Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Jane Hartley on Realism

Jane Hartley's art on the cover of the February 19, 2021 Dan's Papers issue.
Jane Hartley's art on the cover of the February 19, 2021 Dan's Papers issue.

Jane Hartley has a background in both graphic design and fine art, taking inspiration from the “old masters.” She studied at The Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore and currently lives on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
A few years back, I stumbled across something about knots that caught my attention. After a bit of research and realizing that the subject is immense and complicated, I decided to lighten it up and have fun with it. That led me to create the KNOT SERIES, which is based on a play on words. I have found that it’s a visual gift that just keeps giving me ideas.

Jane Hartley
Jane Hartley

Talk about your art style.
I trained learning the methods used by the “old masters” in a traditional classical realistic style. So my style is definitely realistic, regardless of subject. And almost always my paintings have stories. Recently I did tap into my graphic design background and create a small series of what I referred to as “graphic abstracts,” which was fun, but a complete departure from my normal style. It’s nice to experiment once in a while and push some boundaries, but I think the realism will always be there.

Tell us about your artistic process.
I start out with rough sketches of ideas and compositions. That’s followed up by a hunt for props to arrange in a set up—which may take quite a while. This is usually the time when the painting’s “story” develops. I sometimes take photos at different stages to look for aspects I may want to change. Once I determine the scale, I start a drawing to size that I can transfer to my surface. Then it’s on to painting where anything can happen.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
It makes me nervous just thinking about it.

What inspires you the most?
I have a curious and imaginative mind that can take me in a lot of directions, so I can’t say there is one thing that inspires me the most. I do have a very long list of ideas I’d like to paint though.

See more of Jane Hartley’s work at the William Ris Gallery, 1291 Main Road, Jamesport, and at janehartley.com.

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