Craig Lueck

Hallmark Master Artist Craig Lueck
Every piece in Craig’s Artful Escapes collection includes a display easel.


Hallmark Master Artist Craig Lueck knows that the creative process can be humbling. He also believes it can be just the invitation needed to enliven a life.


Hometown and school: I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and though I haven’t lived there for nearly 30 years, I still feel deeply connected to the land, water and people. While growing up, I never thought about “becoming an artist.” I always just figured I was one. I attended four colleges before graduating from the American Academy of Art in Chicago.


Personal philosophy: My personal philosophy is “Life beats down and crushes your soul, but art reminds you that you have one.”


What inspired your collection? My inspiration came from trips I had taken to the coasts and the Great Lakes. I’m a water boy, raised in Milwaukee, and I go there every three months. My whole family often goes north to a little place called Door County. We’ve gone there for the past 20 years, and when I’m there, I paint. My hobby is also my profession, so I’m not that complicated. When I can be out in nature with my watercolors, I’m very pleased. Because I love the water, this collection is an honest representation of me.


Personal inspiration: My own painting style is influenced by a host of people, everyone from my kindergarten teacher to artists Andrew Wyeth, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. I’m also deeply grateful to my wife and four kids for their encouragement and inspiration.

Artful Escapes watercolor glass art decor
Watercolor glass art from Craig Lueck


Is there a secret to painting in watercolor? You don’t get to control watercolor. You have to participate with it more than control it. You can aim at something, but you can’t muscle it like an opaque painting where you can control where your brush stops and starts. In this medium, you float it in water and then you just watch it. There are a few tricks to stop it where you want to stop it and blend it where you want to blend it, but it’s not easy for anyone unless it’s reduced to snack-sized methods. I teach a lot of that in workshops.


Who can take your workshops? I travel all over. Wherever somebody can fill a room, I’ll be happy to bring my toys and we’ll play together. I teach everyone from kids and 80-year-olds who’ve never done it but are courageous enough to try, all the way to professionals. I help reconnect people to their creative impulse and help them recover their hearts. In this click-and-get-it-now world, it’s really important to take time for reflection—creating art is a great conduit for it.


Happy place (when I’m being creative): I like anything where I can get out and be in nature so I enjoy plein air painting (a French style of “open air” painting). You bring your studio in your backpack and hike to find a reclusive area. Then you paint, right on location. Many times artists gather in groups at scheduled events, and in 30 minutes to 3 hours, you kick out something that’s based on that environment and that singular experience. It’s about something I’ve always called “the geography of your heart,” where you go to the places you love and that provides a deeper experience where you can be slightly more contemplative. This leads to more self-composure when you’re doing the work, which is important because watercolor can make the most composed person anxious. If you’re in an environment you love, and you respect the medium and you respect the place, surprising results can come from that.

Watercolor glass decor

Get insight into the backgrounds and inspirations of these featured Hallmark artists.

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