Gary Hanks

I paint light; the hazy light of early morning and the amber glow of evening. I paint light dimmed by mist and light as it penetrates shadowy clefts and fades into vague distances. I like to conjure fanciful light, an imaginary primordial light, ancient light shining from a distant past, obeying its own rules as it casts its spectral glow.

For me light is magical, having the power to lift the spirit and move the emotions. Light is mystical and illusive; its absence can be as intriguing as its presence. It is the prospect of light, in all its forms, which captivates my imagination, calls to me for expression, and propels me forward in my quest.

The subjects of the paintings are a composite of things I have seen and things I have imagined. I may, for example, carefully paint the likeness of a rock formation from a photograph I have taken. Then I will proceed to invent the scenery around it and to improvise the effect of light upon it.

I use some traditional watercolor painting techniques as well as some very personal and unique techniques I have developed. Traditional wet-into-wet technique is used to establish my comprehensive design idea. Then I build one glaze layer over another as I gradually develop depth and detail into the picture. It is my unique method of freely mixing transparent watercolor and opaque technique which enables me to achieve color complexity, tonal variation, and the soft subtle glow I achieve in many of the paintings. In addition, I use limited amounts of synthetic medium to isolate and fix glaze layers, a technique which enhances the glow.

I began drawing and painting at about age five and have been working to build my skills ever since. As an adult I studied art at the university level having finished degrees in Studio Art, Art Education, and Art History. Some of the graduate work was done abroad in England, France, and Italy where my focus was medieval art and the history of landscape painting. There have also been many self-styled tours to remote and distant places to gather subject matter and gain inspiration.