FEATURED ARTIST: January 2021 C. Arthur Croyle ARTIST’S STATEMENT Just before retirement, I envisioned some figure drawing, a bit of plein air watercolor, some sketching. That was a little over six years ago. I had spent my entire adult lifetime in the art and design fields, mainly teaching at the university level, but creatively active too. There was nothing I felt I had to prove, it was time to wind down...smell the roses. I had seriously miscalculated my need to be creatively and organizationally involved. Not satisfied to sit on the sidelines or make observational sketches, my creative activity escalated. I wanted to make visual statements, primarily of life, here in Northeast Ohio. It all resonated with me. I grew up in Akron, but moved away and spent over 35 years living, working, and raising a family elsewhere. When I returned, I apparently really returned. My soul and creative spirit tapped into what I knew and felt from my earliest formative years, Akron and Northeast Ohio. I just had to come to grips with it all through my art. So, apparently another chapter begins instead of an epilog. “How joining a visual arts group has helped you as an artist” I moved back to Northeast Ohio to retire after teaching art and design at the college level for 37 years. This was where I grew up though, and I returned home. I wanted to connect to the art scene and joined a number of arts groups immediately. CVAC and Akron Society of Artists became my main connections to the art community, then later I became a member of Group Ten Gallery. I live in Cuyahoga Falls and CVAC is within walking distance. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed entering their exhibitions and stopping by frequently to see what was being displayed. I know a number of the students and teachers there, and enjoyed sharing stories and seeing what they were creating. There are some very accomplished teachers at CVAC, so I was particularly interested in seeing what they displayed from time to time. In addition, I got to know the Director, Danielle Dieterich, and she became a font of information and good ideas. This was indeed a fortuitous situation, right in the middle of my new hometown. The Akron Society of Artists has played a large part in my development and involvement here as well. Their critiques became indispensable for me in refining pieces I was creating and I heeded so much good advice from a wide range of their members. “The most challenging drawing/painting you have ever attempted, and why it was so” Very recently, I completed a painting of a Great Lakes ship, a 1940’s old style Laker. We were in the Cleveland flats on a clear early fall morning when the ship “Cuyahoga” was slipping out the Cuyahoga river into Lake Erie. I took dozens of photos. This was perfect! The dramatic and huge industrial era bridges framed the battered, rusted, yet elegant hull of the ship. The picture was going to paint itself. It did not! When I printed and reviewed my material at home before starting the painting, a composition just would not come together. I cut and pasted images, sketched, reworked...it just did not work. I put the material aside and just worked on our deck. After a couple of weeks away, when I returned, I reversed the background on one of the compositions and I was in business. I painted it at the Akron Society of Artists studio. A very useful critique by Judy Gaiser, had me changing values and adding much needed darks in critical areas. So, the piece, that was going to “paint itself” became an unexpected struggle, but in the end worth the effort.
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