Escape from L.A.

Artist Erin Hanson tends to paint large canvases, using her own open impressionism style to create vivid landscapes. Her works adorn the walls of The Erin Hanson Gallery at 9705 Carroll Centre Road. (photo by John Gregory)

Escape from L.A.

By John Gregory

A visual oasis sits nestled within a small business park a short distance from Scripps Ranch. Artist Erin Hanson moved from Los Angeles to Scripps Ranch a little more than a year ago and carefully selected this spot at 9705 Carroll Centre Road to open The Erin Hanson Gallery.

Hanson is one of the fortunate people in the world who chose where they wanted to live and can work in a career they truly love. She lives seven minutes from her studio and paints until around 11 p.m. each day. The 6,000 square foot space was gutted when she started building the interior of the gallery. Now, it contains an elegant reception area, warehouse, photo room, office space, art studio and gallery displaying her paintings.

“It was a perfect merge. … I’m a landscape painter and I really enjoyed moving to San Diego because my customers here love the outdoors like I do, whereas in L.A. I didn’t feel that connection,” she explained. “Growing up in L.A., my favorite part was escaping L.A. into the mountains or down to the beaches or up north into the Sierras.”

Hanson said she has three brothers who were Boy Scouts, so she spent lots of time with her family outdoors hiking and backpacking.

“That was a big part of my life,” she said. “So, landscapes, this was what I wanted to paint. I used to sit under the pine trees drawing them all by myself at the top of the mountains. Those are my fondest memories.”

Hanson employs oils to paint in a style she calls open impressionism. She prepares a limited palette of four or five colors which she mixes before she begins. She applies the pigment with lots of texture upon a light underpainting that acts as a toned surface.

“I’m not layering at all when I paint, so the brush strokes are laid side by side,” she said. “The thing that people love about my paintings is how much texture is in them. The way I retain the texture is I don’t overwork the painting.”

Erin Hanson in her studio

While they are landscapes, her finished paintings are full of energy. They seem naturally illuminated, and it’s not difficult to imagine any of them mounted in the center of a lovely Scripps Ranch home.

Hanson’s business acumen is nearly as impressive as her artistry. Besides producing about 20 art pieces per month and selling about four per week, she prints and sells calendars, books and canvas prints featuring her creations. She employs five people who help her keep the business running.

None of this came without effort. Electing to carve out a living by selling used items on eBay, Hanson first built her own business instead of using her degree in bio engineering. Her success re-selling items was such that she was able to slowly transition into her art career, and it’s been a gratifying journey.

“The people who love my work really do love it and are really passionate about it,” Hanson said. “I love being able to make that reaction in people.”

The Erin Hanson Gallery will hold an opening of The Red Rock Show, a collection of paintings depicting scenes from her travels through Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. The artist’s reception will be June 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. Visit

“Balanced Rock”
“Canyon View”
Erin Hanson’s art tends to illuminate a room. (photo by John Gregory)

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