Dan’s Cover Artist Jane Hartley Shares Insight into Her Work

November 12, 2021 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Jane Hartley
November 12, 2021 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Jane Hartley

Jane Hartley returns to the cover of Dan’s Papers with another exquisite submission. Combining a background in graphic design and an appreciation for the Old Masters, she has shaped her still life and figurative paintings into unique works that are somehow both realistic and faintly surreal. Here, she discusses how she created this week’s cover art, her signature art style and more.

Jane Hartley
Jane Hartley

What inspired this week’s cover art, “Knot for Sail?”

Sailing holds a place in my heart. In the late ’80s my husband introduced me to bareboat sailing. During the next decade we would set out by ourselves as our sailing adventures took us throughout the Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas and the Grenadines. As my boating skills improved, albeit slowly, we ventured on to the South Pacific, sailing around the Society Islands of French Polynesia and the islands of the Kingdom of Tonga, visiting places I had only dreamed of. We had incredibly rich experiences — fascinating, strange and wonderful — many of which are permanently etched in my brain. I learned a lot, even including how to tie a few knots.

How was this piece created? Walk us through your process.

I have a lot of ideas that started as doodles for this Knot Play series — which is based on using a play on words. After selecting the appropriate props for a concept, the next step is to arrange a setup to work out the details of the composition. That’s followed by a more refined sketch that can be transferred to the painting surface. Then the painting begins.

Art by Jane Hartley
Art by Jane Hartley

What makes this artwork such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?

Hmm, because art is such a personal thing, I am just extremely flattered that someone has selected my paintings to appear in your publication.

How would you describe your art style, and how did you develop it?

My style: contemporary realism with a touch of surrealism. When I first started painting, I kept trying to find my style. The harder I looked, the more it eluded me. But over time it just sort of appeared, and I found myself saying, “Oh, that looks like I painted that.” Now I don’t question it — I just try to continue to improve it.

What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?

That I’m still painting and learning after all these years.

Art by Jane Hartley
Art by Jane Hartley

What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?

It’s my escape.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts?

Yes. Thank you Dan’s Papers for showcasing my work on several occasions over the past year. As a painter, I know I’ll never be able to paint all the ideas that I have, but I will paint as long as I can hold a brush. “Ars longa, vita brevis!”

To view more of Jane Hartley’s art, visit janehartley.com.

November 12, 2021 Dan's Papers cover art by Jane Hartley
November 12, 2021 Dan’s Papers cover art by Jane Hartley

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