window into the landscape."
This year, Hanson painted mostly Paso Robles area, but also took a stab at nearby locales like Monterey and Cambria. The coastal paintings show bold rocks, blue ocean surf and eucalyptus trees.
The artist considers herself "loose," in the way that she "gets it right the first time." Hanson isn't bragging when she says this: It's simply the way she works, and it took years of practice.
With a four-hue, pre-mixed color pallet ready to go, the artist said she maps out the entire composition. Much thought goes into her process before a brushstroke is ever made.
"I work really fast and don't overwork the painting this gives my art a very expressive style," Hanson said. "I produce about 150 paintings a year, and when you are painting that much, you get really good at it."
The artist said she credits her musician parents for instilling a fearless drive in her, as well as "practice makes perfect work ethic."
"My dad would always tell me if I wanted to be a painter, I would have to do five sketches per day," Hanson said. "I've always believed that you learn to paint by painting. And that's what I did."
For more information, visit studiosonthepark.org or erinhanson.com.