Sunlit Antlers


Grant Hacking

New England artist Grant Hacking was born and raised in South Africa and resided there until the age of twenty-five so he still experiences great pleasure in depicting the diverse animal life native to Africa. Living in this exotic location provided Hacking the opportunity to travel far and wide during the early years of his career researching material for his innovative wildlife compositions. However, a move to the United States in 1990 coupled with his dedication to two growing daughters motivated the artist to begin focusing on more localized subject matter as well. His oeuvre now includes figurative work, architecture, coastal scenes, and landscapes, especially those close to his home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. ""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 explains. ""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."" Although his technique varies greatly between the two genres - his landscapes are very painterly and a bit abstract while his brushwork becomes tighter when portraying wildlife - the two subjects really complement one another. ""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."" Painting African subjects from memory also allows Hacking the freedom to create more imaginative compositions. In turn, painting on site gives his landscapes a sense of immediacy and a unique quality of light that can never be duplicated in the studio.

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Creating this painting brought me immense joy. Living in New England, we have a significant population of moose. Unfortunately, they are not easy to spot due to the dense forest that envelops the region, keeping them hidden for the most part. I was eager to paint a moose, so I embarked on an early morning expedition with a group of photographers who claimed to know the exact location where we could find one. After hours of driving, we arrived at the promised spot just as the sun was rising. With my camera at the ready, I eagerly awaited the call for the moose. However, as time passed, excitement transformed into sheer boredom, and not a single moose came into view. I painted this moose based on the image I had conjured in my mind.