Hannah Nowlan is not just a painter, but a truly versatile creative. Printmaking was her main area of study during her fine arts degree, but the 22-year-old artist has always found herself working on other creative side projects, in craft-based media such as ceramics, leatherwork, dressmaking and furniture making.
In late 2016, Hannah took part in a formative residency at the University of Lisbon Faculty of Fine Art in Portugal. ‘The residency was a key moment for my career. Being only one of two Australians there, I felt really proud of our culture and our land’ the artist explains. Travelling overseas has had a major impact on Hannah’s art practice. ‘The residency played a large role in boosting my confidence as an artist, in a way it validated my practice, and made me realise that I do have something unique to share,’ she tells. ‘It allowed me to feel more comfortable to experiment with new materials and to push my practice into new spheres.’
Hannah’s upcoming show, ‘Myths, Moons and Mountains’ is inspired by two of the coastal towns she travelled through whilst in Portugal last year: Nazare and Sintra. ‘Both towns had a profound influence on this body of work, there are so many mythical stories and deep enchanting histories that I was really drawn to’ Hannah explains. ‘The locals of this region often call the area ‘Lunae Mons’ – the ‘Moon Mountains’. Both towns have a very alluring and often mystical presence of heavy fog, which floods the mountainous areas and allows one’s imagination to drift.’
The imagery throughout this new series of paintings are partly imagined scenes, and partly true depictions of place. The subject matter varies from literal seascapes and landscapes, to overheard stories and legends. Throughout, a distinctive colour palette of sand tones, dark terracotta browns and strong blues are used in overlapping, semi-translucent planes, lending a unique depth of colour to these works.
Each painting is carefully framed by Hannah with her father in Tasmanian Blackwood, using a double biscuit join, which adds another element of craftsmanship to the works.