All copyright Hannah Wheeler 2014
Heavily influenced by a bohemian upbringing, her work explores the visual contradictions of a victorian life in the modern day.
Born in the late 70’s, she was brought up in the middle of a Somerset village. After moving in search of an alternative education, (experiencing Education Otherwise, The Steiner School and The Small School) the family settled in the hidden depths of Devon in 1987; living an off grid, self sufficient lifestyle in a 400 year old cottage with an outside toilet, a well stocked vegetable garden and no near neighbours. Living without electricity and for a time, without running water, the family led a natural and humble life.
As a young teenager and without the distraction of a television, Hannah spent a lot of time sketching, reading, daydreaming and exploring. A lot of energy for her subject matter comes from these places. Apart from taking art to A level, she is self-taught. Her style is also influenced by the delicate light and everyday scenes of Vermeer, the strength and shade of Caravaggio, the clean colours of Malcolm Leipke, contrasting textures and the constant drive to explore faces.
Hannah makes notes, lots of them. All her paintings start with words. Once an idea has matured enough to become a basic sketch, she sets up the scene to take photographs, often using combinations of several photos for one painting. The elements involved are selected but the way the sitter interacts is left unplanned. This part has fluidity, capturing micro expressions to work with. Subsequently drawing the composite image onto a prepared wooden panel and using layers of oil paint to bring out the character. She now lives by the beach with her two children and whippet and runs a childrens art club in her studio in Bude on the North Cornwall coast.
‘Conversation and Contemplation’
Her current series of paintings is about the connection between people in the ordinary activity of tea drinking, invisibly tied to the ritual of preparation and at the social bonding process that happens around it. Focusing on three elements; face, hands and a cup of tea - a simple template with endless variations.
In preparation of Cornwall Open Studios 2016, Hannah featured in Cornwall Living magazine and The Western Morning News.