When I first saw this painting I thought it was a photograph. After I realized it was a painting, I assumed it was done in oils or acrylics. Wrong again: it’s watercolor!
I’m no artist, but I do know watercolor is a difficult medium – especially when it comes to figurative realism. Who is this artist, and how did he/she achieve such incredible mastery in this challenging genre?
Steve Hanks (1949-2015) was a California native born into a military family in San Diego. His dad was a highly decorated WWII Navy flyer.
Growing up, Steve was more passionate about sports than art. He particularly enjoyed tennis and surfing along the beaches of Southern California. He would retain a spiritual connection with the ocean for the rest of his life.
Surfing had a strong influence on my paintings . . . The ocean made a strong and lasting impression on me. It was good for the soul to be out in the water—surfing, swimming, or simply getting in touch with its mysterious power.
Early on, Steve’s teachers recognized his artistic ability, but he refused to do the required assignments in his high school art class. To prove he was good, he did a one-man art show and sold his first painting to another art teacher.
I love figurative paintings of readers, and have noted through the years that there are oodles of them. Most of the subjects are women, and many appear to be well-to-do, with the leisure to lounge on plush sofas or perch on uncomfortable chairs near a window, lost in the printed word.
Of course I always wonder what they’re reading and what their daily lives are like. Since I also love books, I feel a decided kinship with them, even though thousands of miles and more than a century may separate us.
Recently, readers dressed in blue have been calling out to me. Perhaps I’m drawn to blue’s peace, calm, and serenity. Spiritually, the color bluesymbolizes the healing power of God — much needed in these terribly troubling times. And the readers themselves seem content and contemplative, making me feel better.
In any case, I hope you enjoy gazing at these blue readers, joining them, for just a few minutes, in their fascinating worlds (I also managed to dig up a few men). 🙂