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To gaze upon one of the still-life paintings of  W. Charles Nowell is to encounter a visual contradiction. The artist’s choice of palette is dynamic and vibrant, instantly engaging the viewer’s eye in a dance of light and color. The compositions however, through their use of line and balance, provide a sense of stability and order. The combination of these elements conveys a feeling of beauty and elegance that is at once contemporary and timeless.

Born in 1966 in Groveland, Massachusetts, Nowell showed an interest in art early in life. He began drawing lessons with Robert Scott Jackson at the age of ten. Then after high school he sought out Boston School artist Paul Ingbretson. Ingbretson gave him the kind of academic training that has passed down from French 19th century painters such as Jacques-Louis David, Edgar Degas and Jean-Leon Gerome. After four years of these classical studies Nowell spent a summer with New Hampshire still life artist Sidney Willis who imparted a more contemporary outlook toward color and composition.

Success came early to Nowell as well. Some of his first professional pieces gained critical acclaim by his elders and he won several awards including two “Best in Show” awards at the Copley Society of Boston. Four galleries throughout New England were now representing his still-life work. He nearly sold out his first one-man show at the Blue Heron Gallery at the age of twenty-six. Since then Nowell has had fourteen one man shows, participated in several other group shows and taught at the Heartwood College of Art in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The effects of natural light from a north facing studio window upon a vast collection of antiques, glass, silver and a variety of other objects continues to be a source of inspiration for Nowell. The work of old master artists such as Chardin and Fantin-Latour are continually examined for technique and composition. All of Nowell's paintings are done directly from life and he spends a considerable amount of time working on his setups to get them “just right” before even touching the canvas. When asked to describe his work Nowell said, "I think of my work as an idealized realism. My paintings are a careful balance between what I see in nature and what I choose to bring from my own aesthetic sensibilities. I further aspire to communicate a positive and uplifting outlook on life."

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Copyright © W. C. Nowell, 2002 - 2005
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