Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Cedar Waxwing" by Russell Gordon

"Cedar Waxwing" by Russell Gordon

"The painting "Cedar Waxwing" began when a flock of these beautiful birds visited one afternoon in the crabapple tree outside my studio door. About a dozen or so flew in and stayed nearly an hour, perching, resting and eating the bittersweet berries that are still on the vine that winds through the tree even through November. They stayed so long that I was able to really observe them complete w/ quick sketches in solitary poses and preliminary small groupings and even make notes on how they interacted for later reference. I began the painting at once in about mid November and actually brought the limb of crabapple into the studio complete with it's last golden leave and a few red berries. Whenever possible, painting from life is the best way to go for true realism. The bird progressed pretty quickly although I made a few changes along the way, slightly opening the beak and adding a small inchworm which I think adds a hint of whimsy and alludes symbolically to the cycle of seasons and growth that is boundlessly inspiring to me. The painting finished with about a month's work and I am pleased with the result. I am so fortunate to not only see these small wonders of nature on a regular basis but also to then include them in my paintings. I look forward to another visit from these and other of nature's humble wonders." ~ Russell Gordon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Lotto Icons" - Earl Lewis

first sketch from the series

Lotto Icons ~ Earl B. Lewis

Layers of meaning and materials illuminate E.B. Lewis’s latest body of work; a series of evocative small paintings that signal an evolutionary leap for this established artist. Titled “Lotto Icons,” they stem from mundane trips to a convenience store, where the artist routinely watched adults scratch and discard lottery tickets.

This disturbed him on many counts, not least of all because those living below the poverty line spend a disproportionate amount on lottery tickets; particularly the scratch-off kind. And research further reveals that desperation and feelings of powerlessness motivate this spending. Bearing the brunt of these sad facts are the children; children whose parents cling to the hope that their next ticket, despite massive odds, will deliver them from poverty even as it exacerbates it.

Contrast and parallel references also characterize this collection. Some begin with an actual intact scratch-off lottery ticket, on which the artist paints a portrait of a child. He then applies genuine gold-leaf over the image, referencing gold’s exalted status and the pipedream of instantly striking it rich. Then he scratches it off. The children’s faces emerge while remaining partially hidden; inviting questions about their potential, the odds they face, and their perceived value in a money-centric world. But, like the untapped tickets beneath them, their outcomes remain unknown.

Shrouded as they are in gold or silver and sensitively painted, these images immediately evoke traditional medieval icons. Given the nature of icons, this contrasting context adds profound bite to the artist’s indictment. Icons have essential requirements and enormous spiritual significance. To the faithful they are not mere works of art. They both personify and actually contain the presence of the invisible. As such they are venerated as sacred instruments of the divine.

By replacing the traditional pantheon of revered saints with the faces of disadvantaged children, the artist invites us to contemplate their status and our response to them. But, apart from the conceptual framework informing this collection, these paintings remain true to the artist’s devotion to aestheticism. If they are simply beautiful, that should be enough.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Karen Larson Turner "La Nuit" & Painting in the Park

The CFADA Fine Art Annual Weekend has been an exciting occasion for the past eleven years, and this year will be no different. We are pleased to celebrate the past ten years of Karen Larson Turner painting for the Wells Gallery with her opening reception "La Nuit"  Friday October 6th from 5:30 - 8:30. It is a diverse exhibition of both natural marshscapes and quiet Charleston evenings. In the paintings of downtown Charleston, she also explores the warm glow cast from streetlights and from within homes.

Saturday Morning, Karen will be doing a live painting in Washington Park, and afterwards signing this year's CFADA Fine Art Annual poster that features her painting "Early Evening Ride". This event is free to the public and is a great opportunity to watch artists paint live,  chasing the quickly changing light of day. We hope you can join us in Washington Park Saturday November 6th from 9 a.m. - noon to watch as Karen Larson Turner, Rick Reinert, Laurie Meyer and Kevin Leprince  bring their works to life.

The “La Nuit” exhibit will coincide with the CFADA Fine Art Annual, featuring several gallery openings, lectures, plein air paintings by Charleston most distinguished artists and an auctions of works on Saturday evening. To find out more about the events through the week, visit If you would like more details of works available at the art auctions, visit, or call us at (843) 853.3233 to request a catalog of works.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

CFADA Fine Art Annual poster

The CFADA Fine Art Annual posters are in and they look wonderful with an image painted by Karen Larson Turner on them. The posters are $40 and shipping is an additional $10. Click here to see them on our website.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Congrats to Mark Bailey - 2nd place in Boldbrush competition!!!

