Watercolorist Steve Hanks dies at age 66 - Albuquerque Journal

Watercolorist Steve Hanks dies at age 66

Steve Hanks was a master in his medium.

That’s how friends and family remember the internationally known watercolor artist, who made Albuquerque his home for a big part of his life. He was especially noted for his portraits of women and children.

Hanks died Tuesday of cardiac arrest. He was 66.

Artist Steve Hanks, who died Tuesday, is pictured here in his Albuquerque studio. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)
Artist Steve Hanks, who died Tuesday, is pictured here in his Albuquerque studio. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

As a true artist does, Hanks didn’t stop painting, though he slowed down tremendously when he was diagnosed recently with cancer and began chemotherapy.

“Once he started the radiation, it was difficult for him,” said his former wife, Laura Hanks. “This was a man that would spend 10 to 14 hours a day painting. He didn’t have any days off. Then he would only have an hour to paint, and he would get tired easily.”

Hanks was born into a military family in San Diego in 1949. His father was a highly decorated World War II Navy flyer, and Hanks grew up playing tennis and surfing along the beaches of Southern California.

The family was transferred to New Mexico when he was a junior in high school.

After high school, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in San Francisco and transferred to the California College of Arts and Crafts, where he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

Hanks experimented with many media – oils, watercolor, pencil, acrylics. But he found his calling in watercolor and became well-known in the world art community.

“He had a little edge to him,” said gallery owner Mary Ann Weems, who represented Hanks for years. “There are certain people who are born with the left and the right brain intact. This is why he was able to paint with such unbelievable mastery. I was enthralled by his work.”

Hanks called his style “emotional realism” as he often left the faces of his figures obscured or turned away. This was not only to leave the face to the imagination of the viewer, but also to allow the entire figure to express the emotion.

Hanks and Laura Hanks had three children. As the family grew, it provided new inspiration for him. He often painted his wife and children, which Laura Hanks holds more dear now.

“I don’t think anyone was as blessed as I am to have my children and my family captured in his paintings,” she said. “It’s really touching that Steve was able to share that beauty with the rest of the world.”

Since news of Hank’s death broke, his Facebook page has been flooded with condolences from all over the world.

“It’s really beautiful to understand and know that he had the impact he was trying to have,” Laura Hanks said. “His purpose was to share the beauty and love of life. He knows that he created more beauty in the world and we have that to remember him by.”

Hanks’ family will host a tribute to his life and work from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday. For information on attending, the family asks people to inquire at stevehankstribute@gmail.com.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Watercolorist Steve Hanks dies at age 66


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
ABQ homicide detectives investigating fatal shooting
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police are investigating after a ... Albuquerque police are investigating after a maintenance worker was killed Sunday night while doing a random check on vacant apartments in the complex where ...
2
Take your employer up on health care FSA offers
ABQnews Seeker
There is a mythology of aging ... There is a mythology of aging baby boomers complaining about their ailments. As a 'young-older' guy fortunate to have no known physical issues, I ...
3
New Mexico slips to 50th in child well-being
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's ranking in overall child ... New Mexico's ranking in overall child well-being slipped from 49th to 50th, according ...
4
MLK offramp gone; MVD out of envelopes
ABQnews Seeker
Northbound I-25 MLK exit permanently closed ... Northbound I-25 MLK exit permanently closed starting Monday
5
APD seeking silver sedan in connection with murders of ...
ABQnews Seeker
Police said the vehicle officers are ... Police said the vehicle officers are looking for is a dark gray or silver, four-door Volkswagen, perhaps a Jetta or a Passat, with tinted ...
6
New Batteries Plus opens in Los Lunas
ABQnews Seeker
A new Batteries Plus opened in ... A new Batteries Plus opened in Los Lunas on Saturday. This is the national chain's sixth location in the state. The franchise is owned ...
7
Shooting at an apartment complex in NE Albuquerque leaves ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say a man was ... Albuquerque police say a man was shot to death at an apartment complex in the 500 block of Tramway NE early Sunday morning. Officers ...
8
Four suspected in fatal shooting of Cruces woman
ABQnews Seeker
Alexis Baca, 25, was found dead ... Alexis Baca, 25, was found dead in mountains outside Boulder, Colo., last month
9
APS to tap community on parents rights policy
ABQnews Seeker
School board lays out timeline for ... School board lays out timeline for for final vote in November