It all starts with a thin, gray line of graphite from the tip of his pencil. That line transforms into a house. A bustling city street. A pool party. A traffic-jammed interstate. A young boy wrestling with a fish on his line. A snow day.
The artist fills in the shapes with bold colors that pop and bring the scene to life. Each painting is a snapshot of a beautiful moment from the life of 85-year-old folk artist.
The Harbin Clinic Gallery at Makervillage announces its third exhibit, “A Painted Life” featuring the works of folk artist Charles Wimpee.
The gallery will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon starting July 13 through August 24. Additionally, on July 20 from 10 a.m. to noon, the public is invited to come view Wimpee’s art during an event and have coffee and conversations with the artist.
Wimpee has been living at The Gardens of Rome for six years. Renee Bowen, the business office manager of the center, recently saw his art stacked on a table in the common area with a note that said “Free. Take one.”
Bowen fell in love with his colorful imagery of country life and took a painting.
“The next day I came in and there were more paintings on the table,” Bowen said. “I took another. Each day, the art continued to stack up. I began trying to find homes for Mr. Wimpee’s work.”
Bowen reached out to the Paradise Garden Foundation in Summerville when they were preparing for Finster Fest. After viewing the art, Operations Director Cameron Cook said Paradise Garden would be thrilled to have Wimpee’s art at the festival.
Russell Cook, an associate professor of art at Georgia Highlands College and board member of the Paradise Garden Foundation said Wimpee’s art falls into a class of Memory Painting.
His days are filled with the happy colors of his past. He views his work with a sweet and honest simplicity.
“Most of everything I draw is just a memory,” he said with a chuckle. “I like painting and drawing because it’s a good pastime, and it makes me feel real good when someone likes it.”
“He paints memories from the past, from his childhood and adulthood,” says Cook. “His work is very pure. He seems to do it for himself and not for commercial gain, and I think that is what really makes it stand out. He paints in a way that’s very colorful and illustrative in a nice, graphic style. It’s very playful and along the lines of the work of Grandma Moses.”
His artwork and his love for his creative craft fit with the mission of the Harbin Clinic Gallery.
“The Harbin Clinic Gallery highlights the connection between art and health,” said Harbin Clinic CEO Kenna Stock. “The fact that Mr. Wimpee is not only a recognized folk artist, but also continues to paint later in his life is a testament to the benefits of art and being creative. We are very pleased to host his work in our gallery.”