(1920 - 2006)
W. Harold Hancock was born in 1920 in a small coal-mining town near Harrisburg, Illinois. By his second year in elementary school Harold had a passion for art. Having had to drop out of the first grade because of a bout with Typhoid Fever, he returned to school with a vengeance. By the fourth grade, he had entered a poster contest and won first place. His taste for success didn’t stop there. He kept drawing and painting all through grade school and continued with four years of high school art classes, two more years than the normal routine.
During World War II Hancock painted outdoor illustrations and informative letterings for military installations from Marion, Illinois to Fort Hood, Texas. After the War, he moved to Brown County, Indiana and built a studio. He painted everything around him from the scenes of Nashville’s Van Buren Street to the wildlife around his studio, creeks and streams, barns and churches, covered bridges, deer, wild turkeys, raccoons and pheasants.
“Winter in these hills is a breath-taking sight to behold!” Hancock once wrote. “From early morning light to the glow of sunset, when smoke curls from the chimneys as the lights come on to reflect the snow-covered ground. The near-by creek records the evening light. There will always be new inspirations for me in Brown County.”
“There are two rewards in painting” Hancock wrote. “First is the pleasure derived in painting the picture and second, the opportunity to please the collector. Years ago I remember painting an old barn on SR 46 east of Nashville. Sycamore trees stood beside it making an interesting subject. A few years later I drove by and was saddened to see it had collapsed, flat on the ground. The two Sycamores standing tall had lost a good friend.”
Late in his career, Hancock, whose full name was William Harold Hancock, used acrylics in his work rather than oils. The artist died in his Nashville home on July 11, 2006 at the age of 85.
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