Hannah Regan

Insta: hannahreganart

The Art of Getting By

“I have always chosen to create emotive work, ranging from mental health to social issues. I prefer to create something with a message, coming from life experiences and hidden meanings so it can be enjoyable for a wider demographic. My original intent was to create a series of paintings that would include incomplete portraits using oil paint as my medium – using anyone willing to let me paint them. The message behind the series was going to be that no matter what you see on the surface, you have no idea what someone is going through. However, this became more difficult to accomplish when we were restricted to our homes because of the global pandemic. These obstacles led me to develop a body of work which instead explored the idea of creating a social document of my time in quarantine. Nevertheless, I am lucky enough to have a range of materials I needed at home to succeed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all studio spaces and workshops have been closed – that meant I had no access to any life drawing sessions and had to focus on references found on the previous museum visits to Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Cardiff Museum, references found on social media and/or create something from memory.

I still ended up created a series of oil paintings – some finished and some unfinished – just for a different purpose. I produced a total of seven pieces, all in a range of different sizes and colours. Five out of the seven pieces were dark with undertones of blues, one of the pieces had an element of the previous, using darker shadows but this time with a warmer undertone. The final piece is a complete contrast in colour and style. I used a warmer hue of reds and pink with white for what was visible for the background. All of these decisions were not random. With the influence of Picasso and his Blue and Rose Period I thought it would be appropriate to use colour to entertain each mood I was feeling when painting. In relation to this, I was also inspired by artists like Augustus Johns for his sometimes unfinished looking yet amazingly detailed portraits, Henry Tonks for his beautifully graphic pastel drawings recording facial injury cases during the first world war and Kaye Donache for her soft oil paintings of writers, activists, poets and artists, for whom ideas rather than appearance were central to their identity.

The initial plan for this project was to finish off my project with an auction, auctioning off the pieces individually and give 100% of the proceeds to a charity of my choice. I hope to make prints of my work (when lockdown eases) and sell them, donating the proceeds to The Black Lives Matter, Inc. In what has been brought to light during this pandemic – and something that has been of major importance to recognise – is the injustice and institutional racism present in the system aimed towards black people.

A major challenge for me during quarantine has been handling my mental health, it was something I could not escape from – literally speaking. So, I decided to use this to my advantage and let it be the focal point of the series, recording a visual piece that showed ‘the art of getting by’. Personally, I believe that my final major project is a result and reflection of my growth as an artist over this past year as well as being a social document representing my journey during these uncertain times. I have come to the conclusion that I would like to continue using and progress my skills in oil painting, using different colour palettes and attempt something other than portraiture such as still life. I will also try to incorporate charity work, and educational explorations into my art in future projects.

Personally, I believe that my final major project is a result and reflection of my growth as an artist over this past year as well as being a social document representing my journey during these uncertain times. I have come to the conclusion that I would like to continue using and progress my skills in oil painting, using different colour palettes and attempt something other than portraiture such as still life. I will also try to incorporate charity work, and educational explorations into my art in future projects.”