W. Charles Nowell Biography
Growing up in Groveland, Massachusetts, W. Charles Nowell showed an interest in drawing at an early age. His lessons with Robert Scott Jackson continued through his high school years, and it was Jackson’s influence that encouraged him to pursue a career as an artist.
After spending a brief semester at the School for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Nowell took up an apprenticeship with Boston School artist Paul Ingbretson. For four years, he pursued the kind of academic training that has been passed down from 19th-century French painters such as Edgar Degas and Jean-Leon Gerome. Following these studies, Nowell spent a summer with New Hampshire still life artist Sidney Willis, who taught Nowell a more contemporary outlook toward color and composition.
As a student, Nowell began entering shows and won several first and second place awards at the Greater Haverhill and Newburyport Art Associations. Soon after he won best in show and the Grumbacher award at the North Shore Art Association in Gloucester, and first place in the figure and portrait show at The Copley Society of Boston. Since then he has had numerous one-man shows and participated in several group shows.
In the years since then, Nowell’s work has changed and evolved. Although the traditional still-life subject matter of fruits and flowers continued to intrigue Nowell, he has sought out a way to create paintings that are more contemporary, exciting and fun. This quest has resulted in “oversize” paintings, wherein the subject matter is painted much larger than life.
All of Nowell’s still life work is done directly from life and he spends a considerable amount of time working on his set-ups to get them just right before even touching the canvas. “I think of my work as idealized realism,” Nowell says. “My paintings are a careful balance between what I see in nature and what I choose to bring to them from my own aesthetic sensibilities.”