[EDIT: May 19th, 2011 – I have been informed by Charles Shridde’s assistant Carol Legg that Charles passed away on May 15th, 2011. I was a fan of his work and appreciated his style and his skills. He will be missed. jmm]
These days the movies are so dependent on CGI special effects that in many cases, actors perform against a solid background. This is like acting in front of a wall. However by the time the Computers have done their work, and techies have done their work, and the producer, director, and film editor have done their thing, what we then see onscreen in the cinema halls is seemless, beautiful in scope and presentation, and some of the time, totally unreal.
But when it comes to reality, nothing beats paint on a canvas. And it doesn’t get any better than the works of Charles Schridde.
I believe that the last realm, of pure art, is created by a person with a brush, a collection of either water based or oil paints, and a canvas, or paper. Art drawn by humans and their lengthy lists of ancestors goes back a long, long time. Yes – even cavemen were drawing and painting.
Our subject today doesn’t go back that far. However, he’s no johnny-come-lately. If you’re reading this and you were not old enough (or even alive) in the late 50’s and 60’s to be able to buy a car, a television, or other home appliances for yourself, it is quite likely that your parents were influenced by artist Charles Schridde.
His illustrations for ads for Chrysler automobiles and Motorola TV’s ran in all the best magazines of the times like The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, and Colliers. Charles was at the cutting edge of commercial art in those days, and these ads still can attract the eyes, even 50 years later. In later years, Charles started doing photo ads for the automobile manufacturers and he excelled in that as well.
Have a look at these two photos. The first is of John DeLorean and the DeLorean automobile that he designed. The second is of actor Robert Redford posing with a Chevrolet truck. Both are photos snapped by Charles.
Charles Schridde was born in Chicago in 1926. He studied art in various schools and ultimately caught the attention of both Madison Avenue and the Detroit car-makers. But he will be the first to tell you that when he was a kid, cowboys were his heroes.
So we are not surprised that Charles Schridde has returned to what he loved as a kid. His paintings bring alive the action of the rodeo, and are his current specialty.
But Charles has not forgotten, the trappers, hunters, cattlemen, along with the plainsmen and Indians of the older west. His preferences are the cowboys and Indians of today.
Charles has said:
“I paint. I love to paint. I get caught up in the moment and paint what I feel about a place. The smells. The light. The excitement I feel. I realize I must put the paint on quickly or the moment will be lost, so I paint and think paint. I’m wound up like a dancer that must match the music. I must match the light, the color. I’m trying to catch the mood. I get excited. I paint without thinking. Instinctually. I’m exhausted when finished.”
Charles also excels in Western Impressionism. When you look closely at this work of Wild Horses Running you can feel the energy and perceive the motion.
Or this one called Dusty Trails which falls clearly into the Impressionist style.
And in this work called Indian Watering Horse, you can sense that all we’d be hearing of this was a live scene would be the sounds of birds and insects.
I ‘m intrigued by his frontiersmen. The paintings are rich in colors, and his subjects walk purposefully and with confidence.
Charles Schridde is a supreme artist, and his subjects are both timeless and current. His paintings are an eloquent presentation of the Wild West of yesterday and the West of today.