Like many of us, Heidi knew early on that she was creative. In her words, “I have always been interested in art. As a child I tried to create things out of just about every material I could find.” That interest never went away. It magnified at Ohio Wesleyan University where she got her BFA and then a master’s in art education from Indiana University.
Her career as an art teacher in public schools was a perfect outlet for her creativity. She studied a variety of media in art classes during the summers while she taught school. and became focused on using the narrative as a theme in her work. While today she concentrates mostly in watercolor, she was at first attracted to sculpture and received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to study at Penland.
Watercolor entered in her life more seriously after retiring from teaching. She studied watercolor with Ken Buck and a workshop with Mary Whyte that led her into figurative painting—something she still enjoys.
Getting Ready, Heidi Hanssen
The narrative approach to subject matter has continued from the early days. “Today, I still want to show a moment in time that reveals something about the subject. With my watercolors I can show such moments as the luminosity of daylight or the glow of artificial light on people and objects during the evening. Portraying the feeling of this light in my paintings is a way to evoke the emotions of being in that setting. It is a wonderful way to show my world to the viewer.”
Validation of Heidi’s skill as a watercolorist came from acceptance into the Transparent Watercolor Society International Show twice as well as local shows locally. Just this year, she has shown in the Cincinnati Woman’s Art Exhibit Regional Show, The Barn Cultural Art Center, earned the David Knoll Memorial award for Best Watercolor, participated in the “State of Watercolor”, a group show at the Pike Street Gallery, earned Second Place in the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society Annual Exhibit and received an award of excellence at Viewpoint 50.
Autumn Aspen, Heidi Hanssen
In addition to serving the Cincinnati Art Club of which she is a Signature member, she has a busy retirement serving on the board of a small nonprofit, the Woman’s Art Club, the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, and Ohio Watercolor Society (Signature Member). She and her husband Richard enjoy doing things with family including her four grandsons and they enjoy travel.
“I think the Cincinnati Art Club offers many opportunities to expand friendships with artists. I have met so many wonderful people serving on the board these past two years. I joined the club not knowing anyone! I wanted so much to meet more artists and the club has been a great help to me.”
Singing on the Square, Heidi Hanssen
“Serving on the Board as secretary is an honor that I truly love. I am constantly impressed by how much the Board members are willing to do to for the success of the Club. We work from an agenda that Don Schuster prepares based in part on the minutes of preceding meetings. My job as secretary is to record the meetings as a record of what we agreed during each meeting. Keeping these records serves as the archival history of the Club and they set out the task list of things we need to achieve before the next monthly meeting. I also write the Board Notes as a summary of the meeting for the website. I send out get well cards, thank you notes and letters, sympathy and other notes on behalf of the Club. It is my pleasure to serve this great organization.”
Swamp Stalker, Heidi Hanssen