Her father was the son of a Danish sea captain.
She trained under Robin Philipson and William Gillies at Edinburgh College of Art and subsequently studied at Edinburgh University before going into teaching.
Since the early 1980s Hansen has worked full-time as an artist and has made several extended working and study tours in locations across Europe and North America.
She has exhibited internationally and her numerous awards include a Prix de Rome. She lives with her husband, George Sutherland, in Stirlingshire.