Byline: Joan Broz
"What I am trying to do, in my own way, is wake up a patriotic spirit in people to realize that this is a great country," said Darien artist Charles E. Wright. "People gave up a lot to have what we have, and I want my work to make people understand and feel that."
Appropriate for Memorial Day weekend, Wright's work will be showcased the next four Saturdays at the Lisle Savings Bank, 1450 Maple Ave. Wright will be on hand to do quick sketch portraits of patrons for $10.
"People are always amazed at how fast I can draw," Wright said.
His powerful sense of line reflects his passion for fine pencil drawing.
"I am very strong with what I do with line work," Wright said. "I give art demonstrations of pen and ink drawing and have people shout out whatever they want me to draw for them. I've had the strangest requests, and four minutes later I have it done."
A graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Wright is an accomplished painter of American Indians and Civil War historical compositions. Active in the West Suburban Fine Arts Alliance Art Registry and the Downer's Grove Artist Guild, Wright is an avid reader of American history and researches details to make his compositions historically accurate.
For his award-winning artwork, Wright begins his research at the library. He first creates a detailed pencil sketch to establish the composition, then follows with the actual painting.
One meticulous sketch Wright completed as a painting depicts the April 11, 1865, meeting of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. The men met astride horses on a battlefield.
"I want to portray and convey the strength of these people," Wright said.
Wright considers himself a storyteller who wants people to look deep into the compositions and become involved in the subject matter.
"I most enjoy the exhilaration of an idea completed on paper or canvas, where others can share the content of my creation," he said. "I want people to be part of my story."
Six paintings will be on exhibit at the bank as well as numerous prints. One large composition, "Winter Mosaic," poses leafless trees against a blanket of fresh snow forming sentry duty for a group of horses and weary riders that weave across the composition. The 30-by-48-inch painting is oil on canvas.
Another painting, "Home from the Hunt," depicts a group of Indians on a ridge returning to their village. Strong angular lines form several teepees in the foreground against the glow of a setting sun. …