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Painting The Light


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “Look at light and admire its beauty. Close your eyes, and then look again; what you saw is no longer there; and what you will see later is not yet.” So is the experience of local painter Jack Comiskey, who “paints the light” in luscious, eloquent tones and shades that seductively draw the viewer’s eye toward the shadow and wraps the waiting heart. Then look again.

Growing up in Niles, Illinois, Jack loved to draw. It didn’t matter the subject, a pen and tablet of paper in hand kept him busy for hours sketching everyday subjects. Over time, Jack said he developed keen observation skills as well as a drawing talent. It was not until years later, while stationed in Panama with the United States Air Force, that he picked up watercolors. He took a few lessons, and discovered he had a real talent for the medium. Upon leaving the Air Force, Jack took up a career in hospital administration in the Milwaukee area, falling back on his graduate degree in Hospital Administration from Loyola University, Chicago. Here again Jack continued his passion to paint, expanding his exploration into oils.

To develop his skill set in both watercolor and oils, Jack sought out painting lessons by traveling to art workshops all over the country when he had time. He was fortunate to have studied under some of the best artists of our times, Tony Van Hasselt (Hudson River Valley) and Don Stone (New Hampshire and Maine). Jack’s admiration for the great American painters Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) and Donald Teague (1891-1991) greatly influences his sensitivity to the classic American landscape and subject matter. He developed an eye for the way light played off surfaces of his subjects and set the mood in each piece. When asked about his painting technique, Jack states, “It’s about the light, I paint the light.”

Jack retired twenty-four years ago from his CEO Hospital Administration career. At that point, he made the decision to leave the chilling winters of the Midwest and relocate to the Valley of the Sun. Here he could devote himself full-time his art.

Jack Cominskey’s work has been shown in numerous galleries, including the former O’Brien’s Art Emporium in Scottsdale. His paintings cover a wide variety of subjects including landscapes, seascapes, rural scenes, and people though various seasons of the year. The eloquently rendered natural scenes have won Jack recognition of being a five-time honoree of the coveted National Park Academy of the Arts. This is an annual selection of the top 100 artists in the United States for paintings representing our National Parks. The American Watercolor Society accepted Jack’s watercolor “Clouds in the Canyon” on its first submission, a very rare accomplishment for artist.

Today, Jack paints each morning at his home studio. He loves the subjects of nature just outside his large picture window. He also draws on thousands of photographs taken over the years during his European and North America travels. In fact, he refers to his Leica camera his “German Sketch Pad.” Jack has been fortunate to have sold a large number of his works over the years, but he has a large collection left and is still producing daily.

Plan to attend the artist reception and Open House on Sunday, Nov. 22, from 1-4 p.m. at the Tatum Ranch Community Center, 29811 N. Tatum Ranch Drive (on the NE corner of Cave Creek Road and Tatum). To view part of Jack’s collection, go to his Web site at You will also find contact information there for purchasing and commissioning pieces.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at