Dan’s Cover Artist Charles Wildbank Is Real Beyond the Photo

Charles Wildbank's full "Dawn at Sea" (oil on canvas, 48" x 60")
Charles Wildbank’s full “Dawn at Sea” (oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″)
Courtesy Charles Wildbank

This week’s cover features a serene painting by East End photorealism artist Charles Wildbank, who has seen his art grace the cover of Dan’s Papers nearly 20 times over the years. Here, he discusses “Dawn at Sea,” his evolving art style and where to view his art this month.

Charles Wildbank with his painting "Grand Florale: 2020"
Charles Wildbank with his painting “Grand Florale: 2020”

A Talk with Charles Wildbank

What inspired you to paint “Dawn at Sea” and does the painting represent a specific beach?

During my winter days as a snowbird in Florida near Delray Beach, I would be greeted each new day looking out my bedroom window under blankets with a luminous proscenium of soul-stirring, soft but dramatic colors!

I love and indulge in how its colors morph into one another in slow motion. Likewise, I find myself in my studio poking my palette in like manner moving colors around.

Painting the sky for its impossibly infinite range of emotion is what every artist probably can swear by its challenge and rewards. It begs to be mastered for us to become like the dawn itself.

Is the painting close to a one-for-one match with its reference photo(s), or did you play around with its colors and composition?

I admit I let the colors fresh from their tubes get me carried away. I’d find myself pushing up the volume at times. I would often eliminate elements that do not seem to contribute to my vision. At other times, thought associations or even visual puns would give way toward new reveals. Plenty of birthing and midwifery goes on in this unfoldment of a new vision.

Would you describe your photorealistic art style to be still evolving or mostly set?

My style has been fluid since early childhood, and has evolved toward photo verisimilitude, but not always as an end, to find ourselves ever continuing to transcend things real, the mundane, the ordinary, perhaps.

Mastering such hard-earned skill of imaging is a wild card that offers potential to take one through leaps into imagination, stuff, almost scary at times, yet experienced.

I am observing that all the arts have this motive in common, taking the mind for a dance, uplifting each step toward perhaps some possible ecstasy. Art for me has been an odyssey of self discovery. Color mastery continues to be my frontier as elusive as it has been, still holding onto my fascination, just like that dawn in my window.

Charles Wildbank "Ohm" (acrylic on canvas, 57" x 68")
Charles Wildbank’s “Ohm” (acrylic on canvas, 57″ x 68″)Courtesy Charles Wildbank

What upcoming art events, exhibitions or other projects are you working toward now?

My artworks are now on display at two locations: the William Ris Gallery of Jamesport, featuring seascapes and still life, May 6 through June 4. “Dawn at Sea” is on display at this quaint country gallery on 1291 Main Road.

In case some of you may have missed the reception at the time of this reading, I am having a second reception on Saturday, May 20 from 4–7 p.m.

The other location covers a theme of hand-painted chairs, “Chair of Hope Project,” addressing gun violence at the Remsenberg Academy, 130 S. Country Road, Remsenberg.

Inside what was formerly a late 18th century schoolhouse filled with these empty hand-painted chairs symbolizing each of those young lives lost to gun violence.

Throughout its interior hangs my portrait collection of young kids but ironically festooned with yellow crime scene tape only to reflect the outrage present.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?

My imagination continues to have me carried away. I expect some new art with some hyper color as that is what a new day wakes me up to.

There will be more portraits, waves, still life, et cetera. My website has been given a new makeover with lots more art and should be easier to navigate through.

I intend to keep it as current as possible as I am its administrator, making sure the events are to date: I also have a section for those who which to sign up for newsletters or contact me at wildbank.com.

May 5, 2023 Dan's Papers cover art by Charles Wildbank
May 5, 2023 Dan’s Papers cover art by Charles Wildbank