James Hanley has been painting portraits since he was in art college, and portraiture has become a more significant element of his practice year on year since then. With over 80 commissioned portraits completed to date, his portraits range from the personal, individual and relaxed, to the official formal portraits required by corporations, institutions, organisations and the State.
Capturing a likeness is obviously a prerequisite, but painting portraits also requires an engagement with the sitter and an understanding of their expectations, environment and requirements. In return, a portrait painter has access to personalities, situations and, indeed, worlds that otherwise might not be the case, something that James with his interest in history, posterity and tradition particularly enjoys.
For large scale portraits James works, after an initial meeting and at least one in-depth photography session, almost entirely from photographs. This allows sitters who would not normally have the time for repeated visits to the studio to have their portrait painted. As his work is in considerable demand, as well as being labour intensive, involving underpainting, painting and glazing, it can take up to two years from commission to delivery of a portrait.