Botanical Beauty

(Art by Hannah Cross Hanlon)

Artist Hannah Cross Hanlon’s stunning botanical drawings are inspired by childhood summers spent on the York River in Gloucester. “I inherited my love of nature and creatures from my Virginia grandfather, who was a wildlife biologist, field trial judge, and outdoorsman.”

In fact, her grandfather served as executive director of the Virginia Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries. The Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area in Mecklenburg County—known nationally for hosting bird dog field trials—is named in his honor.

Hanlon, who now lives in Atlanta, worked in graphic design before turning to botanical art. An aquatic series, rendered in pen, earned her a solo show at Atlanta’s Spalding Nix Fine Art Gallery. “It felt so good to start drawing again,” she says. “I’d missed the process of making art with my hands.” Next, she tried colored pencils, drawing the butterflies, beetles, and plants of the Southeast. “I hadn’t picked up a colored pencil since seventh grade,” she says. “It just clicked.”

A keen observer, Hanlon captures the natural world in exquisite detail. “I wanted to celebrate the species we’re so used to seeing, but in a new way,” she notes. Virginians will find her spectacular magnolias and colorful swallowtail butterflies familiar, while her fig renderings are faithful to the fig trees near her family’s summer cottage at Gloucester Point.

Like John J. Audubon and Charles Darwin, Hanlon often uses plant and insect specimens to get the details just right. “There’s nothing more fun than researching species to create a truly custom and personal piece for a client,” Hanlon says. In addition to private commissions, she’s currently at work on her next solo exhibit, coming this fall.

HannahHanlonArt.com, SpaldingNixFineArt.com


This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue.

Konstantin Rega
A graduate of East Anglia’s renowned Creative Writing MA, Konstantin’s been published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Poetry Salzburg Review, www.jonimitchell.com, the Republic of Consciousness Prize (etc.). He contributes to Publisher Weekly and Treblezine.
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