by Joshua Heston
The simple act of applying paint (or ink or graphite) to substrate — whether it be paper, wood or canvas — seems a simple enough act.
However, beyond the materials and techniques, there lies the power of human emotion. The interaction of heart and mind and the world around us.
The Ozarks have long been a source of great inspiration, as evidenced by individuals such as Thomas Hart Benton, Rose O’Neill, George Kieffer and M.E. Olliver.
It is an endeavor that continues to this day.
Celebrating the Ozark Mountains (and her people) through painting — that is what this section is all about.
Originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, Sam Hull has lived all over this great country.
When it came time to retire, however, the Ozarks “were the kind of country we’d like to stay in,” he notes from his home overlooking both Lake Taneycomo and Bull Shoals Lake near Forsyth, Missouri.
He and his wife Sue moved here in 1985.
It is an inspiring view from the home of a deeply talented watercolor painter devoted to his craft — and dedicated to capturing a moment in time as well as a sense of nostalgia in each piece.
“Cold, foggy weather has more character,” Hull continues. “And I like to paint foggy paintings.” It is a look and feel aptly suited to his watercolor style. Soft washes and delicate brush strokes bring luminous sunlit fog banks and the sweeping arch of oak and elm to life.
Having dabbled most of his life with sketching and painting, Hull discovered watercolor while living in Memphis, Tennessee. “There was an artist who was showing some of her stuff and I didn’t know it was watercolor. I asked her if she taught classes and she said, as a matter of fact, she did.”
“It’s a tough medium, though. Most people shy away from watercolor because of that. Like golf, you are never in total control and you have to go with what happens.”
Hull’s work often surprises observers. “I work to get contrasts and detail,” he notes. “And a lot of people think watercolor is all about soft tones. I also work to capture a moment in time, whether it is that first snowfall or the wind blowing the clothes on the line. I paint what I think about, combining a variety of elements.”
Hull, who is associated with the Forsyth Art Guild as well as the Table Rock Art Guild, teaches regularly. “It takes a long time to get a feel for watercolor but you can get started very easily. With a wash brush, a medium and a round and some good paper, you can paint. It’s like fishing. You can fish with just a couple of lures.”
Hull uses Arches paper (usually 140-pound cold press) and Winsor-Newton paints. A 30-year old palette box keeps his paints moist. “You paint to save the white,” reminds the artist, “It’s about painting the lights and the darks.”
A regular contributor to the venerable White River Art Show, Sam Hull continues to contribute mightily to the art culture of these Ozark Mountains.
— by Joshua Heston, October 19, 2011
plate 1. Lemon, pear, bottle & pomegranate still life by Sam Hull, Forsyth, Missouri.
plate 2. Sam Hull with Alley Spring Mill painting.
plate 3. Watercolor palette.
plate 4. “With a wash brush, a medium and a round and some good paper, you can paint. It’s like fishing. You can fish with just a couple of lures.” — Sam Hull