by Beth Raebeck Hall

 

Beth Hooker - photo by Rob Lindsay

Beth Hooker – photo by Rob Lindsay

Beth Hooker exudes a certain amount of capricious bohemianism, reminiscent of Mexico or parts South of the Border. Color is interwoven throughout her house. Filling it with beautiful plants, paintings, and other interesting artisan objects, Hooker transformed her simple Nashville ranch into a Spanish-influenced, creative oasis, complete with the sounds of several fountains. Her entire demeanor is crackling with electricity and a healthy sense of mystery.I am reminded of Frida Kahlo—and that’s a good thing. I love Frida’s art, and I have a sense that I will feel the same way about the work Hooker is going to show me.

I am drawn to an incredibly beautiful oil canvas of bamboo, resting on an easel. Hues of green explode everywhere. It is powerful and vivd, something straight out of Avatar. “It’s not finished yet, but I’ll tell you all about it. It’s my first commissioned piece,” she says proudly.”

 

Baliwood, Oil on canvas, 42" x 42"

Baliwood, Oil on canvas, 42″ x 42″

Music and art are the essence of Beth Hooker. A Texan, her choreographer mother invented the thin-shafted baton now the standard used by majorettes. As a child, Hooker would use the ball end as a microphone, a foreshadowing of a future impressive singing career. And sing she did.

Her career and discography are stellar. Hooker toured and recorded with Elton John, Sting, Billy Idol, and close friend Don Henley. Roger Waters asked her to sing with him at the Universal Amphitheater.

Those are just a few example of her extensive musical career. Yet this talented singer was anxious to leave the spotlight to return to a new love. “Even though the music was exhilarating, I couldn’t wait to get back home to the quietude and my new love affair – painting,” she said.

A divorce and the death of her brother left Hooker facing giant bare walls. “Giant bare walls that needed color,” she said.

It was truly at that moment of needing color that my heart began splashing it, fervently, onto canvas . . . and I fell in love, with the feel of moving colors of oil to sculpt the faces of women balancing life and bearing its fruits and burdens.

Equanimity, Oil on canvas, 48″ x 30″

 

Quiet Balance, Oil on Canvas, 48" x 30"

Quiet Balance, Oil on Canvas, 48″ x 30″

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other paintings of multicultural women and faraway places again harken back to Kahlo’s expressive Mexican folk art. One woman supports a pile of intricately designed textiles on her head; another holds the woven reeds of an artisan basket. Each vibrates with life and mysterious interior expressions. The feminine is present in all. Hooker believes memories travel from the mind to the heart and, for her, end up appearing on the canvas.

“It’s about remembering who we are as creative souls and allowing our unique ways of expression to flow,” she says with a smile. “With our planet calling out in pain, I am invested in whatever I can do to create something of beauty.”

For more information about Sarah Elizabeth Hooker visit www.bethhookerarts.com.

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