Artist lends a modern touch to Impressionist style
Jeff Hamachek notices the little things in life — the steam rising off a fresh cup of coffee, the shadows of children cast over the water as the tide rolls in, and the shapes, contours and twists of a freshly peeled orange.
In his 20-year career as a professional artist, Hamachek has used his keen eye to create striking still-life paintings.
“I paint many different subjects and call everything still life, even if that might not be technically accurate,” Hamachek said. “All of it is influenced by people I know or, with the paintings of things like coffee, it’s more of what interests me.”
And, as someone who was born in Wisconsin, spent significant time living in Galveston and is trained as a chef, Hamachek has quite a few interests.
Hamachek was born in Milwaukee and moved to Houston to be near family. Freelancing and working as a chef, he put himself through college at the Art Institute of Houston.
Later, he and his wife spent five years living in Galveston’s West End, which he credits for his love of island-themed paintings.
Painting the things that interest him, Hamachek, who now lives in League City, enjoys using an Impressionist style à la Claude Monet or Vincent Van Gogh.
“But it’s a new twist,” Hamachek said. “I’m figuring it out. I’ve found that you let the eyes fill in the gaps and that less is more.”
Impressionism has its origins in the 19th century.
Impressionists “aimed to be painters of the real — they aimed to extend the possible subjects for paintings — getting away from depictions of idealized forms and perfect symmetry, but rather concentrating on the world as they saw it, imperfect in a myriad number of ways,” according to theartstory.org.
“Part of the Impressionist idea was to capture a split second of life, an ephemeral moment in time on the canvas: the impression.”
Hamachek lends to it a modern twist and chooses his subjects carefully.
An Impressionist painting of two children walking along the beach in cowboy hats certainly isn’t something van Gogh would have painted, for instance.
“I enjoy making the simple still lives,” Hamachek said. “I try to paint things with a size to fit in my house. I paint things that I’d want to hang in my own house.”
For much of his painting career, Hamachek kept another job.
But recently, he turned to his art full-time.
He keeps a section of art rotating at the Affaire d’Art Gifts & Gallery, 2227 Postoffice St. in Galveston’s downtown. He also spends time traveling Texas to show at different festivals, most recently the Bayou City Arts Festival.
“I spent five years applying to Bayou,” Hamachek said. “To have about 1,000 apply and be one of 54 or 55 accepted is pretty special.”
Hamachek’s art has been accepted at out-of-state festivals and has been acquired by many interior designers and sold as far away as London.
He’s having fun in Texas, focusing on the people and places he loves and things that inspire him to paint, he said.
“Right now, I’m a full-time artist and I love it,” he said.