With sweeping coastal landscapes and windswept Torrey pines, Erin Hanson captures the brilliance and beauty of California's bluffs and beaches. Her saturated colors and paint-filled canvases draw admirers and collectors worldwide, while capturing the timeless essence of Impressionism. This Saturday, June 24, in an exhibit titled "Coastal California," she debuts 20 coastal paintings in her San Diego gallery for locals to view first hand. PACIFIC recently spoke with Hanson about her childhood art beginnings, her favorite place in the world to paint, and her advice for upcoming artists. PACIFIC: Your bio stated you started painting as a child. Did you always know you wanted to be a painter? ERIN HANSON: I can't really remember a time when I didn't want to be an artist... I wrote on my school application at age 6 that I wanted to be an artist, a dancer, and a scientist. I remember, when I was 5 years old, I was helping my mom plant irises, and I remember very clearly that the real-life flowers weren't nearly as pretty as Van Gogh's irises. So I already knew that early on that art could surpass life. What subjects did you paint as a child? When I was a kid, I used to paint my animals, my brothers, the trees in front of my house, and, over and over, my face in the mirror while I was sitting on the bathroom sink counter. You paint in the style of "Open Impressionism." How is that different from the Impressionism we learned about in school? Open Impressionism is a more contemporary and "open" approach to impressionism, and it is inspired by the open outdoors. The brush strokes are wide and thick, and they are applied without layering. Traditional Impressionism used small, narrow brush strokes built up in layers. Speaking of past and present, who are the painters in history you admire? Van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, Parrish, and many others. What has been your most exciting painting adventure? I've had many exciting adventures over the years (check out her Adventure Blog). Once I got rescued in a helicopter a stone's throw away from a paved road. Favorite place to paint on Earth? Right now my favorite place to paint is Paso Robles. It has been a few months since I painted Paso, and I miss the bright greens and blue skies and twisty oak branches. Your paintings have a magical quality and vibrancy that draws viewers directly into the scene. What inspired you to do landscapes? I've always loved landscapes since I was a kid. I grew up in a family of Boy Scouts, and escaping the city into the wilderness was always the highlight of my year. The mountains and trees and waterfalls and lakes we visited and hiked in were the most beautiful places I could imagine. You've been incredibly successful in your painting career. What would you say to inspire young painters and artists trying to get their foot in the art world door? I recommend young artists create one work of art every week, even if it's just a small piece. There is nothing like practice and practice and getting better and better by trial and error. This also lets you naturally create your own style of painting, which will become recognizable as your own. Once you have a body of work together, take your art out in front of the public! You can share online, or through galleries, but the best way I've found to create a large and loyal following is through outdoor art festivals. There is lots of opportunity to succeed as an artist, and a huge demand for beauty and aesthetics in this world. "Coastal California" opens on Saturday, June 24, with an opening reception from 5-9 p.m. For more information, visit erinhansongallery.com/Event/erinhansoncoastalcalifornia. Erin Hanson Gallery, 9705 Carroll Centre Rd., Mira Mesa, 858.324.4644, erinhansongallery.com
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