Featured Artist Interview: Charles Bowers

Posted by Crossroads Art Center General Account - July 05 2022


Q. What started it all for you? How did you get into the arts?

A. My mother was an artist, so I grew up in and around galleries that she was involved with. I’m not sure if it’s genetic or exposure, but I eventually started playing around with pen and ink and painting about two years ago. I’m self-taught and have learned through meticulous practice.


Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. I am solar powered, so I have to be outside or I’m just not right. I love nature and every environment, from mountains to deserts, and I’ve been to about 30 countries so far. When I see something I like, I will take a mental note to paint it later. I especially love trees, so I will take mental notes of certain trees and then paint pieces of each that I like. What I try to capture are transitional moments, whether that’s a clear spring day, or a bright summer day with a storm approaching. I am drawn to the coloration and light. Normally, I work very fast and can finish a detailed drawing or painting within three weeks. Though I’m currently working on commissions, which can take longer.


Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. I find inspiration in the work of Russian painters - they use dark, rich colors that play with light. I’m not sure if it’s a certain style, color, or content. I am drawn to really detail oriented artists. I have always been a student of art, so I’m always watching and learning. I often experiment with brushes, like cutting bristles and using glue, or new materials, to create unique effects and details.   


Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?

A. I am always drawn to trees and natural scenes. More recently I have this desire to capture new environments in the winter, or even a desert. I paint what I like and not always what’s marketable. I paint things that I just feel compelled to paint. I find I like to create something hyper detailed but when that drives me crazy, then I will try something different and less detailed.


Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. I read this quote recently which really struck me: “Rivers do not drink their own water; the trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine to itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves…” [by Pope Francis]. It made me think about artists - we are simply trying to communicate a feeling to someone else.  Putting brush to canvas is an attempt to share an intimate moment, and love of something, with complete strangers. You are hoping that it speaks to someone else, and they will cherish that feeling forever.