Steve Hanks is first and foremost a figure painter.
His watercolor paintings are infused with emotion and a kind of
poetry formed by light and shadow in his compositions. He often
paints what he refers to as "moments of introspective solitude,"
with deep respect for the privacy of the individual lost in reflection.
Each painting holds a mystery that is also a personal story about
the artist as he expresses his own emotional unfolding through art.
Just as writers are urged to "write what you
know," Steve Hanks paints what he lives. When his children
were born his work was filled the profound intimacy between infants
and parents, the unexpected joy of toddlers, and the wonder of youngsters
finding their way in the outside world.
Throughout his body of work, the study of the figure
is primary and no where is this more in evidence than in Hanks'
nudes. Forms are defined by light slanting through windows and sunlight
through fabric or the drape of a sheet. Through Steve's mastery
of composition, shadow and light, his figures emerge from the paper
fully formed, unique, and mysterious.
The emotional impact of these detailed and highly
realistic paintings is undeniable. Whatever the subject--children,
families, women, nudes, landscape, moving water, or textile patterns--the
paintings are also about light and shadow, and reflect a personal
challenge, pain, or joy of the artist.
The paintings in this volume represent the most
extensive collection of the artist's work in over ten years. Some
time after his divorce in the 1990s, Steve began a series of paintings
about healing. The paintings in this series are both deeply personal
in their symbolism of the artist's own life and universal in their
emotion and experience. "I want my whole body of work to tell
a story when I'm gone," says Steve. "It will tell the
story of my life emotionally."
Steve Hanks is the premiere artist working
in the technically-demanding field of realistic watercolor figure
painting today. His astonishing realism comes 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," says the artist. "I just want to be part
of the ride."
hi-res cover artwork