Hill Country Artist: John Austin Hanna

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Tony Maples Photography


John Austin Hanna has no trouble finding subjects for his paintings; he just looks around. On drives in the country, he finds people, animals, buildings, and landscapes for his classical renditions with oil paints on canvas. Most of the time these days John takes photos and brings them back to his studio, although occasionally he will paint on site, preferring the light in the first and last thirty minutes of the day.

We Three

Traditional Oil by John Hanna

Photo: John Austin Hanna Fine Art

A scene from a rodeo, a cow, three sheep, a San Antonio mission, all with his distinctive style, demonstrate what he finds interesting. John started his career as an artist at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University), where he earned a degree in art. His first career was in advertising art on 5th Avenue in Manhattan; his wife was as reluctant to move to New York to as she was to leave for Pittsburgh years later. He continued this career path for some time – television art director, paintings of cars or airplanes for magazines, but the career eventually became more of an account executive than an artist. “It was a wonderful experience, but I knew that I wanted to paint full time, on my own.”

This Giclee print is available through R S Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg

Hanna Cattle Drive

Photo:  R S Hanna Gallery

This print is available in a gallery owned by his son and daughter-in-law in downtown Fredericksburg. Most of his paintings are only available as original oils, but some can be bought for a much lower price as prints and Giclees. The R S Hanna Gallery carries art by dad as well as many other artists.

The studio is full of books and paintings.

John Austin Hanna talks about painting

Photo: Robert C Deming

John Austin Hanna’s kind and gentle nature is reflected in his art. He did his first painting at the age of 7 and has wanted no other career since. He spends most of his working hours in the studio in the backyard of his Fredericksburg home, but can often be found drinking coffee with old friends at Clear River Pecan downtown.

Things Sure Are Changing Again

Sure Things Are Changing Again by John Hanna

Photo: John Austin Hanna Fine Art

John has seen many changes in his 38 years in Fredericksburg. He first visited the area on a trip to Big Bend when he lived in Dallas. He and his wife were enamored with the Hill Country, and in just over a year they moved to Fredericksburg and he took up painting full time. “When I worked in studios in New York and Pittsburgh the other artists talked about their goal to retire and paint. One of them died just three months after he retired, and I thought, why wait?” When asked if painting became tedious, he said, “Never. I love creating; it gives me great pleasure.”

Cool Hat

Cool Hat by John Hanna
Photo: John Austin Hanna Fine Art

John Austin Hanna was featured in Southwest Art Magazine in 2016.

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