The Charleston Influence

     In my early development for lack of a better source I would refer to sources that gave me access to subject matter.  This would include Christmas cards, scenes from art magazines, photographs etc.  Over time I purchased close to 100 “how to” books and worked with them.  Simple subjects made for successful projects and the beginning of understanding color, value and the all-important composition.  As time went on I took on more challenging subject matter and with that came the understanding that I needed some guidance.

My wife and I had friends that were serious art collectors and in their home they had a number of paintings from an artist in Charleston named John Carroll Doyle.  They had been encouraging me when they knew I was painting.  When my next Birthday came up they gave me a book on his life and his journey with his tremendous talent.  I have read it from cover to cover several times but most important I keep by my side to refer to.  It is a treasure.  Not long after this we made a trip to Charleston for the dining, shopping and a visit to his gallery.  I was in there for a long time because each painting had a way of capturing my complete attention.  John had an imagination that was incredible and the ability to convert that to a scene that was suitable for most any home or commercial venue.  During that visit we purchased a framed Giclee’ that will always hang in our home. 

The City of Charleston is a Mecca for art lovers and a prime destination for people looking to acquire items.  The atmosphere is festive and interesting at every corner. Whenever we go to Charleston there are a few galleries we always like to visit.  I leave there and cannot wait to start my next canvas and that is the way I know I am and always will be hooked.

I was visiting John Doyle’s website one day and noticed that he did private workshops.  I made arrangements with Angela, the Gallery Director, and the next thing you know it was all set.  I was nervous to say the least but when the day came he was ready for me.  As if he knew I was nervous!

He was kind and I will remember he told me “many artists do not want to give you their secrets because they are afraid you will become competition.  But if I have it in my head, I will give it to you”.      I will always remember that. 

Following that workshop I did four more every few months.  Each one he would let me give him my wish list of things I wanted to learn and he would make that the day’s work.  At the end of each I left his studio with a complete or 90% complete work of art that had a good amount of his hand and heart in it.

Christmas 2014 I went to his website to pull up the page to schedule another workshop and the home page that came up was his obituary.  It left a void that is hard to explain but very real.  Those times can never be replaced.  The John Doyle Gallery lives on and Angela Stump is still the Director.

This is the Charleston Influence that will forever be apparent in my work with its marshes, birds, African American themes and the abundance of unique characters to immortalize on canvas.