Experimenting with Style

My new favorite artist is Erin Hanson, a painter from Southern California. I’m obsessed with her paintings…they are incredibly vibrant and I love her style, which she calls “open impressionism”. She does a lot of Southwest and California landscapes, and I am just so captivated by them. She is inspiring to me, not only because of her amazing work, but also because she’s about the same age as me and is very successful.

I watched a Youtube interview with Erin about her style, which she says she’s been developing for 20 years. She concentrates on using minimal brushstrokes, using a “stained glass mosaic approach” in which she doesn’t overlap different colors of paint, but rather lays it side by side. I found this really interesting, because it’s kind of the opposite of the technique I was reading about in a book last week. Erin focuses on creating a lot of texture with the paint, and I could tell from looking at her palette in the video that she uses a LOT of paint.

Since I got frustrated with my colors getting muddy last week, I decided to mimic Erin’s approach by premixing my palette of colors, and then laying the paint side by side as she suggests. I wanted to focus on the technique and not worry about the subject, so I painted some clouds, which don’t have to be perfectly shaped to be recognizable:


Sky Study #1
Oil on Canvas
Not for Sale

I probably mixed the colors on the canvas a bit more than Erin would, but they still stayed clean and fresh. This was a fantastic exercise, so I think I’ll be playing around more with pre-mixing colors on the palette and laying them side by side.

A side note – I haven’t yet figured out how to take awesome pictures of wet oil paintings, so I’ll probably be retaking this photo in a few days when it’s touch-dry. I think you’ll be able to see the texture better once I do so.