09 Jan Publisher’s Note: A Legacy of Beauty: Clark Hulings [1922 – 2011]
Here in my publisher’s note, I always write about a painting and its creator. And almost always, that painting is a dramatic landscape. It’s time to mix it up.
Chances are when you come across Clark Hulings’ name, you think of his sweeping scenes portraying poignant moments of everyday life in the American Southwest, church interiors in Spain, colorful marketplaces in San Miguel de Allende, muddy country roads, or even his quintessential burros. However, as evidenced here, Hulings’ skills in figurative work were second to none.
This painting represents portraiture at its finest. Clark created an exquisite moment of mystery and sensitivity. And even though we are drawn to the model’s beauty, he explains in A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings that the painting is actually about the shawl. “I had been seeking an idea for a ‘showpiece’ painting to enter in a group exhibition when the thought occurred to me to do a picture using that old shawl. I borrowed the shawl from my mother and put it around the shoulders of our daughter Elizabeth […]. Her dark eyes, her dark hair, and the elegant shawl made an inspired combination. I posed her with her face in shadow so that the picture would really be a portrait of the shawl.”
As is often the case with good art, however, there is a story inherent in this quiet masterpiece that we, the viewers, get to interpret for ourselves.
Born in November of 1922, Hulings received his college degree in physics. It wasn’t long, however, before he was painting portraits and creating freelance illustrations. Over his lifetime, he lived in New York, Louisiana, and throughout Europe before making Santa Fe, New Mexico, his permanent home in 1972.
Among many other awards, in 1973 Hulings received the first Prix de West Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. His painting Grand Canyon, Kaibab Trail is in the permanent collection there.
If you are not familiar with Clark Hulings’ large body of artworks, you owe it to yourself to seek them out. You will be handsomely rewarded, as he was truly an American master.
Tim Newton, Publisher
P.S. Our readers should be aware of the fine work being done by the Clark Hulings Foundation, clarkhulingsfoundation.org. This nonprofit, started by Hulings’ daughter Elizabeth, works to assist professional artists on many levels. Please check them out.