John Cook

Texas artist John Cook paints with a passion, compelled to capture Impressionist images on canvas or watercolor paper. ''I see beauty in God’s creation, and I strive to capture a glimpse of that perfection in paint.'' Cook began his fine art career in 1990 at the age of 49, inspired early by the paintings of Russian- American artist Nicolai Fechin. Later influences include artist John Singer Sargent, Frank Brangwyn and Winslow Homer, as well as the still lifes and florals of Henry Fatin Latour. By drawing with a brush rather than a pencil, Cook achieves the loose and free style that characterizes his work. Never belabored, each painting reflects his passion to catch a mood with interplay of light and shade. Nothing is too large or small to attempt, as reflected in his diverse range of subject matter: from still life to portraits to landscapes, architecture and native Texas-Western imagery. ''A kind of impatient realism,'' is how Cook describes his paintings. Action and energy permeate his canvases and there is a spontaneous nature to his work that retells the artist’s need to quickly achieve the essence of light as it dances, pierces, careens, and bounces to find its way throughout the subject. Cook states, ''as for my style, if I could do a painting in less than sixty seconds I would be pleased. Sometimes I feel the urgency to attack a canvas and capture the intensity of my mind and emotions without respecting the necessary effort for the image to be valued as ‘fine art.''' Trips to London, Paris, San Francisco and Belgium also produced many of Cook’s paintings. Born in 1941 in Dallas, Cook grew up near Highland Park and attended school at the University of Arlington and the Art Center School of Los Angeles. In his initial career as an illustrator, Cook’s work was in demand by advertising agencies and their high-profile clients, including American Airlines, CBS, Nieman Marcus and Disney Epcot Center. In 1990 he put aside his illustrators pens and inks and pursued his heart’s desire: a career as a painter. Married to a school teacher for 31 years and a deeply religious, devoted family man, Cook says, ''painting is not the most important thing in my life, but it’s a close second.''