by David Hoque
I’ve been asked to write this column from the perspective of the magazine’s first retired military veteran and now colored pencil fine artist.
Me and members of my unit preparing for pre-jump inspection. Stuttgart, Germany 1993.
I was born into a military family in Monterey, California and lived all over the country for the next 20 years. As a child I excelled in art and in 7th grade I was presented with a “National Golden Key Award” for winning in a Hawaiian statewide Scholastic art exhibition. I excelled in all my art classes thereafter but when I graduated in 1979 the only thing I really was comfortable with was living in military communities with people that defended the realm. My 5th great grandfather served in the Virginia Militia during the American Revolution, and I’m also a member of the “National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution”. I've had family members defend the nation from then to now. So, to be honest it seemed the natural path for me to follow.
Back then it was a very different world, there was no social media or any computers to Google up and find the resources that we have now to help guide us or answer career questions that we now find quite easy. After I enlisted, art in the military was interesting at times. I remember my Troop Commander in Bayreuth, Germany asking me to draw a picture for our Squadron commander as a going away gift. It was quite popular and I even received an Army Achievement Medal out of the effort. I felt a little guilty because they gave me a lot of personal time to draw the piece while my buddies were freezing their tails off out on maneuvers. When I became a Non-commissioned Officer I had to put the pencils away because taking care of soldiers and their families was literally a 24/7 job. I’m still not used to my phone not ringing off the hook at all hours of the day. You see, if a soldier had a pay problem, domestic dispute, needing extra training... anything, we had to assist. It didn’t leave much time for my family or for serious art study.
The operational tempo of military life is precisely why we retire after 20 years of service. However, my travels did give me a rich foundation and perspective as an artist. I lived, studied and traveled in Europe for 12 years, I also traveled to Korea and all places in-between. I also trained Brigade Staffs for their combat missions out in the Mojave Desert for several years. We worked in beautiful geography and ironically, the Army sent me to the Alaskan interior afterwards. The first day I reported to the Sub-Arctic Indoctrination Course it was -70 degrees. Working in both extremes and the cultural surroundings were priceless experiences. I retired as a First Sergeant and with my BS degree. I then found my second career as a Magistrate for the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s sort of like a judge in some states.
Dibs on the Baby Ruth! 14" x 11" colored pencil on Strathmore 300 Bristol paper.
Now I had time to pursue my love of fine art. I literally became a “Renaissance Man” and took a few Craftsy classes and got educated in colored pencil as a primary medium. I gravitated to the medium because it allows us to lay in pigment precisely and with enough effort…create a piece that looks just as nice as any other medium.
Gemma Seufferlein Gylling and Cynthia Knox helped launch my artistic potential light years ahead through their superb instruction. I also took few courses that Ann Kullburg and Karen Hull taught and they were very helpful. All of these ladies are such excellent teachers in this medium and I would put their abilities up against any advanced college art teacher’s abilities. I’m not trying to pitch this as an advertisement but their classes are worth every red cent, and all of them are so selfless with mentoring us through a simple email.
Bacura-te,ca Domnul inviat! 14" x 17" colored pencil on Strathmore 300 Bristol paper.
I’m 56 now and in a few short years I have managed to win a few awards in some exhibitions and create some art that people really seem to enjoy. I don’t have a long list of awards but I’ve been juried into every exhibition I’ve applied for. I’m a professional member of the International Guild of Realism and I’m up for Signature status this year in the Colored Pencil Society of America. I still consider myself a beginner though. I fly too much by the seat of my pants instead of paying closer attention to color theory for starters. I admit that although service in the military was a tough job, I probably would do it all again if given the opportunity. I got to live in places all over the world, and jump out of perfectly good airplanes...and I still have time to learn how to be a great artist!
David Hoque is an American artist born in Monterey, California. He specializes in colored pencil and watercolor art pieces. His studies project realism in great contrasts with integral balances between light and dark tones. He is also professional member of the International Guild of Realism and the Colored Pencil Society of America.
See more at https://www.artbyhoque.net/