5 Questions for Erin Hanson

Today we interview Erin Hanson, an oil painter who loves the nature, hiking and rock climbing. Her paintings are inspired by nature and she paints in a style called "open-impressionism", a minimalist method of placing impasto paint strokes without layering. You can see more of her paintings on her website erinhanson.com.

She's currently running a Kickstarter campaign for her artbook California Wine Country which collects paintings of California's wine-growing regions. Check out her campaign before it ends on 30 Oct 2014.

Qn: Which painting in your California Wine Country artbook was most memorable to you? Why?

The cover painting, Crystal Light, holds a special place for me. This painting was one of the first that I felt truly captured the dramatic light I have seen so often in California's wine country. The bold lines of the oak trees' shadows and the colorful mosaic colors created by their interlacing branches has become a recurring pattern in my oil paintings.

Crystal Light

Qn: Most of your paintings are inspired by nature. Have you considered painting other subjects?

I have been painting since I was a young girl, everything from portraits to houses to animals. I also spent the first 15 years experimenting with different styles and mediums. But nothing ever inspired me like the intense natural beauty you can find in landscapes. This inspiration has helped me develop an impressionist style using fewer brush strokes and textural techniques. This has been become my hallmark and it's garnered some acclaim. One never knows what the distant future ultimately holds, but for the foreseeable future, I think my calling is to continue to paint intense natural beauty as found in landscapes like those of California Wine Country.

Qn: Coming up with questions for you is quite difficult. I had looked at your website and found a lot of information including past interviews, exhibitions and even some informative articles that you've written. Do you have any particular strategy for promoting work online?

An online presence is an important marketing point for every modern artist. With the internet we have the opportunity to reach new people and new markets that were never available even a generation ago. Many of my collectors and supporters met me first at fine art shows or at gallery exhibitions. Once they've had that personal experience, I always hope they feel compelled to stay in touch, and one way they can do that is through subscribing to my website, and another is via social networking.

My strategy is simple - do regular outreach with newsletters and posts, always be honest and real, keep it current, keep people engaged, and engage them back. It's a part of the artist's job that I really enjoy.

Qn: What advice do you have for artists thinking about becoming full-time professionals?

I think an artist needs to recognize that in order to be a full time professional, the creative side and the business side need to meld. I can only speak for what's worked for me, and on the creative side - find a niche, and stay true to it. Listen to feedback, but listen to what your heart tells you, too.

The business side involves commitment and hard work - I spend four hours selling my artwork for every hour I spend painting, and this is a ratio that is common to many successful artists.

When you are first starting out, you are carrying the entire load of the business on your own shoulders, but as you become more successful and your income level increases, you can hire other people to help you with parts of the business, such as social media marketing, promotion and public relations, show applications, shipping, online sales, interacting with galleries on your behalf, etc., etc.

Qn. What do you know now that you wished you had known earlier in your career?

I've been blessed not to have made too many missteps. I think that very early on, I wanted to be what others wanted me to be. Perhaps I could have found my niche, my inspiration, and honed my style a little earlier. Perhaps I could have also learned sooner about the business of art, but then again, there's no substitute for learning from real first-hand experience either.

It's a tough question to answer because there is so much to know and I am learning every day. I take each day as it comes, and when you're spending it like I am - in a beautiful field of rolling plains, oak trees, and blooming chaparral, the process itself is enjoyable.

I make decisions best with a clear mind and soul, and that's what natural beauty brings - clarity, appreciation, patience, and focus. My current focus is on my kickstarter campaign, and publishing this book; I know it's going to be beautiful.

Special thanks to Erin Hanson for this interview.

You check out more of her works at https://erinhanson.com

Her Kickstarter campaign California Wine Country ends on 30 Oct 2014.


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