E. Charles Rolwing III — ARTIST

Charles Rolwing

E. Charles Rolwing III

Artist E. Charles Rolwing III in his own words —




The making of art is for me a journey of construction and destruction.  Each stroke comes out of my very soul, I paint with my heart on my sleeve. The most I can offer is to be honest to my emotions, to lay out that which makes me human.




My imagery comes from working in my sketchbooks.  That is where I work out the intellectual aspects, symbols and the problems of composition and color theory.  It is here that new ideas emerge.  I work an idea in dozens of studies before I begin a painting. Then, when I begin the painting I have a library of ideas and a basic idea of where to start. From that point the painting becomes an idea in itself.  It is a reaction to itself.  One stroke follows another, each a reaction to the previous stroke. Slowly the image begins to emerge.




Charles Rolwing

E. Charles Rolwing III

I am careful to allow the subconscious to breathe freely, to be open and honest to what is happening and to be in the moment. It is common for me to destroy the painting in the process. I wipe out, scrape, repaint, and over paint the image.  No painting in my studio is safe. The finished painting is that idea in itself, something to be experienced as a self-contained entity. The viewing of a painting physically changes the chemistry of the brain, and it lives with the viewer in memory.  It is the private language of the artist and the viewer.  We share that time together.





getPart-4I was born in Fairfield, CA in 1958, and grew up in Louisville, KY.  I am the son of an artist and grew up surrounded by art. My father worked in his downstairs studio painting and making sculptures.  On weekends, my parents would load up a U-Haul trailer with his work, bundle up us kids and travel to art fairs around the region.  It was a great education for a kid.   On rainy days, my mother would bring out a box of art supplies and paper, and we would sit around the dining room table and draw.




In high school I won a National Scolastic gold medal for a pencil drawing of a still life.  But it really wasn’t until my junior year in college that I realized that I wanted to be an artist. It was just a natural progression that led me in the direction of art.  In art I found a kind of solace.  It gave me an outlet for my emotions.  In 1978 I entered the University of Louisville and graduated in 1983 with a B.A. In fine art, with an emphasis in photography.  From there I entered Ohio University graduate program earning an MFAs in photography in 1985 and printmaking in 1986.




Upon graduation I moved to Chicago.  It was then, without access to a darkroom or press, I began to paint.  I work in most media including, oil on canvas, acrylic on paper, watercolor, mixed media, etching, woodcuts, and a variety of scale wooden sculpture.  I tend to move between media easily according to my mood.  The most gratifying aspect of art making is that many of my pieces are living in the homes of my collectors, that they have become part of the lives of others.  My work has too many influences to name but a few prominent are Jean-Michel Basquiat, Phillip Guston, Georg Baselitz, and Lucien Freud.

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion.  Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
Franz Kafka


Charles Rolwing

E. Charles Rolwing III





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