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The Eye on the Prize

2/17/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

The fox said to the little prince, “Men have forgotten this truth, you become responsible forever for what you have tamed.” Antoine deSaint-Exupery “The Little Prince” Yes, the fox knows there is great joy and risk in “taming the other.” Yet, in the paintings of local artist Charles Berry, the viewer is invited to enjoy the “wildness” of the subject without interrupting the natural state of the subject. Through his vivid, graceful, and realistic style, Charles wishes to transmit his deep appreciation for the natural beauty in our environment, as well as communicate we are the protectors of the paradise in which we live.

Charles grew up in Detroit, MI, a place not necessarily known for its wild spaces of untouched natural beauty; he feels his appreciation for the natural world was something embedded in his DNA. Charles recalls working for his father, a Missouri farm guy from the depression era, in his garage. Here, he experienced the challenges involved in hard labor and long hours. The work ethic philosophy was, “hard work with the development of practical skills, that’s the way to make a living,” none of this artsy stuff would do. In contrast, young Charles looked to August Renoir and many of the impressionist painters, admiring their ability to transport their viewers to another space and time. The love of the natural world would become his compass.

Over the years, Charles “kept his eye on the prize,” developing a number of awe-inspiring paintings ranging from impressionistic landscapes to faithfully rendered depictions of exotic animals in the wild. Although skilled in a number of mediums, Charles’s first love is oils, due to their brilliance of color and the range of textures he is able to produce on the canvas. Charles credits his wife Cheryl as his greatest inspiration: “she is always positive and offering encouragement, no matter the challenges ahead.” They frequently travel to destinations far and wide in order to keep Charles’s subjects, unique and insightful and his technique fresh and up to date. Working from his home studio, Charles is always looking for a better way to communicate through his art. 

Recently, Charles’s interest has turned to Native American subjects, which he shares, “has been a long time in coming.” His maternal Great Grandmother was from the Cherokee tribe in Oklahoma. Because of this personal connection, Native American history has been a subject of interest for a number of years. Charles has studied and collected images from those who have come before, such as photographers Edward S. Curtis, William Henry Jackson, and John Anderson, now he is ready to explore the subject in a deeper, more meaningful way through his own art. “The Native American belief that our Creator is alive in everything that surrounds us creates a very different perspective on the world from present day thinking.” Charles recognizes the ancient wisdom in “taking only what you need…”

Charles Berry’s paintings have been published in an number of major publications over the years; he is represented by Loren Sieman Fine Art and Slaymaker Fine Art located in Chicago, and he recently completed 62 paintings for Villas at the Grand Del Mar in San Diego, CA. Locally, Charles is in the Sonoran Art League El Pedregal Gallery, Think Fine Art, and the Art Department in Scottsdale and Spur Cross Gallery in Cave Creek. Charles has been represented in the Art Expo national shows since 1996. 

Meet Charles and view a selection of his art from now through April 3, at the Thunderbird Artists Fine Art Expo in Scottsdale. For more information or to contact Charles, visit his Web site at www.charlesberryfineart.net.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.