A woman I met on the The Long Walk who has now become a dear friend texted me, “Have you heard about Christopher Hoff?” “No, what?” I texted back. Then the phone rang and my friend told me the terrible news that Christopher Hoff, painter, gentleman, and sweet soul, had died of natural causes.
I used to see Christopher regularly around Pioneer Square near my studio. In the rain, wind, and sun, he would be there studying the changes in light and atmospheres. Documenting sidewalks, power lines, and building facades. We would smile, say hi, comment on the weather or the street life. In July of 2011, I saw him outside my studio building and he told me that he got a spot on The Long Walk. He was all smiles and I was happy to know that we would be walking and talking together.
Christopher was a great walking companion. Our strides finally matched on the all-uphill Tolt Pipeline Trail. I can’t quite remember what we talked about, but I do remember laughing a lot and recognizing that having a good walking partner makes the hard parts easier. The next day at Tolt MacDonald Park he told me that there was enough downtime for some painting (his dedication to his craft was observed by everyone who knew him) and described looking at the field of tents we had created and loving the forms.
The last time I saw Christopher was in a warehouse in SODO. I was there to check on some metal fabrication. He was on a tall platform painting the morning light. I climbed up there so he could show me what he was seeing. We watched the light and the dust make diamonds. The moment was beautiful and felt like a secret shared between artist friends. I’ll remember him in that light, capturing the spangled air .