River Gold: Artistry of Annette Hanna

River Gold


Annette Hanna is happiest when she is in the great outdoors, exploring the unknown and little known byways of America, searching hard to discover those out-of-the-way spots of nature that many pass by but seldom pause long enough to really see or experience.

She lives in New Jersey but spends her summers on Whidbey Island of Washington State, a region that reaches northward and almost touches Canada.

It is a pristine and wild part of the country, having changed little with the years. It is, she says, as though the fir trees, the lakes, and the mountains all keep calling her back, and she chronicles those remote scenes of nature primarily in pastels.

Annette Hanna says, “I love the act of painting. Landscapes and still life are wonderful subjects. There is so much beauty in nature, and it is a joy to go out and paint it. The beauty of the landscape is that it has a very spiritual quality.”

She is recognized as a traditional realist, who works in her Boonton Township studio in New Jersey but prefers plein-air painting, a French term that means painting outside and on location. “Getting a handle on plein-air panting was difficult at first,” Annette Hanna says, “but it’s wonderful to be outside, doing what you love to do.”

Annette Hanna has been a serious artist for the past two decades, originally working almost exclusively in oils. About eight years ago, she discovered pastels and found that it was a medium that she especially preferred for landscapes. Always committed to drawing, she points out that she “considers pastel a drawing as well as painting medium with exciting possibilities in the treatment of the medium.”

One art critic on the East Coast wrote: “We can easily recognize the skill and drama in Hanna’s work. Her paintings are realistic without becoming hard-edged, and they have a textural, brushy quality that is refreshing and relaxed.”

Annette Hanna has been the recipient of five gold medals for her art, and, in 2007, her work was selected as one of the hundred best paintings by Pastel Journal Magazine. She has exhibited widely nationally and internationally, including China and Japan, been featured in American Artist Magazine, Portrait Highlights, and International Artists, and authored a book on painting portraits in oil.

River Gold, she says, typifies fall in New Jersey along the Rockaway River in Boonton Township. Annette points out, ”The River was behaving at that time and the trees had turned these marvelous colors. The same River has been in flood stage twice this year. The painting is pastel and was done on location.”

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