Artist Biography - Charles Bartlett
For many years Charles Bartlett has lived and worked in North Essex, although he was born in 1921 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Married for many years to fellow artist Olwen Jones Charles, he trained as a painter etcher at Eastbourne School of Art and went on to The Royal College of art. In 1960 he became a lecturer at Harrow School of Art, in 1961 he was elected Fellow of The Roya...l Society of Painter Printmakers and in 1970 elected Fellow of The Royal Watercolour Society. From 1987 to 1992 Charles was elected to the noted position of President of The Royal Watercolour Society.
He has enjoyed solo exhibitions in numerous prestigious galleries including Walker Gallery, London; Oldham Art Gallery; Bohun Gallery, Henley on Thames; Bankside Gallery, London (Retrospective); featured artist at The Royal Watercolour Society and many more. His work is also in numerous public collections including: - Victoria and Albert Museum; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Arts Council of Great Britain; National Gallery of South Australia and the list go on.
Charles Bartlett is one of Britain’s foremost talented watercolour artists and printmakers. This is no surprise as Charles Bartlett knew he wanted to be an artist from a very early age and hence has been painting for about 80 years. It is who he is and why he gets up in the morning and having known and studied with many of our most famous British artists, Charles has never been tempted to jump on the band wagon whilst various styles and artists have gone in and out of fashion.
Charles worked with black ink for many years, however in the 60s he became one of Britain’s innovators in colour etching. His work was particularly inspired by Stanley William Hayter’s use of block colours, series of printing plates and a variety of inks.
Charles would often face all weathers in order to captured the brilliant, ever-changing light reflected from the sea, and the dynamic motion of the tides. Always with a sketchbook to hand, he made numerous drawings and took observational notes, yet never painted on the spot.
When asked what is the inspiration for your paintings, he simply replies 'I love the light in East Anglia, the flat landscape and the estuaries which provides big skies and ever changing colours’. The mood of the sea and sky infiltrate all his paintings and create an amazing combination of colours.
However, it is his relentless passion and drive, which reflect in the freshness and boldness of his paintings, which make his work so appealing. As a sailor he has a profound respect for the sea and has learnt to understand its many forms over the years. Attracted to river estuaries, reed-beds and a certain light familiar to Essex and Suffolk coastlines, he captures its poetry rather than the literal with a sense of pleasure and awe of the elements heightened by wide-open spaces. Influenced by Nash, Sutherland, Sickert and Degas, this artist revels in the conflicts and harmonies of sea and land, the elements working with or against each other.