‘Nature in Oils’ exhibit to feature intricate oil depictions of African landscape, wildlife

By Wendy Byerly Wood

March 3, 2014

YADKINVILLE — Masterful oils of South African wildlife by the acclaimed nature artist Grant Hacking of New Hampshire opens in the Welborn Gallery at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center March 14.

The exhibit, titled Nature in Oils runs from March 14 through April 18. A reception, open to the public, begins at 5:30 p.m. March 14.

Hacking was born and raised in South Africa where he lived until the age of 25. His homeland has greatly influenced his art work as he depicts the diverse animal life native to the African continent.

His work has allowed him the opportunity to travel the world researching material for his innovative wildlife compositions.

After moving to the United States in 1990, Hacking started to include pieces inspired by his new surroundings.

“Strictly speaking, I do not want to be categorized as either a wildlife painter or a landscapist because what I really paint is nature,” he explained. “I try to give equal time to both genres. When the weather is good, I enjoy painting en plein air, and when the chill winds of winter arrive, I return to my studio where painting my memories of Africa instills a sense of warmth.”

Hacking combines artistic and abstract styles in his landscape pieces with striking realism in his wildlife work.

“I apply what I learn painting landscapes to creating more authentic habitats for my wildlife, and conversely, the technical skills I enforce through my renditions of wildlife go back into my landscapes,” Hacking said.

Raised by professional painters, Hacking is a self-taught artist. Hacking said that in retrospect he realized that he learned many of his technical skills by watching his father work. He also credits his father for teaching him the basics of exhibiting and marketing his work.

Hacking is a hands on artist and ensures that his pieces receive the personalized touch they deserve from conception to framing.

“When all is said and done, being a painter is really about making connections,” Hacking said. “Artists put so much of themselves into their paintings that buyers are often attracted as much by the personality of the artist as they are by a specific work. For this reason, the artist must strive to make certain each painting evokes a personal experience between the viewer and his art, one which allows the imagination to create what the brush leaves out.”

Hacking was featured in the September/October edition of Gray’s Sporting Journal in 2013 and was featured on the July/August 2012 cover of Safari International Magazine.

Hacking is the recipient of the 2008 People’s Choice Award at the Wildlife and Western Visions Show and first place in American Artist Abroad at the Bennington Center for the Arts in 2006.