LAKEVIEW — When he decided to start painting again following a 25-year hiatus, it was the somnambulant, siren song of familiar faces and places that drew Craig Snook back to the village of Lakeview.
A 1981 graduate of Lakeview High School who went on to pursue a career in graphic arts, Snook’s intimate knowledge of the village and surrounding countryside gave him more than enough choices when it came to subject matter.
A small pond on Backus Road south of town eventually became the subject of one of his canvases. This past April, that painting earned Snook inclusion in Saginaw Township’s “State of the Arts Exhibition 2012.”
“Pond on Backus Road,” an acrylic paint and oil pastel on canvas, went on to receive one of four Purchase Awards. With more than 200 pieces of art submitted by 81 Michigan artists, landing one of the top prizes was a bit of a coup for Snook.
In addition to having his painting purchased by Saginaw Township, the award also includes an exclusive, one-man show, scheduled for November at the township hall.
“Anyone who wins a purchase award is also given a month to have their own art show,” Snook explained. “I have chosen November for mine, because I didn’t have enough paintings on hand. I’m going to have to get my butt painting this summer.”
A talented painter in high school, Snook admits he hadn’t painted seriously for well over two decades, though he does work daily in graphic arts for Saginaw University’s Communications Department. A flooded basement last summer changed all that.
“I had to clear everything out of the basement after it flooded,” Snook said. “I figured that was a prime opportunity to set up my little art studio down there. I started painting again and it came back pretty quickly. As soon as I smelled those oils and acrylics, all these memories came flooding back.
“I had done a lot of oils in high school, so that’s what I started back with. But I discovered that over the years I’ve become too impatient. I couldn’t wait for the oil to dry, so I switched over to acrylics.”
“Pond on Backus Road” was painted last fall. It was one of three paintings he entered in the Saginaw Township competition. The only tough part now will be producing enough canvases for his one-man show.
“I must have 20 to 25 pieces for the show,” Snook said. “I’ve got about half that completed now, but I’m going to have to get busy.”
Snook, who these days lives in Saginaw with his wife, Jill, plans to keep painting indefinitely. Earlier this year he considered applying for inclusion in Grand Rapids’ popular Artprize show, but the somewhat labyrinthine process proved too much bother. It is something he’s considering for next year, however.
“Between work and raising two kids, the time just sort of got away from me,” Snook said “Now I have the time. It’s been fun getting back into it.”
The reunion of art and artist may or may not develop into something more than a hobby, but for now, Snook is content to bring the bucolic countryside memories of his high school years to life on canvas.