Louisiana, Mo. artist John Stoeckley has been sharing his “Reflections of Missouri” pen and ink art with Hannibalians for 20 years at the Autumn Historic Folklife Festival and other events, and now he is bringing his newest works, inspired by visits to France.
“I will have 23 pieces of my work on exhibit” in the new exhibit opening Saturday, May 25, at the Hannibal Arts Council, 105 S. Main St., and all of them are scenes in France.
He spends part of each year there, Stoeckley said. “I go every spring. The work is a compilation of work I’ve done over the last several years, most of which has been done in the last six months.”
Most of the pictures depict the southern region of France, commonly referred to as Provence. His French work has “a different character to it,” Stoeckley said. “The exhibit is primarily streetscape drawing and watercolors of ancient doors and windows, cafes, and fronts of interesting buildings.”
He enjoyed having “a lot of play of French lighting on the buildings,” and believes, “it’s a much more sophisticated body of work than I’ve done with my Reflections of Missouri.”
The resulting pictures are very different from his usual Missouri scenes, Stoeckley added. “A lot of people see the work and have a hard time believing it is my work. It is much more decorative.” His Missouri art in “The Heartland Collection” and “Reflections Of Missouri” features historic buildings, rural locations and river scenes.
After starting as a pen and ink artist 20 years ago, Stoeckley later added watercolors. Now that he is featuring scenes in France, he said, “a lot of people don’t realize they are pen and ink. ... The exhibit at the Hannibal Arts Council is with watercolors, and some are more watercolors than pen and ink.”
His exhibit, “The Provence Collection,” will share the HAC Gallery with the work of 12 artists in The Best of Missouri Hands group. The opening reception for this joint exhibit will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 25, and the exhibit will continue until July 6. Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Most of his works in the new exhibit are originals, and all will be for sale, Stoeckley said. His art also will be displayed in Hannibal on June 15 and 16 in the Renaissance Art Fair.
Some of his French scenes have been exhibited in Hannibal during the past two years, Stoeckley said. “I’ve had several pieces in the booth but never a total exhibit of just The Provence Collection.”
Page 2 of 2 - His work has been purchased for gifts to people in several countries. One was a priest living in the Vatican, who received a picture of the college church at St. Louis University, where he was ordained.
Another picture was given to Ophra Winfrey. It is the Hodgson Water Mill in Southwest Missouri, which was purchased for her because she was a spokesperson for the business.
Full-time artist after business career
“I was in the corporate world for 20 some years before I started my career as an artist,” Stoeckley said. He was vice president of marketing for Stark Brothers nursery in Louisiana.
“I had always dreamed of trying to make a living with my art, and I lost my job at Stark Brothers, so it seemed like a perfect time to venture into my art career. It was a blessing having lost my job.”
He had taken art courses in college, but explained that “much of my work - the pen and ink with watercolors - is a self-taught skill. I started out in college pursuing an art degree but changed to getting a marketing degree from Indiana University.”
After college, he lived in Chicago, where he continued to take courses at the Art Institute.
His first full-time artistic work was silk screen printing, and he also did the pen and ink and watercolors, which “seemed to be very well-accepted. I just changed direction and have been pursuing the pen and in and watercolors ever since,” he said. At first, “everything was black and white, but in recent years I’ve introduced a lot of color.”
When not traveling to art shows - or to France - Stoeckley may be found in his Reflections of Missouri studio and gallery in Louisiana.. His work also is offered on his website, stoeckley.com. And he and his wife, Karen, own and run The Eagle’s Nest Bed and Breakfast and Winery in Louisiana.