Charles Bickel

I am an artist by training, passion and duty yet I encouraged my son to not be an artist. If there is anything else you can do then do it, it will make you happier than being an artist. After a successful father/son art show where he sold several pieces the sixteen-year-old boy said that he would never paint again, time will tell. I believe that only a natural born artist has what it takes to become an artist, commerce and the Art World take the art out of the innocent. As an artist I wear my heart on my sleeve and lay my craft on the canvases I construct from the wood up. I follow the teachings of my first art instructor Dimitar Krustev who scolded a student for using black straight out of a tube. Life is colorful, black is a cheap short cut to muddy lifelessness. I draw influences from Odd Nerdrum’s and Rembrandt’s impasto and chiaroscuro while learning from Da Vinci’s sfumato. I find myself drawn to dead trees and their simultaneous rebirth of life. I fell in love with the weathered Kienholz Beanery that I first smelled at MOCA in ‘97. I find beauty in the female form; I like the juxtaposition of a decaying log against youthful skin. While I am in my studio alone painting I try to commiserate with those who, like my son, at times feel alone in a crowd. When I paint I want to be like Thoreau at Walden, paint deliberately and front only the essential facts of life, or as Van Gogh said, "Exaggerate the essential and leave the ordinary deliberately vague." I believe that art at it’s best is an aphorism and my duty as a painter is to make a painting that is a distillation of the truth on my canvases.