Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Art
by Ann Erskine
Charles Rice began painting when he was seven years old. He would use oil paints, crayons and pencils in his grandmother's attic because he lived with her and spent a lot of time "creating." He was introduced to oil pastels in 1993 and has been painting with them ever since because of their portable quality. He can easily carry a sketch pad and a box of pastels on his travels to such places as Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Rice also likes the "intimacy" of oil pastels. He says, "I can spread the oils across the paper with my fingers, the side of my hand or even my palm." He uses a French pastel that is loaded with oil which allow him to blend and create new colors. He is mostly self-taught but did have some formal training under the painter, Barbara Peck and also Ka-ning Fong, a prominent painter in Honolulu. He has studied at the Maryland College of Art and Design and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (left: Photo of Charles Rice, courtesy of Charles Rice)
Rice's subject matter is constantly evolving. When he paints on location, he tried to incorporate what he feels as he works. He doesn't feel the need to make an exact copy of what he is painting - he paints what he sees but mostly what he feels. He counts Cezanne as one of his greatest influences because Charles Rice believes Cezanne was seeking the truth in his work. He is also motivated by the composer Elliott Carter who told Rice that he could grab musical notes out of the air and Rice has experienced the same feeling "only with colors". He feels that the colors speak to him as he is painting as if one color is encouraging him to use it alongside another color. He is influenced by his environment but it is processed through his soul. He enjoys painting because it is the way that he relaxes and it gives him a chance for introspection. (left: Country Path, Hawaii, 15 in x 11 inches)
Charles' work has been exhibited in the Embassy of Indonesia, at the Oceania Gallery in Honolulu, the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the Wilson Art Gallery in Washington, DC, the Broadway Arts Center in Asheville, NC, the Maryland Governor's Mansion in Annapolis and The International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC.
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