New York Spring

New York Spring, oil painting, 2011

Painting has been an important part of Gary Hoff's life since he was a young teen.  His first paintings came after his grandmother gave him a set of oils and taught him to mix colors.  He later attended a technical college in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he received a diploma in product illustration.  During that time he also illustrated an electronics textbook and produced a few commissions.

After graduating from university, Hoff spent five years as an Air Force pilot, leaving the service to attend graduate school and eventually graduating from medical school.  Despite these detours, and despite years of clinical practice, he continued making paintings, many of which found their way into private collections.

Today he makes traditional oil paintings using centuries-tested materials and methods.  He paints portraits on commission but also produces figurative works, landscapes, and still lifes in abundance.  For the past several years he has been a regular at arts festivals around the Midwest, showing his work in Omaha, Des Moines, Minneapolis, and Kansas City.  A member of the prestigious Salmagundi Art Club in New York's Greenwich Village, he shows and sells his work there regularly.

Hoff lives and works in Des Moines, Iowa.

The artist writes:

"My current work is an attempt to see the world simply.  The geometry of common objects is of particular interest to me—cubes, cylinders, cones, spheres—and how they fit together.

But regardless of the tangible object I also want to imply human content.  I want my paintings to evoke, perhaps just offstage, an unseen person who might return momentarily to finish his coffee, or grab a bottle of hot sauce, or light the evening lamp.

When I paint portraits, the most important thing to me is to capture not only a likeness of the sitter but to represent the sitter's personality as well.  I work very hard to portray as much of the inner person as I can.  Capturing the essence of the person—personality, psychology, aura, call it what you will—is the deepest goal of portraiture. 

Unlike acrylic and other paint mediums, oil painting requires solid knowledge of materials and methods.  It has taken years to learn the craft of oil painting, and how to apply it.  My current work employs centuries-old methods, known since at least the 17th century.

Last, the most important thing to me is to observe closely and paint what I see as honestly as I can."

Heartland Studio

This page was first displayed
on May 04, 2015

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