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A memory for places of beauty

Beverly Hooks has a quaint space in which to paint and show her works. - Julie Busch photo
Beverly Hooks has a quaint space in which to paint and show her works.
— image credit: Julie Busch photo

Memories of her grandmother’s gardens and her own travels define painter Beverly Hooks’ style.

“My grandmother in Atlanta had beautiful gardens,” Hooks said. “I started painting about 12 years ago. I had a desire to do so.”

Before applying her keen eye to canvas, Hooks was an interior designer for 17 years. While she loved the creative end of design, she was less passionate about the technical aspects.

“I started painting and I started selling,” said Hooks, who is largely self-taught, with added instruction from workshops and study.

This weekend Hooks, who paints gardens and landscapes in acrylics and watercolors, is celebrating the opening of her studio and gallery at Lynwood Center.

The Tudor design of the building beckoned Hooks, who spent eight months in the English countryside immersed in gardens and the company of artists. She found the available space and ambience perfect for a solo artist who wishes to work and exhibit at the same time.

Festooned with pots of colorful flowers and deft signage, the entry is as charming as ones found in English villages. The feeling continues within, where glazed gold walls, burgundy accents, good lighting and rich frames do what they’re meant to do: showcase Hooks’ vibrant paintings.

Hooks is thrilled to have found a space on the island.

“I love Bainbridge and the people. They’re so nice,” she said. “I had the idea in my head to get a studio gallery probably for 10 years.”

Originally from Atlanta, Hooks has lived in the Northwest for 30 years. She and her husband, Michael, left Bellevue and Mill Creek six years ago for a home that overlooks Liberty Bay.

While Michael worked in England, his wife toured, sketched and photographed. The memories of the historic homes and gardens she saw in places like Devon, Cornwall and the Cotswolds hang in the gallery portion of her inviting space. Paintings stowed in her Poulsbo home will rotate in as space permits.

Not all the scenes come from as far afield.

Hooks also has magnificent depictions from Hot Springs, Ark., and Poulsbo. And she paints miniatures, which are as detailed as their larger siblings.

Miniatures, Hooks said, “are wonderful in groupings. I can do one of those in an hour’s time.”

Hooks’ studio area is inside the front window, the perfect spot for painting and conversing with visitors. She calls her work a “free-flowing style between Expressionism and Impressionism.” About 90 percent of her paintings are gardens, flowers and landscapes. They are romantic without being cloying, from the sheep in the field to the garden window to the al fresco tea table.

“I’ve painted a lot of England and some of Italy,” Hooks said. “Some scenes come out of my head.”

She likes to sketch on-site and favors plein air painting. With quiet emotion, she describes the origins of her paintings, adding interesting background information and leaving visitors with the feeling that they journeyed there, too.

Because she knows how precious such memories are, Hooks is especially attuned to her commission work.

She paints a lot of homes and gardens for clients, some of whom give detailed instructions, others of whom let Hooks have free rein.

“Working with clients on their treasured memories is what I really like to do,” she said.

Speaking fondly of her own mentors, Hooks says she eventually wants to open her studio and gallery to new artists. She would jury them and dedicate a wall in “I have had people ask me to do workshops, but I’m not set up for this. I may do one-on-one workshops,” she said.

Hooks offers giclée reproductions for every original painting she does, limiting them to 35 per painting. These prints are computerized and digitally enhanced images printed on canvas.

The quality is incredible, she said, and it affords clients the opportunity to get the painting they want for less money than the original.

“I have been doing this for three years and the quality has gone from night to day,” said Hooks.

Now that her gallery is open, Hooks is ready to have people come in and get “a feeling of artwork at home.” She’ll be back at her easel on Monday, sorting through her many memories.

Never one without a plan, Hooks has an idea for a future project.

“My goal is to paint Bainbridge Island,” she said.

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Glorious gardens

Beverly Hooks is celebrating the grand opening of her fine arts studio and gallery at Lynwood Center with a wine-and-cheese reception from 1 to 6 p.m. today and Sunday. Call 855-7989 or see www.beverlyhooks.com for more information.

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