Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Charles Sovek began painting in 1956 when he began a ten year stint of art education. He attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and continued his studies as a four-year scholarship student at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. He also studied for three years at the Art Students League. He wrote four books: Painting Indoors, Catching Light in your Paintings, Oil Painting: Develop Your Natural Ability and Keying Your Paintings. In addition, he authored many book reviews and magazine articles, and appeared on television and on radio shows, and was the subject of numerous magazine, book and newspaper articles. He wrote dozens of feature articles during his time as a contributing editor to The Artist’s Magazine. He also authored various books on drawing, painting and the artistic life through his own publishing enterprise, The Back Porch Press.
He was voted to membership in the Plein Air Painters of America, and in Connecticut was an Associate Professor at Paier College of Art and Instructor of Drawing and Painting at Silvermine School of Art. Widely travelled, Sovek was often asked to judge art exhibits and teach seminars all over the world, including such locations as Venice, Hawaii, and Alaska. He was host of the PBS TV program, “Plein Air: Painting the American Landscape.”
He exhibited widely and garnered numerous awards and prizes. He was involved with many of the leading art organizations around the country including the Salmagundi Club, the Cincinnati Art Club, the Rockport Art Association, the Mendocino Art Center, and the Provincetown Art Association & Museum. His paintings are represented in countless private, corporate and museum collections.
Sovek lived in Connecticut and summered in Truro for the last 15 years of his life. He showed his work at Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, and taught locally, most often at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham, where he taught twice a year for 19 years from 1987 to 2006. He made frequent painting trips to California and the Southwest, where he showed at Nedra Matteuci Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Cold weather months were spent painting and writing in his snug Connecticut home and studio.
Charles Sovek died on June 8, 2007. For more information go to www.sovek.com or contact Peggy Sovek, PO Box 638, Truro, MA 02666
Charles Sovek: Memorial Exhibition
Creative Arts Center, Chatham
July 11 through July 31, 2009
This summer, the Creative Arts Center in Chatham will honor Charles Sovek with a special memorial exhibition. Sovek, an internationally-known painter, taught twice a year at the Creative Arts Center for 19 years from 1987 to 2006. He painted in oil, acrylic, gouache, and watercolor, and work in all mediums will be included in the exhibition.
Sovek is known for his colorful depictions. His works dazzle the eye with their notes of pure color, applied in satiny strokes that look wet long after they’ve dried. Conveying a free-spirited feeling was one of his goals, but it wasn’t as easy at it looked: “I work hard to make them look easy,” he once said. “I sweat bullets to make these things look fresh.”
He usually began a painting because he was dazzled by the subject. “And be it a glorious sunset or seedy slum, if that zap or sensation is missing, I pack up and leave,” he said.
He worked mostly outdoors, and quickly. “Sometimes the bugs get you, but you’re out there, trying to take a little slice of real life home on a canvas. It’s not a scene I’m looking for as much as a relationship between color and form,” he explained.”
When asked how long it took him to complete a painting, he once said, “About two hours and 43 years.”
His artistic career began as a result of an accident. In high school, he fell off the roof of a church and ruined any chances he had of pursuing his first love—playing the piano. While recovering in hospital, a friend dropped off an art school catalog. When he was released, Sovek ventured into an art store and “I smelled the turpentine and fell in love with the idea of painting.”
Shank Painter Publishing/Cape Arts Review Magazine
CURATOR: GILLIAN DRAKE
P. O. Box 720, North Eastham, MA 02651
Copyright 2009 • All rights reserved
For more information go to
Peggy Sovek, PO Box 638, Truro, MA 02666