One Plein Air Painter's View:
1. The first thing you realize is that just the act of getting somewhere
with vehicle, gear, supplies, time, subject, motivation, light, shade, wind,
temperature, weather, insects, privacy, and a plan all under flexible
control is so much work, and takes so much time, that the thought pounds on
your brain: "The painting will be easy after all this." Then you find out
otherwise, but it remains axiomatic that "well-begun is half done."
2. The second thing you notice is that simply being alone, quiet,
fixed in one place, and immersed in nature for three or four hours brings an
entirely new perception of nature to you, and of you to nature. For example,
becoming largely invisible to otherwise shy creatures who
will often approach you, and working in the right side of your brain (just like they are),
allows you to hear the universe thanking you for "just paying attention."
Thus, paintings may become difficult to part with because they appear as keepers
of a spirit held deep within, as an insect within amber.
3. The third thing you find is that these "boxes of air" or "time
machines to a private universe" begin to pile up around you. They present
the library of your life. Here are the things that happened when you were
really concentrating and forming an indelible memory. The paintings
represent a record of solitary times spent opening up to what a friend
calls "the ancient wind." Though painting alone never feels lonely
(both nature and the subconscious are very well populated!)
you do feel it's important to gather with other artists, and patrons,
to bask in community that reinforces shared experiences, values, and joy.
Chuck Bauer, April 20, 2005
CHUCK BECKWITH STATEMENT:
Chuck Beckwith has been making mosaic works for many years, and uses a demanding, personal technique he has developed. He utilizes carefully fitted shards of commercial crockery, found objects such as glass doll eyes, small pieces of decorative jewelry, zippers, and images and letters discovered on the reverse side of plates, saucers, etc. Sometimes subtle visual puns and puzzling contradictions result, rewarding careful, patient scrutiny.
Though as a child I was always interested in art my real journey began the first day of undergraduate school when I had an auditory hallucination telling me to become an art major.
As part of earning my BFA in 1969 I spent a year in New York City as part of the first annual Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. I earned my MA in Madison in 1970.
I have been painting all my life, much of it en plein air long before the current explosion of interest, and when portable materials were still somewhat novel.
I have never stopped taking workshops, and mentoring, and sometimes formally instructing, others.
My vision for my art is to leave something behind that will remain interesting and perhaps even strong enough to be called important, and toward that end I hope my work will always embody an expressive and emotional content.
At the moment I am interested in the emotion that might be called domestic nostalgia. As I approach the middle of my eighth decade I hope to continue growing as an artist, technically of course, but also creatively, expressively, and compassionately.
â€“Chuck Bauer, Madison, Wisconsin, July 29, 2020