Chuck Bauer

My works are usually executed on site, en plein air ("in the open air"), during one or two painting sessions. I find there is no substitute for direct response to the natural world because photographs are weak, and memory is weaker. My subjects are often mere excuses to use color expressively, or to work out compositional themes that engage my interest. At the same time no one interested in the details of perception could be immune to the beauty of this part of the Midwest, so any emotional content one might sense in this work is in no way unintended. Simply think of these paintings as "Boxes of Imaginative Air."
Most of my paintings are of modest size because I paint wherever I go, and am rarely without painting supplies. I carry them on foot, in a canoe, on my bike, on subways, in airplanes, on trains, busses, cars, trucks, golf carts, boats, and ships. Motorcycle might be next, and horseback even sounds good! Maybe even a rocket ship someday.
Painting en plein air offers special pleasures and special challenges. Shifting light, blowing wind, expanded time, serene stillness, chill dampness, falling snow, blazing sunshine, puzzled wildlife, and hungry insects are some of them. Most are surprising. Many are wonderful. Few are daunting. All are stimulating.


I am drawn to subjects with a domestic or a natural theme, and use conventional approaches that convey nostalgia and tranquility. Not afraid of color, or experimentation, however, my early training as an abstract painter still fuels a current approach to realistic topics; I seek solid composition, but also playful and perhaps sometimes unexpected results. In painting, I believe, you have to balance your thinking: employing not too much or too little; thus, seeking to keep both the painter, and the viewer, intrigued, excited, entertained.