Tsering Hannaford’s profound portraits

Tsering Hannaford’s profound portraits

There’s something piercingly beautiful, almost confronting, in the portraits of Australian realist painter Tsering Hannaford. It’s as if her subjects are peering into your soul, understanding a self that you believed hidden. You may have come across Tsering’s work in the renowned Archibald Prize, where she's been a finalist nine times. Her self-portrait, 'Allegory of Painting,' earned her high commendation in 2020. Her art has graced galleries and spaces across Australia, earning her numerous awards and recognition along the way.


Primarily self-taught, Tsering employs classical painting techniques honed through specialised training in New York, France and Adelaide. Using oils on canvas, she's developed her distinctive realist style. On a bright autumn day, we had the privilege of visiting Tsering at her home in Adelaide where she revisited past works.

Her classical process involves painting from life, capturing an individual over several sittings. It’s a deeply engaging process demanding meticulous planning, patience, and a trained eye for detail. Yet, for Tsering, it’s a joy to observe life’s intricacies and translate them onto canvas, creating rich, intimate portraits. ‘My greatest ambition in my work is to allow the viewer to feel like they could be standing right there in the room with me – experiencing the same delicate light, the mood, the stillness. In this way I feel I can draw attention to the quiet beauty found in everyday life,’ says Tsering.

On painting as a profession, Tsering advocates for pursuing one's passions, even if the creative path seems more intimidating and less travelled. For herself, she plans to continue exploring, discovering, and enlightening herself with the unknown.

On this glorious autumn day, Tsering wore our Ella top with her own pants. Our last Ella recently found its new home, but if you like this style, may we suggest the Delphine top, the Lily top or the Yumi top—all available now.

In addition to portraits, Tsering also delves into still lifes, often featuring beautifully arranged flowers, and landscapes. Themes of impermanence and renewal permeate her still-life works. A pink magnolia, for instance, takes on an atmospheric quality, with each stroke capturing poignant details that instantly captivate you, urging you to appreciate overlooked beauty.


Learn more about Tsering’s practice and discover her work at tseringhannaford.com.au

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