Nadine Charlsen can be found every day in her studio space at 310 ART creating large scale watercolors. Her newest piece up on an easel, she is surrounded by framed works and carefully organized large files of paintings sorted by countries. While she does create some smaller pieces, none are your usual watercolor paintings. In fact, most viewers and even experienced collectors do not recognize this work as watercolor. With bold and striking lights and darks, layers, glazing, distressing, scraping, and splattering, she transforms her subjects into dramatic large-scale works that are collected as major focal points in homes and businesses.
Charlsen’s background as a theater professional contributes to her feel for drama. You can often find her at her easel working with the painting upright, brush in one hand and spray water bottle in the other. Just when most would think the work is finished, she wets the surface with water and washes of paint nearly obscuring the image. Then she reconstructs and brings out the luminous light with methods that seem almost magical. And, rather than keeping these techniques all to herself, she enjoys teaching and mentoring an ever-growing number of both aspiring and experienced painters at the school at 310 ART.
This February and March, Charlsen will have a featured exhibit showcasing her large pieces. Her show is cleverly titled ”Atypical Dimensions: voLUMINOUS Watercolors”. She explains, “My watercolors are not your typical small detailed 8x10 light, smooth paintings. I paint large rough gritty images of cities, landscapes, industrial sites that have texture and depth. The watercolors that I will show in the voLuminous Dimensions show are much larger than "grandma's watercolors".
“I paint from dark to light establishing the value composition before the color. I love this process because the painting seems to show mood and atmosphere before being cluttered by too much color. The subjects that I paint are from my photographs taken with strong luminous highlights and shadows. Old buildings, industrial areas, bridges, trains etc. are strong subjects that work well with this strong painting style.”
Besides her years as a theater professional in NYC, Charlsen has traveled to many countries taking thousands of photos. When she began her recent Train Series, she found dozens of train photos taken over the years. Long before she moved permanently to Asheville and the River Arts District to work, she had complied many photos of the district on visits. “Now some of my paintings are of buildings no longer in existence in the RAD. It is a historical record, besides being a collection of painting resources for me.
Where to go: The show runs from Feb 2 to April 2 with an opening reception Feb 3 from 1:30 to 4:30. (snow dates are Feb 10 or 16). An art talk and closing reception will be held March 29th, 2:00-6:30. 310 ART, Riverview Station ground floor N, 191 Lyman St, #310, Asheville, NC 28801. 310art.com. opened 7 days a week, Feb 12-4, March 11-5.