Laurel J. Hanson, Artist

I was born in northeast Nebraska to parents of German, Scotch, Irish, English and Swedish descent.  Our family lived on a farm until I was eight years old and then we moved to a small town in southern South Dakota.  Four years later we moved to Pierre, South Dakota where I graduated from high school.  I then attended Montana State University in Bozeman earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree  As part of our curriculum, I was required to take several art classes and was introduced to abstract art.  I then worked for forty years in the field of architecture, drawing structures and straight lines and spending my leisure time photographing landscapes and flowers.  In my thirties I took a three year sabbatical and was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Fiji Islands.

Also during this time I worked on early PTSD issues, processing the depths of emotions, soul and spirit.  I was able to reintegrate and free myself to express the depths of my soul.

After retiring and doing some traveling to galleries in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and  New York City, I took a basic drawing class and then in the fall of 2013, I taught myself oil painting using a book and experimenting with colors.  I painted realistic images at first until I felt drained and then I reread THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julia Cameron and DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN by Betty Edwards.  These two books started me down a different path towards free expression.  I decided to paint with my left hand allowing my hand to dance across the canvas.

I am creating dancing, free-form figures in my abstract oil paintings that reflect my view of the universe, my surroundings, my feelings, my soul and spirit.  I use lines, forms, textures and colors to create images that touch viewer's souls and raise their spirits.


I often begin painting without any specific idea of the design or final product..  I select a canvas size and add a background color. Once that color is on the canvas, I may add swirls of a darker shade and possibly some white which I then blend.  Next I select brushes or palette knives and the colors I feel will work with the background color.  I then let the right side of my brain, which I access with my left hand, begin the process of adding other colors to the canvas.  Finally, I step back and view the work and let my right hand add the finishing touches.  When finished, I am often surprised at the painting that has emerged.