Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Jennifer Hannaford on Her Scientific Career & More

This week’s cover artist, Jennifer Hannaford, talks about the inspiration, her artistic process and her surprising first career.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
A beloved family pet inspired this piece titled, “Who’s A Good Girl?” The art was commissioned by one of my collectors. Roxy is a Labrador who recently passed, and she loved to swim. The client sent a variety of beautiful pictures to choose from. My specialty is water, so this image was an obvious choice. The collector is also a painter, so we enjoyed the painting process together.

Talk about your art style.
Often, when folks walk by my studio, they believe much of my work are photos until they come inside and get a closer look. Once inside my space and viewing the work up close, they see that the surface is quite textured. I do not want my art to look like a complete reproduction of a photo, I want my art to look like a painting, full of energy and unexpected marks and colors. Though there are elements of realism, I often lean to the impressionistic side.

 Jennifer Hannaford and another on of her mesmerizing water works, Images: Courtesy Hannaford
Jennifer Hannaford and another on of her mesmerizing water works, Images: Courtesy Hannaford

Tell us about your artistic process.
I started my first series of paintings with underwater swimmers while simultaneously learning how to paint in my early forties. In the beginning, I was striving to understand the process while managing to accurately convey an image on an otherwise blank surface. Time has evolved and I have learned enough to understand that creating art is more than just the recreation of an image. I am not just capturing a moment of a visual experience, but I am capturing a moment in the history of my development as an artist. No matter if it is a study or a large commission, I strive to experiment and find my own voice in the process of creating. Many people are creating underwater art, but we each have our own voice while delivering our vision, and I want work that is uniquely mine.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
I was a forensic scientist for 25 years. I left the field to become a full time painter in 2019. Being an artist is my dream job, and the very thing I would have chosen to do as a professional if I was still in my former career. I feel pretty blessed to have made this transition. I cannot think of anything else at this time.

What inspires you the most?
I am obsessed with discovering new art and styles. I am never stuck on one artist, and there are so many I am influenced by. Most are not famous, yet they are creating art that, in my mind, shatters boundaries. I access these artists through social media formats. What a time we live in. Art available at our fingertips. We are not confined to the galleries and walls filled with work curated by others. I get to choose my own creative galleries with which to be inspired.Lately, I have been inspired by nature. I have been out taking photos and compiling pictures of Long Island that will form a new series of landscapes.

See more of Jennifer Hannaford’s work at 25 Chandler Square, Port Jefferson.

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