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. He eventually tired of a steady diet of competitive tennis, but continued to surf, finding a spiritual connection with the ocean. “Surfing had a strong influence on my paintings,” he says. “The ocean often appears in my work, because I have such strong feelings for it.” Although it was apparent early on that he had talent, Hanks refused to do the required assignments in his high school art class and earned a grade of C in the class. “To prove I was good, I did a one-man show at the high school and sold my first painting to another art teacher,” he says.
Inspired by the world’s myths, fables and tales of imagination, James C. Christensen wants his work to add up to more than a beautiful – if sometimes “curious” looking work of art. Having taught art professionally for over 20 years, he likes to think of the world as his classroom. His hope is that through whatever he creates-be it a porcelain, fine art print or book-he can convey a message, inspiration or a simple laugh. He believes that teaching people to use their imagination helps us find solutions to sooth the stresses of everyday life-or get a little lift to help us keep going. In short: all things are possible when you share Christensen’s philosophy that “Believing is Seeing.” Christensen was born in 1942 and raised in Culver City, California. He studied painting at Brigham Young University and, for a while, the University of California at Los Angeles before finishing his formal education at BYU. Since then, he has had one-man shows in the West and the Northeast and his work is prized in collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Michael David Sorensen brings watercolors to life with his vibrant, detailed style. Born in 1981, this Vancouver, Washington native has been painting since age 12 when his grandparents gave him a watercolor set for Christmas. As soon as he could hold a pencil, Michael began drawing in an effort to compete with his older brother, Dan, and his dad. His father made a living for several years as a professional artist, blowing glass, so when it came time to homeschool Michael and Dan, their dad became the art teacher. Michael was home schooled all but one grade through school. After graduating from high school, Michael went on to Clark College and took every art class he could fit into his schedule. He met several art instructors who challenged and encouraged his creative development. Michael was also fortunate to study under the late, internationally known watercolorist, Zoltan Szabo. His dad continues to be available for critiques.
From an early age I have always been fascinated by paintings that create mood, emotion and atmosphere; especially those paintings that lift me and transport me to some far off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my paintings. My paintings in many ways record what is most important to me: my feelings and experiences with family and friends along with the spiritual aspects of my life. My hope is that in these images you will find something familiar, something which will resonate and remind you of what is important in your own life.
– Greg Olsen
Bob Byerley is one of the foremost painters of children today. Considered a modern day Norman Rockwell, Bob’s nostalgic “Trompe l’Oeil” fool the eye realism oil paintings evoke a feeling of a kinder and gentler age in which he grew up.
Bob Byerley’s classical ultra realistic interpretations of the everyday experiences of the child, awakens in the viewer, long forgotten memories. The art combines precise academic painting techniques of the Old Dutch Masters with the heart and soul of Norman Rockwell.
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