Show Preview | George Hallmark

Scottsdale, AZ
Legacy Gallery, March 18-26

George Hallmark, Heaven on Earth, oil, 30 x 36.

George Hallmark, Heaven on Earth, oil, 30 x 36.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

When Legacy Gallery approached George Hallmark about doing a solo show of about 10 new works, the artist was immediately game, but said, “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to pull out all the stops.” It’s the kind of drive you’d expect from an accomplished painter like Hallmark, who has built a strong reputation in the western art world over the past four decades. So, for the momentous occasion—his first full one-man show in nearly 20 years—he completed 20 new oil paintings that portray the pastoral towns and back roads of his travels with his wife, Lisa. The exhibit opens at Legacy Gallery on Saturday, March 18, with an artist’s reception and sale by draw at 5 p.m.

“Everything in the show is like a diary for my wife and me. They bring back memories,” says Hallmark. Works take viewers on a painterly tour of the couple’s trips to Mexico, Spain, California, and New Mexico. A few oils depict scenes closer to the Hallmarks’ home in the Texas Hill Country. An avid traveler, Hallmark has amassed thousands of photographs that, he notes, would all make good subjects for paintings. “It’s just a matter of seeing one on a particular day and saying, ‘This one really flips my switch. I’m going to work on this today,’” he says.

Hallmark’s portrayals of rustic homesteads, old churches, and humble village dwellings are largely a product of the artist’s fondness for country life and exploring the roads less traveled. In his classic architectural representations, he pays particular attention to depicting sunlight and shadow, something he picked up in his former career as a draftsman. The architects he worked for primarily built churches. “They always wanted these buildings to look like the heavens were opening up and God’s light was shining over them,” Hallmark says. That “dramatic style,” he adds, has carried over into his painting style today. “I’m still pushing the envelope to see if I can get that light to come across,” he says.

In Hallmark’s painting SOMBRAS CHINESCAS, a towering tree casts a theatrical shadow on the white stucco exterior of a Mexican church, displaying the artist’s affinity for painting sombras chinescas, or shadow shows. Although the center of interest is usually architecture, Hallmark adds animals or people to some scenes to project life—a wandering hen, a saddled burro, or a villager returning from the market, for example. Throughout his works, Hallmark captures the exquisite beauty in simple ways of life. Such wistful depictions can trigger emotional responses from viewers. “The people who purchase my paintings will get tears in their eyes,” says Hallmark. “That’s the biggest compliment for me.”

The artist is always seeking to advance as a painter, he says, but feels he’s painting better now than ever. “I really think these pieces are a notch up,” says Hallmark. “There are a few paintings Lisa and I would like to keep for ourselves.” Of course, only if others don’t take them home first. —Kim Agricola

contact information
480.945.1113
www.legacygallery.com

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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