Hawkins enjoys plein air painting on his Harley | ParkRecord.com

Hawkins enjoys plein air painting on his Harley

Exhibit opens Friday at Gallery MAR

Gallery MAR is planning something different for the first Park City Gallery Association's gallery stroll of the shoulder season this Friday.

Owner Maren Mullin will open an exhibit of smaller, more affordable works.
Some of the artists whose works will be showcased include Julia Morgan-Leamon from Williamstown, Massachusetts; Fred Callieri, who hails from Santa Barbara, California; and Utah's own Glen Hawkins, whose studio is in Clinton.

Hawkins, who is known for his plein air works, said his go-to medium is oil.

"One of the things I love about oil is that it interacts with light," he said during an interview with The Park Record. "There's a technique as you paint where you can get the transparent darks until the shadows seem richer."

Hawkins likes to build up the paint with impasto, which catches the light.

"The light then shines off the clumps of paint," he said. "So, if you look at an oil painting in a dim room, it looks as if the painting is of a dim morning. Then when you turn the lights on, the painting pops up. You get a much more interactive surface."

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Hawkins also works with watercolor.

"I have played with the different media out there as well," he said.

Hawkins can't remember a time when he didn’t draw or paint.

"When I was a child, I drew on my desk at school," he said. "I also wanted to have a sketchbook, so I put one together myself when I was 4 and 5, before I realized there was such a thing as a sketchbook back then.

"I just put a bunch of blank pages together in a three-ring binder and thought it was so neat that I had these pages whenever I was ready to draw."

Hawkins' first works were of airplanes.

"Then in high school, I had a teacher who turned me onto figures," he said. "From that, once I started painting, I got into landscapes. I kept exploring and began painting things that excited me."

Today, Hawkins doesn't have favorite subject.

"I just paint whatever that inspires me at the moment," he said. "I'm currently getting ready to go on a motorcycle trip to California to paint the ocean."

Hawkins plans to stop in Los Angeles to catch up with a band that he knows, and then he'll head north to the Cambria area, which is just past Santa Barbara.

"I paint while sitting on the back of my motorcycle," he said. "I take my gear with me and the motorcycle makes a great portable studio. I just park it and put my pochade box right on the gas tank and paint plein air. Of course, it's great riding around on a Harley, too."

Hawkins thrives on the challenges of being a plein air artist.

"A lot of the winter scenes I have were painted during 17-degree weather," he said. "I started doing some water color with my plein air studies, too. And in the winter, you run into the problem of the water freezing, but I found if you mix vodka in the water, you can keep it from freezing. It's a Russian trick."

The artist created his own pochade box to fit his needs.

"It's light weight and small so I can carry it with me or pack it on my motorcycle," he said. "I enjoy going out in nature and hiking to these locations and setting up to paint."

While overcoming the elements to create a painting is one of the rewards for Hawkins, the real satisfaction comes from the creative process.

"I've often talked with friends about what I do and you always wonder whether or not this will become just another job," he said. "The reality is, if you're an artist you would still paint even if you don't sell another painting. It's the process of creating that I can't undo within myself. I have to have that in my life, otherwise my life would be incomplete. This is the joy of life for me.

A small works show will open during the Park City Gallery Association's April gallery stroll at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at Gallery MAR, 436 Main St. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.gallerymar.com. For information about Glen Hawkins, visit http://www.glenhawkinsart.com.