TALENT — Two artists in their 90s will show original works at the Bell House Gallery this weekend.
Will Carr, 91, of Ashland, and Charu Colorado, 97, of Talent, have worked in art most of their lives.
“I want other 91-year-old people to get involved in art,” said Carr. Many of Carr’s works have overtones of impressionism, and he often features cityscapes. Two of those, “Summer Over Siena” and “Babylon,” will be displayed in the show.
“It seems to me everyone, even animals, we are all being seduced by beauty in the world,” said Carr. “I’ve always fiddled around with color. I never thought I was a great artist.”
As a child, Carr recalls becoming immersed in painting he saw in books. He took all the art classes he could in high school and college, then was an art director for an ad agency in New York City. He later spent time in France.
“I was too immersed in the beauty of the city (to do art),” Carr said of his time in Paris in the 1950s after he left the agency. He then took six months to drive around the Mediterranean in a Renault, dealing with multiple border crossing and ill-defined routes while stopping to do watercolors. Over the years, he’s sold all the watercolors from the trip, which is recounted in his just-republished book, “Crossing the Borders.”
“A lot of my paintings are reflections in my mind based on that trip,” said Carr. One of those, “Blue and Gold Sunset," will be displayed and was inspired by Istanbul.
Returning to the U.S., Carr was an advertising director in New York and California. He later earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance and worked for nearly a decade in that role at a Marin County, California, high school, another time in which he did not do art.
Relocating to California’s North Coast, he resumed art at Sea Ranch in 1981 where he offered weekend seminars in ceramics, another medium he has pursued. He relocated to Ashland in 1989, ran a bed-and-breakfast for a while and continues to pursue art.
“Artists shouldn’t have to deal with a mess, but we do. We get paint all over our hair and our clothes,” said Carr as he stood in his cluttered studio garage.
Colorado will have larger paintings, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s, on display and will also show sketches from that period that she has incorporated into her latest project, a book of poetry she composed using refrigerator-magnet words.
“It’s representing a time in my life when I’m not doing things for commercial reasons,” said Colorado. It also expressing her political awareness at a time of major change, she said.
Colorado had her first solo exhibition in California at the age of 21. She’s had other solo shows in California and Oregon, and one of her paintings was recently in a Los Angeles County Art Museum show.
Three paintings from her Oz/Creation series will be displayed in the Bell House Gallery, 104 Market St., through Sunday. The series weaves together fantasy and storytelling with things from everyday life, such as relationships, politics and space travel, she said.
“I thought that (the series) would be good. I kept the three pieces as a record of that experience,” said Colorado. She’s also worked in sculpture and mixed media.
“My work as an artist is to bring people’s attention to what they have forgotten or they are not noticing,” said Colorado. “The basis of my work has always been human interest.”
Also on display will be abstracts by Peter Van Fleet, photographs by Colton Allen and abstract paintings by Jennifer Bakker. Show hours are 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Bell House Gallery typically hosts four shows per year and is owned by Van Fleet and his wife, Anita.
— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org