“I work from my studio, tucked away in the secluded, usually leafy part of my garden in Vermont,” says Charles Bluett, one of Maine Art Painting and Sculpture’s artists. “I watch the seasons as they come and go outside my windows—from deep, rich spring and summer greens to the majestic colors of autumn to the blankets of pure snow and ice.”
Bluett typically works from early afternoon deep into the late evening. He paints nearly every day and believes this to be important for any artist. It has allowed his work to consistently evolve and mature. However, sometimes a break is necessary.
“For me, everything is created in fits and starts with blocks of time where life gets in the way and prevents my brushes from doing as I always wish them to do. At these times, I will simply head for a few days or hours to the outdoors. Maine is one such place for me,” Bluett shares. “There I can unblock my thought process and allow a freedom or abstraction to take over, influenced by what I see and sense.”
It is on occasions such as these, he finds his work swinging in unexpected and untried directions. This is when, for example, his work can move from soft ethereal landscapes to a far bolder use of primary colors. Bold abstract color works are where he started as an artist and still feature heavily in his output, but they contain a softness and flow of his representational landscapes.
“I also work on numerous pieces at any one time. As I mix my paints and mediums, I find new colors that inspire me. I have multiple canvases on the go to accommodate this,” says Bluett. “Experimentation, as I see in the outdoors, with color and the blends of combining color, fascinate me.”
Charles did not start out as a landscape painter but became one as people asked him to take his use of color from my pure abstract work to create scenes that were clearly marked by this color use, but that had a representational aspect also.
“Initially I struggled with the concept,” Bluett admits, “but I have discovered I have an enormous affinity with landscape painting. I can now achieve it in a way whereby my love of the abstract and blending of color and tone is not affected by the need to create an actual scape within the work, yet does so at the same time.”
Bluett works with acrylics mainly. As a self-taught artist, he was never exposed to using oils. As a medium, acrylic gives him the versatility he desires. “Although some people may consider acrylic to be the ‘poor cousin’ to oil, I find I am able to create work that contains exactly the same depth and effects I feel oil would afford me,” states Bluett. “And so, I am in no rush to make a change for the foreseeable future.”
Working with brushes, sponges, pallet knives and his fingers themselves, he achieves the effects he desires. “I have been known to literally sand down works which contain multiple layers of paint, to achieve underlying layers of color applied beforehand and allow them to subtly come forward into the work and layers of paint above them,” Bluett says. “At the end, I typically varnish my work but normally only with a matte finish. This allows the natural colors to do as they must.”
Bluett feels blessed to find himself in an environment of passion, color, and peace, regardless of the ups and downs of the process and the final results he creates. He puts everything he has into a days work of painting.
“There, in a second, is something in front of you, over which you have no control, that is so splendid that you can’t help chuckle to yourself at how effortless and beautiful what you see has in-turn taken to create compared with that day’s huge efforts with one’s own painting. This is how I gauge success with my work in a real sense and excites me hugely upon my return to the next canvas I work upon.”
Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is thrilled to have a variety of works from Charles Bluett. We welcome you to stop by to view each in person during this holiday season. They may be a bit large to stuff in a stocking, but we would be more than happy to help you wrap one up for someone special. Check our website for holiday hours or call with any questions.
To read more about Charles Bluett – Charles Bluett – Stories and Insights
To see our entire collection of Bluett’s work – Charles Bluett – Artist Page