Since returning to the UK from Kenya in 2016 Hannah has developed her style and technique using oil paints and palette knives. Her unique use of horizontal and vertical strokes to break up her paintings brings a geometric element to a subject matter not usually associated with straight lines. Hannah captures the energy and movement of her subject with a bold use of impasto paint in vibrant, often unnatural colours. She works quickly to capture a likeness while the paint is still wet, moving the medium across the canvas to create the network of layers that are threaded through her work.
Create it, break it, fix it, balance it - it is an exhausting journey that I can only dare embark on because I know I will be saved by a happy accident that science could never have predicted."
“The process came about by “happy accident,” Hannah says. “I am, at heart, a scientist and perhaps a perfectionist, so my work has a habit of becoming too tight and controlled in favour of achieving anatomical correctness. Yet another painting had lost its life and fluidity and in frustration I took a scraping knife to a canvas, intending to dispose of the piece rather than to improve it. But the colours had been dragged through each other in a way that had produced some intriguing, albeit accidental, effects. I now use this method as a tool to keep the energy in my work."
"I have to break with every perfectionist bone in my body to deliberately ruin a painting for the benefit of experimentation and progression"
"I force myself to break the painting down before reintroducing only the necessary details that will enable the viewer to read the form. I like to force the viewer’s brain to work harder to find the image so that they are continually surprised by shapes and lines that disappear and then re-emerge when viewed from different angles. It is a push and pull process that draws the subject in and out of focus - the challenge is to find the right balance between realism and abstract. Now, rather than being frightened by the prospect of making a mistake, I mentally prepare myself to ruin a painting for the benefit of experimentation and progression. Painting is a daunting process, but the careful balance of luck with judgement makes it all the more exciting.”
Watch highlights of Hannah competing in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019.