Camden Falls Gallery is now featuring the work of award-winning landscape and figure painters Stan Moeller and George Van Hook, who have both recently joined the gallery.
Moeller, who currently resides in York, Maine, was raised in rural northern Indiana near the Michigan border. Excelling in art from an early age, he studied art at Western Michigan University and took as many life-drawing classes as he could. One instructor, a portrait painter from NYC, told him, “If you really want to be an artist, get out of here (college) and go paint.” To this day, Stan believes it is the very act of painting that is the best instructor, to paraphrase one of his heroes, the Spanish painter, Joaquín Sorolla y Basstida.
Stan Moeller- Egret Sanctuary, Oil on Linen Panel, 18 x 24 inches
During and after college, Moeller performed as a singer-songwriter in clubs and coffee houses, releasing a CD and touring extensively throughout the United States. In the 1990s, he and his wife Tammy (also a musician) released three more CDs together before Stan quit playing music professionally and devoted himself full-time to painting. In the mid-1990’s, while painting on Monhegan Island, he met resident artist and fellow musician Don Stone (1929 – 2015), who became his most important mentor and a dear friend. Over the years, Stone shared many stories about the painters in his life, including Paul Strisik, Emile Gruppé and Aldro Hibbard and others, as well as the lessons he learned from them.
In recent years, Moeller has taught numerous painting workshops on Monhegan Island, and has also taught a master class entitled “En Plein Air Figure in the Landscape” at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, in Manchester, NH, where he taught courses for seven years. He also travels frequently to France and Italy for inspiration to sketch and paint. He has conducted workshops in Tuscany and the south of France, and was awarded a painting residency in Brittany. About his work, Stan writes, “I am just as intrigued by the way the light wraps around a subject as the subject itself. It seems like I’m always painting in my head. Whenever I’m looking, I’m painting; always looking at the value relationships and asking myself ‘how would I paint that?’”
George Van Hook- Low Tide, Oil on Linen, 20 x 16 inches
Our other featured plein air painter, George Van Hook, is a highly regarded and well-established artist, who has recently received recognition from three prestigious organizations for his work. He was awarded First Place in the 2013 Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition & Festival, and won the festival’s Quick Draw competition. He was also invited to participate in the private painter’s event “Paint the Adirondacks,” hosted by the publisher of Plein Air Magazine, Eric Rhoads. Additionally, his work has been accepted into two juried exhibitions at Vermont’s Bennington Center for the Arts: “Impressions of New England” and the “Laumeister Fine Art Competition,” the latter of which is juried by Peter Trippi, Editor-In-Chief of Fine Art Connoisseur. We are honored that he has chosen Camden Falls Gallery to represent his work in Maine.
Born and raised in a northern suburb of Philadelphia, Van Hook was exposed early on to the culture of one of our oldest cities. His family also owned a farm in rural Buck’s County, Pennsylvania. The rich landscape of farmland and forest fostered the talented group of artists known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists, as well as the famous artists and illustrators of the Brandywine tradition, Howard Pyle and the Wyeth clan. As a young student, Van Hook had the good fortune to traverse Europe on a film-making expedition. He exhibited an early reverence for European traditions by spending hours in the Louvre copying the old masters.
Van Hook thinks of his paintings as primarily a visual response to the selected environment, be it landscape, figure or still life. He describes his work as a marriage of external and internal forces, with what emerges on the canvas serving to reflect both the beauty of the world and the artist’s most inner response. “I want the color to be beautiful and the drawing firm and secure,” he adds.
George has also spent many summers painting in the mid-coast area of Rockland, Camden and Rockport Harbor, and on North Haven Island where his wife’s family owned property adjacent to the famous Boston artist Frank Benson. This summer, George painted his way up the coast of Maine right to our door. Our gallery is currently showing the fruits of this plein air adventure, alongside the work of Stan Moeller and over 40 other artists.
Located on the Public Landing in Camden, Maine, Camden Falls Gallery is open daily from 10:00 am-5:00 pm. For more information, please call 207-470-7027 or visit www.camdenfallsgallery.com.