Speaking with Your Brush: Telling the Landscape’s Story! Chris Cart

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 “There is something very fresh, very honest about painting directly from life.”
goldfinch-and-flagpolecart beside-the-roadChris likes to say, “We paint to tell stories.”  A professional illustrator and successful mural painter for over 30 years, Chris has been telling stories with paint for decades.  “Without a story, quiet or robust, a painting runs the risk of just being a very pretty scarf…pretty color but with no lasting effect.” The story can be anything: from the quiet of old shells bleaching in the sun…to the thrill of a tops’l schooner breaking out of wall of fog.  But the story you choose will be the guiding force for all your decisions for your painting.  Chris will talk about composition, color balance, and weight, where to use good form and where to throw caution to the winds….and he will pass on to you his professional illustration tricks that add punch and drama to a painting. Masterful at oils, egg tempera, and acrylics, watercolor is Chris’s first painting medium, bringing him much success before he moved on to oils and egg tempera;  the watercolor brush is natural in his hand.  

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cart brotherscart sea-rosesIt was always hard to get space in a Cart class; they filled immediately! Then ten years ago, Chris stopped teaching to focus on his own work doing a series of large civic murals inside and outside of public buildings. CMAW’s Director finally convinced  him to step out of the studio and again share his knowledge of painting. Chris brings you great skill, technique and a solid background as an instructor! 

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 cart hauling-off-Salter-Islandsunrise-over-pophamWatercolor is perhaps the most flexible and the most challenging of painting mediums. Chris will emphasize the use of water in the mix; this is the key to controlling everything! Watercolor has a mind of its own. However, he believes if you pay attention to the water, you can get this playful paint to play where and when you want.  Creating the best form and texture comes down to how wet the brush and paper are. Understand that chemistry and you can tap the full range of watercolor.  Chris will emphasize the importance of doing studies before you jump into your masterpiece. Preliminary drawings noting the interactions between darks and lights, are invaluable tools for creating powerful paintings. “If you break down the painting process into proper planning, when you get to the actual watercolor you can paint with great freedom letting watercolor sing, because major problems are already solved.” Chris will walk you thru the process, with demos, individual help and group critiques!
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“Painting is a paradox…while we work the painting has to be the most important thing on earth…and yet we also have to be willing to jump with both feet and change it, scrape it, shift it, trash it if need be, to make the best of our art.”

cart 12002200_10153639323164371_7028192761079103587_nIn February 2015 Christopher Cart completed his large 14 x 40 foot mural, Kennebec, commissioned for the lobby of the new Capital Judicial Center, in Maine’s capital city.  The mural tells the story of the people of the Kennebec River with over 50 figures from 500 years of living and working on the river. Cart is a figurative painter working in oils and watercolors.  A native Mainer he also spent 7 years in Guadalajara, Mexico and many years in Seattle, Washington.  Returning to Maine in the 90’s, he now lives with his wife, painter Jen Cart, in Hallowell, Maine where they raised their two children. 

In May 2015 Cart completed his 6th mural in recent years, called the Quarry showing an old working granite quarry from the 19th century.  Also, a large oil painting entitled, “No, I’m fine.” was accepted in the Harlow Gallery exhibit, Transforming Violence, against domestic abuse . In 2014 an oil painting was juried into the exhibit, “Katahdin”, curated by authors Carl and David Little.  Cart’s watercolor, “Sunday Walk” was also featured in “The Art of Maine in Winter,” by Carl Little and art critic Arnold Skolnik, a book featuring many of Maine’s artists both old and contemporary.

In 2008 Cart completed a 8 x 32 foot mural for the Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Association.  The mural, entitled “A Dance of Two Cultures”, is a celebration of the cultural exchange between Brunswick, Maine and Trinidad, Cuba. Another recent major work is a 40 by 6 foot mural, a composition of color and movement with 22 almost life-sized dance figures showing strength in human form. 

Throughout his career he has painted other murals, countless watercolors and oils, portraits in both oils and watercolors and illustrations for many books and periodicals. Christopher Cart studied art and art history at the University of Washington, Seattle and Coker College, South Carolina.  After leaving school he began selling his paintings and sculptures at several galleries in the Seattle area.  Now he is represented by galleries in his native New England region. From the late 80’s and into the 90’s Christopher Cart illustrated six of the best selling Frugal Gourmet cookbooks and since that time he has created art for many other books and hundreds of illustrations for publications. 

Most recently his work has been published as book covers for many classics of American literature, including Lydia Bailey and Northwest Passage.  He is now working on a fully illustrated edition of one of his personal favorites, Moby Dick by Melville.

Cart received the official commission for the portrait of Maine Chief Justice Daniel Wathen which was unveiled at a ceremony in the Superior Court in the State Capital in the spring of 2001.

In 2005 Cart was invited to contribute a portrait for the Portraits of Conscience exhibit sponsored by Amnesty International.  This portrait was also part of a traveling exhibit. Two paintings, a watercolor and an oil, were included in the Contemporary Realism Exhibit at the Centre for the Living Arts in Mobile, Alabama and the Venezuelan Consulate on 5th Avenue, New York City hosted the Representing Reality exhibit which included three lyrical oil portraits from Cart’s series of young musicians.

Some General Class Information:

  • Most classes will be limited to a maximum of 16 to allow for optimal individual attention; do make sure your instructor knows where you have set up, and try to stay close to the demo area. Less running around for them, more time for feedback to you!
  • We will process your payment after we get your online Registration and will email you a receipt.
  • You will get a Supply List and more detailed info when you Register, and again about a month before the class. The first day, the Studio will open early…we will make sure you know the time!
  • If you will need mediums or other supplies/equipment, let me know and I will have them here for you to buy in class. You are also welcome to ship things ahead. Ask for address!
  • Classes usually run M-F, between 8:30-4:30, but the exact hours are at the Instructor’s discretion…never fewer than 6 total/day, but sometimes we start earlier or end later…or both!
  • We eat dinner (Dutch) somewhere as a group at least once, usually Monday nite for starters; friends, companions, hosts are welcome to come along.
  • We always have a lunch break, to use or not, it’s up to you…and a lunch plan depending on where we are painting.
  • The plan for the day is weather-dependent and usually decided at the end of the previous day if possible, or each morning!
  • Our Studio is large with good light; you’ll have your own table space and you are welcome to leave equipment etc. there for the duration of the class. It is possible to paint after hours, we’ll explain the logistics!
  • There is ample free parking at the Studio, which is within easy walking distance of downtown.
  • We carpool (or sometimes walk) to painting sites, most of which have shade and at the least, a porta potty or nearby facilities. You will get good directions and we often caravan. Please do NOT depend on your GPS unless we give the Go Ahead…It is often wrong!
  • Each class has an experienced Monitor who is your Go-To person for any problems or needs…we all will do our absolute best to see that you have a great class experience!
  • Downtown has great galleries, shops and food and the area is full of wonderful places to paint!
  • For Lodging and Travel info, click on the buttons on the Home Page.
  • Cancelation and Refund info is at the bottom of the online Registration Form…(please do read the Policies before you check that you have!)
  • And be sure to contact us with any questions. Thanks!