Two To Tango Exhibition
Realism is in the eyes and the hands of painters Hopkins and Huckabay
Imagine these realist painters at their easels, concentrating dearly on the right brush by width and density, on the small pools of paint they’ve mixed, upon the merest degree of placement of each paint stroke.
With a spiritual study and meditation background, Jim Huckabay finds himself soulfully searching for a connection with you, the viewer, by paint and composition. Talbot Hopkins, primarily a portraitist, seeks the light that will subtly reveal the subject. Both are in a zone, channeling their experiences and emotions into a message marked lightly on the canvas or paper.
Sometimes they are listening to music; often, they put the music aside. Each of them works in upstairs studios, attempting to hold the daily world at arm’s length.
Both painters feel that they are painting for long-lasting views. Several generations of art appreciators could very well possess these compositions.
Their knowledge of the history of composing images has been built over a lifetime of viewing and sketching. At age 9, Hopkins’ instruction in portraiture began with the capable painter Camille Hirsch. Each portrait by Hopkins starts with the eyes, the “window to the soul.”
Huckabay remembers spontaneous painting in his youth; there were small oils of bobcats and eagles in New Mexico.
While Hopkins took several art classes while getting a degree in English, Huckabay studied fine art and design – earning a BA in advertising design and pursuing additional master’s level studies in painting, design and photography.
Huckabay used his art in design work for advertising and marketing. He directed his own award-winning agency. “I successfully made my way as an illustrator/designer in my business career. Less than a decade ago, I chose to pursue my passion for fine art full time.”
Today, these well-established artists work in several media. Huckabay established himself early as a watercolorist. His ability to capture an owl’s wing in flight comes to mind. Yet he has added paintings in oil to his offerings. On his website, Jimhuckart.com, there is an oil called “Turkish pitcher still life” (marked “sold,” by the way) in which a sparkling blue glass decanter vies for attention with the elaborately curved brass ewer.
Beginning her career with works in pencil, Hopkins has mastered the media of watercolor, pastel, Conte crayon and oil.
In recent years she has worked mostly in oil and pencil.
Her 2017 show at Artspace Shreveport, https://www.artspaceshreveport.com/theessence-of-things-the-art-of-talbot-hopkins, was a retrospective. There, viewers will see a career collection in all her media.
Huckabay admirer and fellow artist Alan Hampton wrote, “Having studied art in college and working as an artist for 46 years, I can honestly say that judging by your mastery of light and subtlety, I am not an artist. You’ve definitely been blessed not only with an eye for beauty, but the ability to transfer that beauty to whatever you’re working on.” Hampton continues, “Your design skills, separate and apart from fine art skills, are phenomenal.”
Wrote James Fox-Smith in Country Roads Magazine about Hopkins: “Working in a restrained palette, Hopkins admits a classical aesthetic that reflects her love for the work of American master painter Andrew Wyeth, and that of Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt – artists whose muted backgrounds and somber colors accentuate the vitality and drama of their subjects’ lives.”
“Light is everything in art,” Hopkins noted. “Maybe it’s the simplicity, but I like dark and light.”
The “Two To Tango” exhibition includes over 75 paintings and opens with an artists’ reception Sunday, Oct. 9, 2-4 p.m. at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum (LSEM), 3015 Greenwood Road., Shreveport. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri. through Nov. 4. Free admission.