Interview with Painter Kristine Hansen-Cain

I sat down with artist, Kristine Hansen-Cain, in her studio to talk about painting, life transitions, and the position of art on the metaphorical food chain.


I was greeted by a sense of calm upon entering Kristine Hansen-Cain’s home painting studio, even through the muffled, rowdy sounds of her son and his friends playing in the basement after school. She would prefer a separate studio outside her house, as her canvases are starting to invade adjoining rooms, but it is a lovely space with natural light and old-world charm.

Hansen-Cain is creating 49 oil paintings for CSArt, quite an undertaking for the four-month program. She laughs saying she could have picked an easier format, but is enjoying the regiment and learning more about the technique of layering lean and fat oil paints.

Hansen-Cain is a mother of four and was in the medical field for most of her career. She says she didn’t have time for an artistic practice for many years in there- including a time as a single mother- but is glad for the many parts of her identity and feels her soul is 100% artist in the end.


You were a nurse practitioner for 25 years, and just became a full-time artist last year, how has that transition been? Though I do not regret my career in medicine, thanks to my family and the art community, it has overall been uncomplicated and fluid. The most difficult part for me was feeling that I was leaving behind a known “identity” and embracing a new one. 


What has been your experience as an artist in Omaha? Is there anything you would change about the city/art community?  I love the art community in Omaha..and the city..it has a great ‘feel’ on many levels. Even when I was in the medical community, I noticed the growth in the city/art community…  I have had a fantastic experience and I am so appreciative for the people I have met. I cannot think of a thing I would change! 


What drives your art making? I am not entirely certain, but part of it has to do with my motivation to communicate. For me, art in all forms is at the top of the food chain, so to speak. Since my tendency is to think and speak tangentially, I can be unclear and redundant.  For me, art is a more effective and coherent way of communication and connection with others.  


What would your dream studio look like? I would love, love, love to have a studio with 12-14 foot high ceilings, plenty of ambient lighting, and surrounded by other artists and people from all walks of life. Also, if my dog were welcome, this would be great too!


What's the greatest lesson you've learned about art? This is a significant question and a moving target.  I felt (in medicine) much of my workday was quantitative rather than qualitative, with many decisions based on physiology and hard science.  Intriguing though science is, I love the visceral, intuitive, and soulful of our world. 


As I was leaving, the boys came bounding up the stairs and out the door. A palpable silence filled the house. As I bid her farewell, on an unusually warm spring day, I thought it seemed like the perfect space and time to paint.

                                                                                                -anna nance


Check back next Friday for another chat with one of our CSArtists!