CAREFREE – The award-winning Thunderbird Artists kicks off the arts season with its 25th annual Fall Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival taking place November 2-4, along Ho Hum and Easy streets in downtown Carefree.
The popular Carefree show features 150 renowned, juried artists who will showcase and sell their original work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Canadian still life painter Gilles Charest, the festival’s featured artist, is returning for his third Carefree show with Thunderbird Artists.
“Gilles is an accomplished painter and sculptor whose work is pure in composition,” said Denise Colter, president of Thunderbird Artists. “He is a self-taught artist whose mastery of color is evident in his sensual, still life fruit paintings.”
Born in Montreal, Charest studied education, literature and administration at the University of Montreal and at the Hautes Études Commerciales school. He taught for a few years before co-founding an advertising agency. An art collector and enthusiast, he has been devoting much of his time to painting since 1990.
For Charest, fruits are more than just fruits.
“The pear represents a woman, the apple a man, the cherry youth, the plum the unknown, and the grapes everything related to the group, the team, the family,” Charest said. “My works are not still life – they are full of life!”
He is also drawn to fruits because they are a pretext for transmitting an emotion.
“What’s most important for a painting is not only what we see, but also what we feel and imagine” he said.
His subjects are simple, which is why the pairing of color and light plays an essential role and gives life to his paintings. In his search for unconventional textures, he uses a “smearing” technique.
Charest will exhibit more than 20 still life paintings and one slate sculpture at the Carefree festival. In addition, photos of his bronzes will be on display.
Patrons viewing his work may also be interested to know that the titles of his paintings are not arbitrary.
“They give flavor, dimensions and a story to the painting. A big apple becomes ‘Man of my life’ and a pear and cherry become ‘Mother’s love.’ I like painting with ambiguities,” he said.
Throughout the three-day festival, patrons can enjoy live music, wine tastings, microbrews and a variety of festival food. Admission to the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival is $3 for adults, and free for children 17 years or younger. Parking is free all weekend.
For more information, call (480) 837-5637 or visit www.ThunderbirdArtists.com.