"Pike" by Mark Bailey took second place in the Boldbrush competition!
For more details about the painting here in the gallery, click here.

To learn more about the Boldbrush competition, here is a link.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thank You John Michiels

The Wells Gallery would like to say a huge THANK YOU to John Michiels, our beloved photographer, for his incredible architectural photography of the gallery. Without his photography talent, our Fall 2010 Catalogs would not look as great as they do. Here is a sample of the photos he captured.

The Wells Gallery in Historic Charleston

Our beloved glass floor showing off the original cistern

The Wells Gallery on Kiawah Island

To see more of John Michiels works, you can visit

Thursday, October 7, 2010

John Michiels - Carolina's Got Art

We would like to say a big congratulations to our photographer John Michiels.

His photograph "St. Philips 3:37" was chosen for Carolina's Got Art which opened in Charlotte last week drawing over 1,000 visitors. Of the 1,800+ entries, only 181 were selected as representing outstanding quality.

St. Philips at 3:37" by John Michiels

Also, his photograph "Drayton Hall #20" was selected for the Salon de Refuses show
"Drayton Hall #20" by John Michiels

To see more or John Michiels works, you can visit our website

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ambiguity and Insinuation - Wendy Whitson

For the upcoming show "Elements & Atmosphere", Wendy Whitson has been treating us with samples of her work that will soon come down to Charleston from her studio in Asheville. Incorporating a muted, earthy, often, tonalist palette, Wendy's paintings bring a new edge to the Wells Gallery offering, and exemplifies why collectors have warmly embraced her work.

She says "Ambiguity and insinuation, the point of intersection where the earth meets the sky, the mountains become the sky, water ends and sky begins, is extremely intriguing and satisfying to paint."

"I want my paintings to draw the viewer in - to have them feel that they are present in, or want to enter into, the painted space", says Whitson.

Wendy begins each painting with a random grid to hint at the structure she sees in all of nature. " I have always been interested in how thing fit and work together," say Whitson. "The random grid I use in my underpaintings, is symbolic to me of the backdrop of nature, of how things are interrelated, organized and structured." Check out Wendy Whitson's biography or more of her works at our Kiawah Gallery .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Artists Helping Artists" Symphony Auction

What I love about Charleston is how willing the locals are to take their god-given talents and put them to good use by giving back to the community. The generosity in this city is what seems to get everyone through the hard times. The people of Charleston know that if they give when they can, one day, if they are in need, the favor will be returned. This is just a small thank you to three of our artists who are doing just that. Kevin LePrince, Laurie Meyer and Rick Reinert have donated a few of their wonderful paintings to help the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. The painting will be going into an auction to raise money to keep the Symphony alive and well. We encourage you to join this effort by attending the auction on October 9th at the Charleston Place Hotel. For more details, go to Charleston Symphony Auction 2010 . The Wells Gallery would like to say thank you to our artists, you make it an honor to have you as part of the family.

For a preview of the works by our artists going up for auction, here is a little sneak peak.

"In Concert" by Kevin LePrince 24(h) x 72(w)

"A Little Night Music" by Laurie Meyer

"February Sunlight" by Rick Reinert

Friday, August 20, 2010

Unpredictability & Adventure

When I was in the process of selecting images and themes in order to create a cohesive body of work for this years show, I naturally felt that Charleston and its surrounding area, with a wonderful contrast of both history and modernity, would serve as a great subject. With this as my main theme, I was able to step out of my role as a still-life painter and venture into painting exterior scenes as well as portraits. “Dry Dock” set the tempo of the show for me. It was not only the first piece for the show, but also spoke specifically of the Lowcountry landscape and its culture.
I hope to convey to my audience that my artwork does not only speak directly of the subjects I paint but the day-to-day experiences I have. I often find painting to be like shopping. You go to the store to pick up a shirt and you ending coming back home with a pair of pants and a jacket, sometimes even forgetting what you originally set out for. The unpredictability of the final outcome adds to the adventure. My hope is that those who view my work witnesses this journey in every painting I do. ~ Evan Harrington

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mark Bailey on upcoming show "DUO"

