Artist of the Week 44
George Van Hook
George Van Hook was born and raised in Abington, Pennsylvania, a northern suburb of Philadelphia. He began painting very early and was able to participate in the vibrant artistic culture of the region. The family owned a farm in Bucks County, home of the Pennsylvania impressionists, and he became heavily influenced by their fine academic training coupled with a love of the prosaic landscape.
Another early local influence was the “Brandywine Tradition,” the illustrative work of Howard Pyle and the generations of Wyeths. This was further enhanced by a close association with coastal Maine. George has spent many summers painting in the mid-coast area of Rockland and Rockport Harbor, and on North Haven Island where his wife’s family owned property adjacent to the famous Boston artist Frank Benson.
Van Hook’s love of the European tradition also began early. He spent two summers during high school filmmaking throughout France and England. This allowed him to visit many of the great museums, and further increased his commitment to become a professional artist. Following college, he left for Paris and spent nearly a year copying at the Louvre and traveling through France, Italy and Holland making numerous paintings “en plein air.”
He returned to California, where he continued painting the landscape and figure out of doors. After marriage and the start of a family, George returned to the East Coast, eventually settling in Cambridge, NY, a beautiful nineteenth century village in the Hudson Valley.
Van Hook thinks of his paintings as primarily a visual response to the selected environment, be it landscape, figure or still life. “I want the color to be beautiful and the drawing firm and secure,” he says. The paintings are a marriage of external and internal forces- what emerges on the canvas should be a reflection of both the beauty of the world and the artist’s most inner response.
For the past five years, Van Hook has been involved in Plein Air competitions, and has won numerous awards. He has taken the title “Best of Show” at numerous competitions, including the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition (Canadaigua, NY), Billsboro Plein Air Competition (Geneva, NY), Saranac Lake Plein Air Competition (Saranac Lake, NY), Ocean Park Plein Air Competition (Ocean Park, ME), Bennington Plein Air Competition (Bennington, VT), among others.
Van Hook was the 2014 Juror and Judge for the Connecticut Plein Air Society annual exhibition, was invited by Plein Air Magazine to be a live instructor at the Plein Air National Convention in 2015 in Monterrey, CA, and created a 90 minute instructional film, “How to Paint Impressionism Outdoors,” with Liliedahl Productions and Plein Air Magazine in 2014.
Today, Van Hook resides in Cambridge, New York, with his wife and family.
Contact Lily Pad Gallery West for information on pricing and to view additional works by George Van Hook.
To learn more about George Van Hook, and view his expanded portfolio, visit his website: