2023 in review: Hannah's painting highlights
It has been yet another busy year, with lots of new product development and, naturally, the creation of new paintings! I take all of the inspiration for my art from the natural world and have been lucky enough to spot owls, hares and more on the farm throughout the year. Here are some of my favourite paintings from 2023...
Forget Me Not
I always end up painting over the Christmas break – although I try to have some time off thinking about emails, I still find it relaxing to spend a few hours tucked away quietly in my studio with my paints. This time last year I was designing a new range of greeting cards and I think this is my favourite – forget me nots are one of my favourite flowers and I love the little mice in this design.
King Charles III
This painting was a real challenge – people are not my usual genre so I wanted to test my skills! I really wanted to come up with a painting that was different from the usual tributes and still have something distinctly ‘Wrendale’ about it. I decided to draw on the the things that I could relate to – Charles’ love of his rescue Jack Russell, his garden (even his favourite flower, the delphinium!) and watercolour painting. I tried to capture a special moment and was really pleased with the results.
I start designing Christmas cards around 18 months before the Christmas they are going to be launched for – this usually means that I’m finding inspiration for the festive season just as the sun is shining and no one else is thinking about Christmas! This is a sneak peak of my favourite Christmas design for the 2024. I was thinking about snowy walks in the park and I love these two characters!
Hares were the first animals I painted when I was honing my skills and thinking about starting a business based on my artwork. I have painted many over the years but I think this is my absolute favourite. I had been watching a pair of hares grazing and playing in the field and was inspired to start a new piece. I think that this piece really captures the inquisitive character perfectly.
It was Jack’s 40th birthday this year and I painted Elvis, our toy poodle, as a surprise for him. Despite the fact that he was sitting in the same room as me for a good part of the time I was painting it, it was still a complete surprise on the morning of his birthday! Dogs are such a joy to paint, especially when you know the character and personality and can really bring it out in the painting. The curls were a challenge but I love his sweet face!
This is something a little different but was inspired by our trip to Cornwall earlier in the year. We visited Kennall Vale nature reserve, a woodland nestled in a deep gorge. Mosses cloaked the rocks and ferns and lichens clung to ancient branches. We saw kingfishers and dippers and it was a magical trip.
I was asked to come up with a new Halloween design for 2024 – here is what I came up with! We are lucky enough to have a pair of little owls living by our house and they provided me with the inspiration for this piece, with a little imagination thrown in for good measure. I love their comical faces and I feel that this design came together really well.
We had two pairs of tawny owls nesting on the farm this year and we often saw the adult dozing in the field maple in the hedgerow. I loved painting this piece – we are launching it in our January collection and I loved it so much that it featured the front of the new catalogue that we send out to all of our trade customers. Hopefully it will be appearing on a card in a shop near you soon!
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