Evergreen native Hannah Jensen was raised on the Clear Creek County side of Evergreen. Now, 26 years old and living in Golden with her soulmate, husband Adam, Hannah reveals how her love of nature gifted her with a divine calling to become an artist.
“My first memories of romping around Evergreen’s scenic landscape imprinted me for life. While in preschool, I discovered I had a knack for art. My supportive parents instantly enrolled me in classes at an art studio for kids. From the start, I loved embracing my creative freedom by going outside of the lines, which wasn’t always tolerated by several of my art teachers. Because of their restrictions, never did I think I was a good artist until I was allowed creative freedom in high school. It was then I became enthralled with motif of surrealism, and admired artists like Salvador Dali. Because of my love for being in the mountains and in nature, I started painting distinctive landscapes that conveyed my feelings through creative interpretations,” Hannah recalls.
While in high school, Hannah worked as a guide for an adventure camp that was designed to spark curiosity and nurture a passion for nature. “It was thrilling to share how meaningful nature was to me during our hikes, and because of those hikes, I realized how meaningful landscapes were to me. Never did I want to be pigeonholed into a specific artistic genre, and I noticed other art students in my high school were creating provocative pieces that the art teachers put on display. I decided to create provocative paintings, so I painted classic nude scenes to garner recognition, but nothing ignited my spirit as much as creating landscapes. While in college, I was profoundly stressed. My creative processes were challenged to the point I couldn’t create. It was then a teacher told me, ‘Your art reflects the presence of God, and because of that, you need to embrace the freedom to create what you want to create.’ Never have I forgotten those words because it was then I found my path, fully embraced what I loved to do, and knew my guide was the Creator. From then until now, I experience a peaceful serenity while painting landscapes that seemingly blocks my worries and fears and releases my freedom to be creative, all of which fuel my artistic passion that’s became my calling,” she says.
While working on her bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Leadership, Hannah worked as a guide for two summers. “I led rafting trips and rowed as many as 16 people in a boat for two weeks on a course that forced us to face white water rapids. This shook me to my core. I was terrified I’d tip the boat, but the experience taught me that facing both fear and challenges is exhilarating. When Mountain Youth Network (MYN) was seeking a full-time youth programs coordinator, I applied and was offered the position in November 2020. MYN’s mission is to ‘support our youth to find their path to hope, health, and happiness.’ My job presents me with amazing opportunities to work with kids throughout the United States and beyond, including kids who have experienced emotional woundedness. It’s a humbling experience to be their guide. A significant part of the trip is helping kids free themselves from their emotional baggage while on the course. It’s a challenging experience for them, especially when they have to give up their phones at the beginning of the week. I’ve discovered many kids don’t know how to turn off their phones, much less take a break from social media. It’s also challenging to inspire middle and high school students to be awed by the grandeur wilderness offers, but as the week progresses, the majority start to engage through the variety of experiences nature offers. At the end of each day, we provide each student with a solo experience that separates them and lasts 20 to 90 minutes. Their mission is to journal their feelings. At first, journaling challenges them, but when camp ends, they’ve faced pent-up emotions and are in touch with their feelings, which provides a sense of healing many have never experienced. Ironically, when the week ends, the majority of the kids don’t want their phones back because they found joy, common grace, and a deeper connection with one another by bonding through shared experiences. The courses and challenges we present make them realize they share the same woundedness. This creates unity and makes them realize they are not alone in their feelings or life experiences,” she explains.
Hannah’s work with kids and her artistic passion to create unique landscapes presented her with an artistic design she now implements into her art. “I wanted to symbolize my personal connection to the Creator and His creation with an impactful and unique artistic message. What challenged me creatively was how to convey my depth of love of nature and artistic passion onto the canvas. My answer came while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that goes from Mexico to Canada. My imagination transitioned the trail into an adventurous line climaxed with twists, turns, circles, highs, and lows. This adventurous line connects me with people of all ages and backgrounds because all of us are navigating a winding line as we pilgrimage through the wild places and experiences life takes us,” she reveals.
Hannah’s unique landscapes recently caught the eye of Olive Witwer, Coors Western art coordinator of the prestigious Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sales, an annual event and gallery exhibition that’s been associated with the National Western Stock Shows since 1994 and is noted as “one of the finest exhibitions of contemporary Western art in the United States.” Coors Western Art Exhibit started showcasing younger artists, dubbed The Young Guns of the National Western, in 2013. Hannah was one of four young artists selected to display their art during the 2022 National Western Stock Show.
“Olive discovered me through social media and asked to ‘tour my studio,’” she shares. “When she arrived, she discovered my ‘studio’ was actually the tiny one bedroom, one bath apartment I share with my husband. It was thrilling to be one of four Young Gun artists invited to display art in the 2022 show. I displayed four of my paintings and was shocked all four sold.”
Of herself, Hannah proclaims, “I am hyper-focused as an artist, which creates a profound feeling of serenity because I love the artistic journey that I can compare to being in paradise. This feeling also challenges me in a frantic way because I can never find a good stopping place as I paint. I have to set timers to remind me to eat. I often feel frantic because I can’t keep up with my own excitement of what is miraculously happening on the canvas. I am overwhelmed and fulfilled by what my hands and heart are creating.”