Friday, November 4, 2022

My Future's Past 2

The Rape
Oil on canvas aprox 11x14

     It was about this time that my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer.  My grandmother battled later stage kidney disease brought on by diabetes.  Sitting on the screened in porch of their home , they both opened up with stories that were never really shared with the grandkids.  They shared a challenging life, raising five kids in a two bedroom home my wife and I sometimes find a bit small.  They talked about financial struggles and the worries of maintaining employment in a milltown with little regard for the laborers.  Unions were at their strongest providing medical insurance and leads to the next factory with a big contract.  They both worked without much open complaint, soetime sixty or even more hours.  The real money for my grandfather was in the overtime.  My Grandmother, working as a piecework presser made her money with her speed and efficiency, but there was little quality time left for family, and that had other costs, and longer tales.

    Those discussions fueled my own fires.  As a young man I was filled with rage and fear.  I knew I wanted nothing to do with those damned factories.  My path led through the U.S. Coast Guard and into college studying art.  After a day listening to the tales from my elders, I returned to the studio and painted a scream.  There are attempts at symbolology and a search for a voice.  This image haunts me.
    Both of my grandparent passed away within five years of me paintng this one.  Both endured years of physical pain.  But they saw me earn my degree, and they attended my first solo exibit.  I think they were proud.

My Future's Past 1

The Factory and theTree
oil on canvas aprox 18x24

     I am going to post for a bit, a series of older works I pulled out of my storage spot... this is work I still enjoy from the mid 1980's till 2010. Hope folks enjoy.

     This one goes way back... this was a student piece. Early in my last year of undergraduate school I painted this on location. I was looking for a nice spot along the beautiful Wattuppa Pond in my home town, Fall River. But the shoreline was grown over abd not accessable.  The city, an old mill town, was once the textile capitol ofcthe entire USA, really.  At some point I was behind the Kerr Mill, an old factory turned outlet store selling factory seconds and overstocks, before they got all commercialized. 
     I was thinking about Charles Sheeler and Picasso, Pollack, and a few others... this was the very start of finding my voice, thw genesis of mt self  The beginning of what I would ultimately call fusionism, my "style" when asked what it was called.

      One afternoon, I entered my studio to find one of my professors, Sig Haines, (sophomore painting), sitting in my chair, studying at this painting.  Sig is a colorist with impeccable drawing skills, considered by many, including me, to be a true contemporary master. He looked from the painting and said to me, "I love coming into your studio, Chuck.  There is always something good on your easel." Later, as I was working as an artist, showing regularly, gaining a following, he told me this was the painting that told him I could be a painter. (Took awhile to catch up to my Swain school peers, as I was a transfer student).  That comment has stayed with me 40 years.  I remember it whenever I look at this painting.  I have never let it go.

Friday, October 7, 2022



Endurance 1
36x60 inches
oil on canvas
Endurance 2
36x36 inches
oil on canvas

Endurance 3

oil on canvas
Endurance 4
36x36 inches
oil on canvas

       I paused, because that's what happens to me when the air gets cold, the trees are bare, and the lawn is hard and frozen.  I pause. I look for movies or shows to watch, wrapped in a blanket with a sweet warm snack.


       But as 2022 began, I found a challenge. I had a seed in my heart that needed to bloom.  In October,  my wife and I drove to the White Mountains on just the right day and I saw the color I had searched for since I first heard about it long ago. I needed to translate what I felt seeing it through my heart, my hand and my brush 

        I did not forsee a five month challenge.  Four panels, each one three feet by five feet, covered in small strokes of bold and vivid color, but that's where I went.

       From across a briskly running river, the immense power of golden foliage struck out and buried me in color.  I stood within the shadows along the shore, listening to the harmonies of rushing water, and on some level, the soprano of the high key of yellow.

       The color and the sound blended like a well crafted stage set. I was enraptured. 

       The only way to capture and express what I felt was through scale.  The four canvases on four easels reaching from Wall to Wall enveloped my studio and my thoughts.

       Five days a week, sometimes more, for close to six months.   

       Here it is. . 


60x144 inches oil on canvas


Friday, February 18, 2022

Looking Up

The sky paints with fire!

We have all seen it.  The vivid and the vague, the bright and the dull, they all take away our most shallow breath, slow our hearts beating, and gift us with unexpected peace.

Standing on the shoreline, of what I call, "at the top of the bay," I hear a whispered lyric, a paraphrased, slightly altered version of an old Beatles song.

"When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Nature calls to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And as the daylight turns to darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

Over 365 days of pandemic night, I stood in my spot at the top of the Bay watching color shift from the weight of the passing day and burn with the hope of tomorrow. 

The next day will be different,  it will be better. Look up, how can it be denied. Summer breeze,  winter gale⁹, fog banks and boats under sail, every day is different if not truly better.  But, she is standing there, right in front of me, whispering, "Get your brush, your knives, your pigments,  I challenge you. Paint with fire!" she says.

There is doubt.  A bit of uncertainty.   I have painted for 50 years now, but I can't light a candle compared to her fire.  I hear my own muse, "But you must.  This virus can not take it all."  She is persistent,  and yeah, to me, she is female, not a woman, but female. She is strong, persistent and protective.  She has several names.  She has been Kim, Paula, Roselinda, Rain, but for this year of Covid-19 she is Sky.  

I feel her on the wind. I smell her on the breeze. I hear her in my heart.  And I see her as I am looking up.  Finally, I acknowledge her, and lift my brush. I scream in silent joy, spread my pigment, and when all the days have passed, there are 50 paintings and an enlightend heart.

The sky paints with fire, and for a time, so does this guy.