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Charles Townshend

There are some advantages in looking at art for sixty years before before starting to paint more or less full time, which, in my case, I've been doing since 2002, the year of my first solo show. Previous to this, for 25 years, my work did involve some designing, but it was production oriented work, not fine art. However, over the years, museums and galleries were always in the forefront whenever my wife and I travelled, so the seeds of what I liked were already planted when I started. I knew I liked landscape and that's what I paint. I knew I didn't have to be in a hurry or lose sleep over what my mid career work was going to look like. I know my next piece won't be a city block long installation comprised of 23 million small foam balls, but I also know that I might respond to something like that if I saw it. I felt like I had the advantage of a lot of hands off experience. 

   My approach to a painting today involves sketching and photographing, and then moving away from the reality of the scene and focusing on the emotion, atmosphere, and energy of it. I like letting a painting go somewhere and develop its own direction without me controlling it with a set of rules; a successful painting, for me, has an energy that the painting dictates. I prefer this energy to be subtle, which may be why some people have told me that my paintings evoke a sense of serentity. I credit this approach partially to Paul Aschenbach, a sculptor I studied with at the University of Vermont. I find his abstract forms powerful and spontaneous; he put the same energy into his art that he put into his teachings. Often when a painting is about at the halfway point, I'll go in and deconstruct certain areas and then overpaint in an effort to renew the energy and keep the painting fresh. Each painting presents a new challenge, and I would not paint if challenges were not part of the process.

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