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The art of Art

Extraordinary talents know no bounds

Saltair’s Art Carlyle is an extraordinary artist.

Known more for his incredible photography skills, Carlyle showcased another side of his talents at Rainforest Arts on Willow Street in Chemainus Saturday afternoon.

His artwork was on display and how he reaches the final product doing charcoal portraits of a few willing subjects during his demonstration and meet-and-greet session About Face: a study of moods, personalities. Carlyle’s work remains on display at Rainforest Arts until Sept. 29 as the featured artist for August and September and he even tackled a portrait of Courier editor Don Bodger with considerable success.

About Face is a twist of a phrase that refers to a change in direction and it’s also to do with the human visage.

A professional photographer for many years, Carlyle has a background in painting but put down his brushes in his early 20s, and didn’t pick them up again until he moved to Saltair in 2011. For him, the crossover between the two representational disciplines seems natural. “There’s so much that applies to both: the compositions, and looking at light,” he said.

On the other hand, they are very different pursuits.

Composition, for example, is a given in photography; it’s something you can create with paints. “In photography you are restricted to what’s there, so you have to find the composition,” Carlyle explained. “In painting you really don’t. All you have to find is something you like and then alter it to make it in balance.

“I’m getting better at that. In a painting, you can take something and just move it. I’m not a slave to the photograph.”

Carlyle doesn’t feel constrained by the quest for photo realism in painted portraits. “I don’t have the patience to do a fine, thin oil painting. I want to get the essence of the subject in as few strokes as possible. If I wanted detail, I would take a picture,” he said.

– with a file from

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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