"Flight" by Mark Bailey

"Pike" by Mark Bailey

I was out at the beach one evening a couple months ago and I witnessed what had to be one of the most amazing sunsets ever, one like none I had seen before. Something about it deeply affected me, I realized that I will never see THAT sunset again, and in fact every moment and experience is just as rare and fleeting, moving slices of time. We are always in motion, moving forward, moments and the memories constantly passing us by. I am trying to find a way to capture these moments. Not just to record a still image or take a "snapshot", but I have been trying to give my images more motion and energy, with the realization or idea that this scene is passing, and will never re-occur. I am relying more on the memory and feeling of that time rather than trying to accurately convey it as I saw it. It can be the bustle of people within a setting, the sound of music coming from a group of musicians, the crisp air in a winter scene, or water rolling up onto the sand. I have struggled throughout my life to remain in the moment, which means I consciously have to make an effort to take in what is happening at the time. I have tried my best lately to focus on today, to enjoy what I have right now, and attempt to capture the memory, emotion, movement, and energy, as I am here. I strive to take those moving slices of time and create a painting that will more accurately convey the emotion and feeling of that moment or memory. ~ Mark Bailey

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Junko Ono Rothwell Visiting Artist

The Wells Gallery is proud to bring you the innovative and powerful
works of visiting artist Junko Ono Rothwell.

Junko Ono Rothwell received her art degree from Okayama University in Japan, and soon after came to the United States and attended art classes at Cornell University. Rothwell’s cultural heritage can be seen in her use of space and shape – which echoes Eastern art, yet her color palette is strongly influenced by her American art experience. She uses bold bright colors in contrast to the more delicate tones often associated with Asian art. “When I was an art student in Japan, I used darker colors. But after I moved to the U.S., I often went to museums where I learned to use brighter colors.” Rothwell uses color to bring out the mood, movement, and energy of her works. “I do not block each color, but try to flow colors over the entire paper to create the feeling of movement. Color brings each painting to life.” The pieces Rothwell created for the Wells Gallery are brought to life by this color interplay. These works include images of Charleston as well as Kiawah marsh landscapes. Rothwell is a master at capturing changing color and light as she paints en plein air. “I am always impressed at how the sun lights up the marsh and changes its colors and moods at different times of day and during different seasons of the year. Weather patterns also dramatically change the look of a marsh. In summer, I always love to paint big white clouds floating over the distant marsh. And in November, the marsh glows with a lovely yellow-orange cast.” It is for a marsh scene that Rothwell is best known on Kiawah – a large colorful marsh owned by the Sanctuary Resort brightens their east wing and draws in locals and visitors alike.

The Sanctuary is not the only fortunate holder of Rothwell’s work. Her works have been purchased by the State of Georgia and many corporations including the Southern Company, Continental Telephone, Kaiser Permanente, Prime Bank, Nations Bank, George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and the Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Blueprints" by Russell Gordon

"Blueprints" by Russell Gordon began as a traditional tabletop still life, but evolved into a painting with visual dimension as well as depth of meaning.

"The actual blueprints I used as a prop are the ones we had drawn up by and architect when our studio was built in 2000. I tried to make the painting an homage to the arts, primarily with the palette and brushes but also to music (the treble clef formed by the string near the shell) and poetry literature (books). The blue bird (an Indigo Bunting) was a late addition but I felt gave the painting some life and snap. The snail finds his way into a lot of my work as a nod to the time it takes to work this way, so slowly. The mortar and pestle and the bottle are old apothecary tools but I use them to grind paint and of course as pictured to hold paint, watercolor style. I sort of bound the whole composition in a string to unify it but also left the viewer a pair of scissors to cut where they want." ~ Russell Gordon

What the viewer gets is a masterpiece that prompts discussion both for its underlying meaning but also the impeccable details only achieved through a combination of the marojer medium used by Gordon and his incredible skill.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Palette & Palate Stroll 2010

Before every show, there is this sense of anticipation and excitement to share the new works with our beloved collectors and fans. This year's Palette & Palate Stroll is no exception since we will be having so many things going on in the gallery beside just the amazing selection of food. First of all, we get to host Charleston Grill again, and they never disappoint. Also, Felice Killian of Felice Designs will be bringing her behind-the-scenes studio work to our gallery so you will get to see her create her murano glass beads using the lampwork process live at the event. Rick Reinert will be our artist on hand to do a live painting and discuss his works. Also, since the whole reason behind the CFADA Palette & Palate event is to increase funding for the Charleston visual arts education programs, we will host Hans Turner, an incredibly talented local 18-year-old artist. We will be exhibiting his Prismacolor drawings exclusively during the event. Any sales of his works from the evening will help fund his education at the Art Institute of Charleston.

Tickets sell out every year, so we will repeat ourselves, definitely buy your tickets early. To purchase tickets for the event, go to

necklace by Felice Designs

"The Colors of Rain" by Rick Reinert

"History in Repose" by Hans Turner