Local artist explores vivid watercolor tones

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NORTH BEND - Balancing three boys, soccer practices and an aspiring art career seems like a tremendous load. But such is the daily life of Sarah Hansen, local watercolor artist.

Hansen has been painting for 17 years and has always had an artistic flair, but did not find an outlet for it until later in life. Her career began with the realization that painting requires an individual who encapsulates the atmosphere of a situation. Beginning by simply painting the walls of her house, Hansen taught herself various techniques and came to the revelation that she wanted to pursue art as a career.She would quickly progress to painting people, pets and landscapes.

"It is most crucial for me as an artist to capture the essence and capture the spirit of the moment," said Hansen.

Doing most paintings from photographs, Hansen believes that the watercolor helps bring the vividness of the portrait to life and interviewing the client is essential to understanding the personality of the piece.

One of the first times Hansen showed her work publicly was at a holiday bazaar hosted by Opstad Elementary in North Bend. Since then her work has been displayed at numerous locations in the Snoqualmie Valley, as well as the Bellevue-Eastside region. Locally her work has appeared in Bibo Coffee Co., George's Bakery and Isadora's Café.

Watercolor is considered, from an artist's perspective, one of the most challenging mediums to work with. With watercolor, there is no way to cover up a mistake making getting started in the field a daunting task.

"I had to teach myself through trial and error. I talked to everyone possible, there was a lot of paper involved in my learning process and the people already in the field helped teach me through my attendance of meetings and demonstrations," she said.

Despite the challenges, Hansen said it's the best medium to truly bring the vividness of a subject to life.

Along with painting, a long-term goal of Hansen's is to teach others about watercolor. She has a true love of working with people and believes that through teaching she would be able to share her expertise and her love of art with students.

A new area within portraits, which Hansen had never expected to attempt, was painting pictures of individuals who had passed away.

Hansen explains that when approached to paint these types of portraits, she immediately found the form inspiring.

"I became so involved with the painting of the individual, and it was so touching to be such a large factor in the healing process," Hansen said.

Hansen, who is a member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, said she's looking forward to many more years of pursuing her craft.

"I hope that with time I will be able to dedicate more effort toward the work, because I believe it is magical how it all comes together," Hansen said.

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