Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Getting to Know: Linda Hartough, World-Renowned Golf-Landscape Painter

Golden Bell - The 12th Hole at Augusta National, By Linda Hartough
American Golfer: When did you begin painting?

Linda Hartough: My earliest memories include creating with color on paper, so I would have to say that I have always been painting my whole life. By age six I realized that what I did was unique and defined myself as an artist from then on. That realization has guided my life since then.

AG: Why did you decide to paint golf courses?

LH: In 1984 a representative from Augusta National Golf Club liked my landscape paintings and asked me if I could paint a golf course. I said sure – it is still landscape, just with much more green. My first golf landscape painting was the famous 13th Hole of Augusta National.

AG: Do you have a specific artistic process or does it change from course to course?

LH: It is pretty much the same. I visit every course and see it from the first hole to the 18th  as you would play it, to get the overall feel and character of the course. Researching the history and listening to those who know the course the best is also part of the process. Next, I narrow it down to one or two holes that are the most characteristic, strategic or otherwise memorable to express the essence of that course. If it is a famous course, the selection process is easier because certain holes are well known and recognized. I also visit the course at the best time of year for the particular course so the landscape looks its best. When the hole is selected, I take hundreds of photos in every possible light from dawn to dusk until I find the lighting that will make the scene and the painting come alive. If I don’t get what I want, I will return for another visit at a different time of year when the lighting has changed. The lighting of the scene is the most important element of the painting.
AG: What’s the most challenging thing about painting golf courses?

LH: It’s a challenge to make a great painting and still capture a golfer’s favorite scene, but my goal is to make any work of art I create transcend the scene depicted. When you look at a golf hole, you have to see what players like about it – how a golfer plays it. Then you have to see it as a landscape – as a work of art.

AG: Do you paint other subjects?

LH: I have painted many other subjects in my career, including figurative, portrait, architectural and equine subjects and every kind of landscape. My favorite has always been landscape. The last thirty years have been almost exclusively golf landscape.

AG: Do you play golf? If so, how long have you played?

LH: My father was an avid player of the game all his life so I was around golf clubs my early years, but after golf lessons and one nine-hole round, I decided it was not for me. Being as visually oriented as I am, it was completely frustrating when the ball did not go where I thought it would. I would much rather watch others play and marvel at how they can or cannot control the ball. I view the game as a discipline which requires much time and study to master and enjoy, much like the same process I use to create art. So I consider myself an avid watcher and appreciator of the game.

AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?

LH: Alister Mackenzie, Donald Ross, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. It would be fascinating to hear them talk about course design – their courses are so visually interesting.

AG: Do you have a favorite hole/course you've painted?

LH: Augusta National for its other-worldliness and the links courses in Scotland and Ireland for their natural settings, wildness and sense of timelessness. The great thing about golf landscape is that courses are created on such a variety of stunning landscape.

AG: What course tops your “bucket list” to paint?

LH: I think of Cypress Point, Bandon Dunes, Royal Melbourne and North Berwick, to name a few.

Learn more about Hartough and browse her complete library at www.hartough.com.

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