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"In the Artist's Studio" by Steve Hanks

Remembering Steve Hanks through his art... "To Search Within" by Steve Hanks

"In The Artist's Studio" by Steve Hanks

In the Artist's Studio
by Steve Hanks

If you are a fan of Steve Hanks, this work of art is something special to remember him by. More importantly, you can help the family offset the medical bills from his cancer treatment by purchasing either the paper or canvas version of In The Artist’s Studio directly from Steve Hank's website or contribute via their GoFundMe page.  


"In The Artist's Studio" by Steve Hanks

Sizing and Pricing:

Greenwich Workshop
Fine Art Giclée Canvas:
Edition not to exceed 100.
17"w x 26"h. $395

Greenwich Workshop
Open Edition
Fine Art Paper:

12"w x 18"h. $95


At its essence, Steve’s art is about the beauty in life: the innocent loveliness of infants and children, the bond between mother and baby, the physical beauty of the female form in light and shadow, in stillness and in dance. The composition of a Hanks painting serves the emotion he sets out to paint, whether it be a vertical or horizontal canvas, the mystery in a woman facing downward, or how the upward tilt of a chin exudes confidence, the freedom of a girl’s spiraling limbs on a beach, or a young woman’s steady gaze at the wide horizon ahead of her.

Hanks was a figurative painter and for the most part the landscapes and room interiors were used for context not substance, although he included quilts and rug and floor patterns for depth and texture. The deeper the emotional landscape of his subject that he wanted to express, the vaguer the location. The complete expression of the figure was his way of saying, “This is where you are in the world.”

That said, Aspen, Colorado was an often-painted family vacation favorite, as well as New Orleans and Charleston, whose wrought iron and architecture and heavy green vegetation appealed to the artist whose home studio was in high desert. Steve Hanks lived most of his life in landlocked Albuquerque but his heart was near water. Contemplative figures were sometimes painted near shimmering lakes and rivers but the Pacific Ocean is where both pure joy and the complications of relationships played out in his art.

In the fall of 2014, Hanks painted a rare self-portrait in his studio. It is uncharacteristically layered and complicated, befitting its subject. In the painting, there are reflections of reflections and he includes the tools of his trade and the studio artifacts that surround him. The life model, perched on the artist’s chair, studies her portrait on the easel. The tumbling quilt and her leg convey the tall verticality of the painting, yet the horizontal portrait and the framed art on the wall keep the eye focused on the center of the painting. The artist has stepped away from the easel and is framed in the circular mirror. What is he studying? The model, the painting, the life? In the mirror, above his head to the right, is the leading edge of a surfboard and below that, another mirror and within that, the reflection of the artist in the circular mirror and so on.

Steve Hanks’ In the Artist’s Studio is something special for his collectors and fans. Far more than a sneak peek into his workspace, it is a gem of a multi-layered autobiography.  (The framed art on the studio wall is mostly his own. The checkerboard floor is Berkeley Kitchen, an acrylic from 1973. Did Steve find the image of John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott inspirational, or was there a personal connection he found to the character in the Tennyson’s poem that inspired the painting? A quick look into the story might reveal a whole other level in Hanks’ portrait to you.

If you are a fan of Steve Hanks, this work of art is something special to remember him by. More importantly, you can help the family offset the medical bills from his cancer treatment by purchasing either the paper or canvas version of In The Artist’s Studio directly from Steve Hanks' website or contribute via their GoFundMe page.  

Remember Steve Hanks through his art

Steve Hanks

Steve Hanks, the premiere artist working today in the technically demanding field of realistic watercolor figure painting, passed away on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from complications of treatment for cancer.

          His astonishing realism came from a skillful control of washes, edges and layers, and his knowledge of the properties of water and pigment.

          “Now I understand how to gain control by letting go,” he said in his 2006 book, Moving On. “I just want to be part of the ride.”

          Although teachers often cited his artistic ability, Steve Hanks’ main interest while growing up around San Francisco was sports. As a young teenager, Hanks pursued surfing and tennis with passion and his spiritual connection with the ocean never left him.

            After high school Hanks enrolled in summer session commercial art courses at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He did well in his commercial art classes, but it was a life drawing class that captured his interest. He focused his energy on the study of anatomy and figure drawing and transferred into the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. He graduated in the 1960s with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and then moved back to New Mexico in search of a home art gallery.

          Initially, he drew in pencil and painted in oils. His paintings were impressionistic while his drawings were more realistic. Eventually, an allergic reaction to oils forced him to experiment with watercolors. Using the techniques learned from other mediums, he found he could create watercolors as “finished” as oils.

          Jurors, galleries and collectors have long recognized Steve Hanks’ talent. He received the National Watercolor Society Merit Award and the National Academy of Western Art Gold Medal, in addition to consistently appearing in the list of top ten American artists compiled by U.S. Art Magazine. Art for the Parks has honored his work with many awards.

          Deeply affected by the emotions, shifting attitudes and music of the 1960s, the music of Bob Dylan often accompanied Hanks as he painted in his studio. “I’m probably more affected by songwriters than I am by painters because I grew up in the sixties,” he said.

          His paintings are much more than endearing images of women and children. Rather than conveying a specific message through his paintings, Hanks preferred to explore memories and emotions.

          “All art is an escape to somewhere you want to be or a feeling you want to have,” Hanks said. “People see different things in my paintings because we all have different backgrounds and feelings.”

          His highly collected nudes convey an introspective solitude that prompts the viewer to think about his or her own life and path. “Women occupy a special niche in my sensitivity. They express more storytelling ability. There’s more magic in them,” he said.

           The emotional impact of these detailed and highly realistic paintings is stunning. Whatever the subject—children, families, women, nudes, landscapes, water, textile patterns—the paintings are also about light, shadow and emotion. They each reveal a personal challenge, pain, or joy of the artist.

          “I want my whole body of work to tell a story when I’m gone,” he said. “It will tell the story of my life emotionally.”

          Steve Hanks lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he raised his three children who were often portrayed in his art. His work can be seen on his official website at  He was represented by many galleries over his lifetime including Leslie Levy, E.S. Lawrence, Aspen Grove and SR Brennen. He was published in fine art editions by The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. in Seymour, CT.




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