Artist of the Month: Bob Hague
Bob Hague is among the leading watercolor artists in Florida, but you would never know it from the humble demeanor with which he accepts first place prizes in watercolor shows and the way in which his life-long journey as a “student” of Art is part of his daily language.
Of a recent first place win, he said, “I entered a portrait I painted with absolutely no expectation of an award. To my surprise it was awarded first place. My goal in this show was to show my fellow artists the work I have been doing lately. Then when the juror announced the awards, and my painting came in first, I was just blown away.”
Bob Hague self portrait
Bob comes from a family of artists, and has lived in Florida most of his life. Best known for his beautifully light-infused watercolor portraits and Florida landscapes, he is the Past President of the Central Florida Watercolor Society, and this “life-long student” provides art instruction to individuals and groups.
He has won many awards with the Central Florida Watercolor Society, and is an associate member of the Florida Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society.
A perennial ‘nice guy,’ Bob can even find the good side of the recession which has affected all Artists. He said, “I believe this economic downturn has been a good time for me to work on improving my techniques. After all, art is a life long study. I remember reading that an artist’s studio is also a place to study as well as paint. Though commissions and art sales have been slow, like all of you I’m waiting for the economy to pick back up. I am determined to be able to draw faster and still maintain an accurate rendering of what I’m about to paint. This only comes with practice.”
And in a more philosophical vein, he said, “I cannot envision a place where we spend time that does not reflect the beauty that defines us. Art is part of that definition, a reflection of us and our environment.”
Thank you, Bob Hague. The world is a bit more beautiful, because we have you to help us see the “beauty that defines us.”
Recently, Bob answered some questions about his life and career:
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started?
When I was a child, my family would visit my aunt, a watercolorist, and she let me use her paper and paint. Later, as a teen, my Mother sent me to summer art programs at the Orlando Museum. Summer art programs for children are important. That is where I developed my love of art and drawing, both of which have always been of interest to me, but mostly as a hobby. Marriage, raising kids, and a busy career kept me away from pursuing a career in Art until we were home alone and our children were on their own. With the support of my dear wife, Ann, I embarked on an intensive self-study of watercolor art. It is a journey I’m still on.
While I am mainly self-taught, the major influences are the Central Florida Watercolor Society, Crealde Art Center, Maitland Art Center, and the workshops they offer.
Also, it is a wonderful time to be an artist because of all the information available to artists today. We can study all the current art books, watch ‘how-to’ DVDs, and participate in on-line art forums and social media on the internet. One can see the works of John Singer Sargent and study them in-depth without having to travel the world to visit all the museums with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Please use your own words to describe your art...
I paint mainly in transparent watercolor to capture light and shadow. This is apparent from my portraits. I can find no media that can express light and shadow better than watercolor. There are occasions that I use body color (gouache) much like the old watercolor masters like Sargent, Wythe, and others. Viewers often tell me they see the emotion and atmosphere I have captured in my portraits and landscapes. I paint in a realistic manner and consider myself part of the neo-realist movement.
What happened to first make you think of yourself as an artist?
When I began to sell my work in the late 90s I began to think of myself as a professional artist. Then, early in 2000, I placed in a juried watercolor art exhibition of the Central Florida Watercolor Society. There were over 60 paintings in that exhibition, and my art continues to win awards.
What inspires you NOW?
I love painting people and figurative works. I’m lucky to be on this journey where I can draw and paint anything I can see. I like working from life, both painting en plein air and from models and clients.
Where is your favorite place to create art?
I have a home studio where I create most of my art. I join artists at open life drawing and painting sessions where we hire a live model. Finally, I like to go out on location and paint en plein air. The Florida landscapes offer so much inspiration. For the Artist, the creation of art is a journey of improving one’s craft. I tell my students that once you step out on the yellow brick road, there is no turning back. Some artists are further ahead on this journey, some are just beginning. No one arrives, and gets to meet the wizard! It is a lifetime of study. I like showing the viewer the way I see the scenes, the atmosphere, the emotion, and the light and shadow.
Describe the “perfect” YOU painting. Have you achieved it yet?
An artist’s education is always incomplete. Cezanne said it best on his death bed “Oh, damn, just when I was catching on!” My journey is the perfect place for me to be. I eat, breathe, and sleep art. I can’t think of a better place to be in my life.
Painting takes a lot of creative energy. How do you “re-charge” your batteries?
I like to teach watercolor art. Several times a year, I teach workshops around Florida, and on occasion, individuals will hire me to give individual art instruction. It’s exciting for me to be able to help new artists discover the world of watercolor art.
What’s your fondest hope for the future of your career?
As I continue my art journey, I hope I continue to make discoveries on how to portray the things I see and what is in my mind, and to reflect that in my art. In the future I hope more people will want to purchase my art, become collectors, and end up being long-term patrons.
How can readers find and purchase your art?
I can be contacted via email at rmhague1 [at] earthlink.net; I am listed on the Artists Registry at artistsregistry.com/index.php; and I also have an art blog at: http://www.watercoloradventure.blogspot.com/. The easiest seems to be Facebook where I have a public profile. Finally, I can be reached by phone: 407.699.4468
Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators
All photos courtesy and copyright Bob Hague