A Creative Pursuit
and Balance in Art
By Audrey Hanes, Photography by Melissa Donner
Longtime local family medicine physician Dr. Scott Hoke is a man of many talents. In addition to his practice at NEA Baptist Clinic, Hoke has made a name for himself with his art, most recently with his paintings of Jonesboro Country Club’s golf course.
Hoke, originally from Blytheville, attended Hendrix College in Conway, where he earned a degree in chemistry before attending medical school at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. He married his wife, Mary Beth, in 1996, and the couple has four grown children and four grandchildren. He started his Jonesboro practice in 1990, where he has spent three decades caring for his beloved patients and their families.
The popular physician didn’t delve into the art world until his 40s and says that using the creative side of the brain was new for him after 30 years of practicing medicine. Hoke says it was the art education that he started in his late 40s that really made a difference.
His cousin, Elizabeth Hubbard, also an artist, knew that he was attempting to teach himself and asked if he would be interested in taking a pencil class with her, which was being offered by Tanya Eddy at The Foundation of Arts.
“I jumped at the opportunity, then that led to months of watercolor instruction, also from Tanya,” he said. “Tanya taught me how to see colors in everyday objects I’d never seen before, a valuable skill that does not come to most of us naturally. She is now instructing at the Jonesboro School of Art,” an online studio that Eddy owns and operates.
Soon after that, local artist Sean Shrum asked Hoke to try oil painting. Two hours later, he was convinced. Shrum gave Hoke a list of oil paints and other supplies to buy, which Hoke framed and kept as a memento.
“For the last 10 years, I have continued my art education with Gussi Causey,” said Hoke. “She was an art instructor at Jonesboro High School for decades. Her influence on me and others is legendary.
“… Learning to paint, developing a feel for composition (and learning) the process of reproducing color and light on a canvas have taken a lot of time to incorporate, but I’d have to say the time spent with Gussi has been the most enjoyable part. Having a mentor that is not afraid to criticize is valuable in any artful endeavor, and the friendship that has come from the hours and hours of lessons has made the journey enjoyable, to say the least.”
Causey taught for 39 years before retiring and now spends much of her time teaching adults.
“I truly have a passion for teaching; what’s even better is many of my students have become good friends, and I have gained some wonderful friends in my students,” Causey says of Hoke and many others.
Slowly but surely, Hoke’s pieces made their way onto the walls of his family practice clinic. For many of his patients, his art adds life to the walls and provides a visual escape while waiting for an exam or test results. After selling several paintings and painting a few more for commission, he started a business called Second Movement Art.
“Soon after I committed to formal art education, I started Second Movement Art,” said Hoke. “I have done several commissions, a few art shows and I am developing an online presence. With my full-time medical practice, it is hard to devote the time I would like to the business of art, but I am fortunate to have found a way to do both.”
Hoke considers his style of art to be impressionism. He enjoys painting landscapes and still lifes and says his inspiration comes mainly from local artists since he follows them so closely. He cites Jonesboro’s Brandon King, Sara Howell and Sean Shrum, along with Barry Thomas of Little Rock, as artists he admires and is inspired by since they seem to have an endless stream of great artwork.
“Of course, nature inspires a lot of the landscape paintings, and my favorite part of nature is the 18 holes of a golf course,” said Hoke. “My father taught me to play golf at an early age, so I have always appreciated the carved nuances of a golf course. Several times I’ve painted the 12th hole at Augusta National, and most golfers recognize this as the most picturesque hole in golf.
“… I have played bad golf since I was six and grew up watching the Masters Tournament, always appreciating the beauty of this particular course where that tournament is played. I’ve painted it many times, and golf has provided so many life lessons and friendships that I gravitate to painting golf landscapes naturally. Golf courses are beautiful landscapes even though the game is sometimes ugly.”
More recently, Hoke decided to paint several scenes from around Jonesboro Country Club.
“A few years ago, while playing golf on the 18th hole at Jonesboro Country Club, I snapped a few pictures as the shadows were forming over the course,” said Hoke. “A few weeks later, I had it painted. Years later, Jonesboro Country Club celebrated its centennial year, adding a bridge and other changes to the 18th hole, so I painted it again.”
He says that he was recently inspired by a photograph taken of the sixth hole at JCC by Justin Wills and will have that piece finished soon.
Hoke’s latest project combines his decades of medical experience with his art; he started a series of paintings of plants that tie in with medicine.
“Recently, I started a series of paintings representing plants that have medicinal value,” said Hoke. “Foxglove, for instance, contains a chemical found in an old heart medication. Many of these plants are visual masterpieces.
“Also, I have been working on painting reproductions of photographs from a Facebook group called View from my Window. The photos on this site are the view that people from around the world see every day during the pandemic. Their stories are told visually, but also most participants include the nature of their circumstances, be it unemployment, illness and isolation from COVID-19 or their new work from home.”
Until recently, Hoke’s art was on display at Angie Jones’ Art House in Downtown Jonesboro, which is temporarily closed. In the meantime, the physician’s art is on display online.
“I’d like to have my own gallery here in Jonesboro after retirement with my favorite art critic, Mary Beth Hoke,” said Hoke. “More than anyone else, she has helped me find myself in the art world, which is so vastly different from practicing medicine.
“Fortunately, I have had great support in pursuit of an art career from my family, the art community, my clinic staff and my patients,” said Hoke. “What I like most about family practice is the relationships you form following families for up to 30 years.”