This is always an exciting time for us here at Maine Art. With so much going on this summer already, it is an added bonus to be able to introduce you to another amazing New England artist, Charles Bluett.
Charles was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1965 where his parents happened to be working at the time. Both his parents are English, however, so they soon moved to the county of Kent, England, where he grew up.
Bluett says, “At 13, we moved again. Westminster, the heart of London, was quite the opposite from Kent’s natural beauty. We lived about 700 meters from Big Ben, the iconic Houses of Parliament and five minutes from the Old Tate gallery, before the New Tate was constructed on the South Bank of the Thames. This is where I first discovered my passion for art, but especially painting. I spent many hours sitting in the Rothko Room there, surround by his ethereal color panels.”
Bluett has spent the best part of his adult life in the US. He didn’t start painting in earnest until he moved to New York City as a young man back in the late 1980’s. Even then, it was purely as a thing he took huge private pleasure from doing; a hobby.
“It was a visit from Charlie Phillips who changed all that. Charlie ran an influential gallery in the West End of London with Harry Blain. He came to the house for dinner, saw my work, and offered me my first solo exhibition. This was back in the early 90’s. In the same month, I was also selected by The Royal Academy of Art in Piccadilly, the epicenter of British art for centuries, to feature in the Annual Summer Exhibition. This is where I sold my first work ever commercially. It was a great honor and a humbling experience. I remember taking my dear mother up the hallowed steps of the Royal Academy the day before the opening of the exhibit. We viewed my work in the most prestigious art institution in England. She had always been very supportive of my painting, and this was a definite ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.”
Bluett had a number of solo exhibitions in London and the US, but it was not until January of 2016, that life finally showed him that he must do this full time.
“Life is simply too short not to follow your passion. My wife had fallen ill with cancer, and after we were blessed to come through the other side, I decided it was time to stop compromising and use the gift I had been given to its fullest.”
For Bluett, this decision stays with him daily. After he spends what he considers a highly productive day completing a piece of work, he leaves his studio for the day walking backwards. He stares at the final piece through his studio door windows and contemplates.
“I am always still considering whether it is complete or not. Then, I turn toward the outdoor view ahead of me and see a twilight sky, a blazon sunset or simple tree line, and I am filled with so much color and energy. I smile to myself, realizing I should never take myself that seriously. In all I do, given what is laid out before me by ‘the powers that be’ in such scale and natural wonder, I keep perspective. I always try hard to be a part of it all. It is the important message I am left with, and I enjoy and relish the gifts I have been given, whatever they may be. This always makes me smile. Thankfully, it happens very often.”
Bluett currently resides in Vermont with his lovely and hugely understanding wife, Suzy, his two kids, Ty and India, and a large number of critters, from horses to cats and dogs.
Be on the lookout for more posts about Charles Bluett, his inspirations and his process. His work is like no other in our gallery and certainly is worth a peek in person. We are open every day, but please check our website for hours.
**If you can’t make it to the Kennebunks soon, check out our complete collection of his work on his artist page. Charles Bluett – Artist Page.
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