Pecatoncia watercolor Dick Cholke poses with his painting “Birk”, a portrait of his grandson, that won Best in Show just this last July at the Sandstone Gallery’s “My Current Creations” show, part of the Encore! art group in Mt. Morris. Cholke is currently one of the featured artists at the Coliseum Museum of Art, Antiques, and Americana in Oregon through the end of February.

Pecatonica Watercoor artist featured at CMAAA through end of February

By George Howe

    As the saying goes, “Everyone is an art critic,” based on or influenced by one’s personal feelings, tastes, and opinions. There are so-called masterpieces hanging in galleries all over the world. Judges and curators are fickle, they might pick a work that most people can’t make heads or tails of it, or a painting that looks like it could have been done by a toddler, or perhaps a chimp or elephant, which by the way has been done.

    Pecatonica watercolor artist Dick Cholke prefers to create paintings that are easily recognizable and appeal in some sense to the viewer. “I’m not criticizing anyone’s work, but I like to create paintings that people like to look at, hang it in their house and not get tired of walking by it every day,” he said.

    When Cholke was in his 20s, he would take his mom to art classes and dabble in oils. But then a career as a mechanical engineer for Honeywell while being a husband and father of two children sort of made him put his hobby on the back burner. “When you work and have kids you don’t think much about anything else,” he said with a laugh. “I was a very involved father, which was my priority.”

    Cholke shared that painting was never an overwhelming passion, but now that he has more time later in life, the desire is renewed. “Two years after I retired, which has been about 10 years now,” he explained, “I decided to dedicate more time and I work 100% in watercolors.”

    Cholke is now a recognized and decorated artist, winning multiple awards throughout Northern Illinois, including a Best in Show just this last July at the Sandstone Gallery’s “My Current Creations” show, part of the Encore! art group in Mt. Morris, for his “Birk” portrait of his grandson. He was recently accepted into the Illinois Watercolor Society competition to be held at the Next Picture Show Gallery in Dixon starting May 19, where professionals, teachers, and nationally recognized watercolor enthusiasts will gather, share stories, and talk shop. He is also one of only four other artists currently being featured at the Coliseum Museum of Art, Antiques, and Americana (CMAAA) in Oregon through the end of February, with a reception to be held Friday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.

    CMAAA Executive Director Mike Glenn has a criterion for choosing featured artists like Cholke. “We are looking for work that will appeal to potential customers that come into the gallery,” he explained. “We want 2 and 3D, mix media, and not necessarily just traditional.” I asked Glenn, why did you pick Cholke? “Dick does a variety of watercolors such as landscapes, flowers, portraits in a variety of sizes and themes. Dick is always open to learning and advancing his work and style. Everyone should come visit and see what CMAAA has to offer.”

    Cholke draws much of his inspiration from landscapes around ‘Pec’ and is a frequent visitor to Old World Wisconsin Historical Museum, with a 600-acre woodlands backdrop of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The museum features 60 buildings from the 1840s to 1910 that were brought in to create a village and depicts the life of early immigrants from Germany and Scandanavia. “There are carriage horses being drawn by people wearing period costumes, an old sawmill, and so much more to take pictures for future reference works,” he added. “I like to tell stories with my work like, Americana, draft horses, and nature since I consider myself an outdoors person. Many times, I will take the combination of four to five different photos and ideas and combine them into one painting.”

    Cholke credits his engineering background for aiding in his ability to visualize how things should come together. “I was known at work for my sketches when I was trying to show how a mechanism works,” he explained. Cholke went on to say that people don’t realize how much goes into planning out a piece before any paint is put on the canvas. “Paper is the most important thing for starters,” he said. “Then it has to do with composition, or layout. Value deals with the organization of light and shadow throughout the painting, which is the most crucial aspect. Then it’s color, edges, and the concept of the painting.”

    Quite often, watercolor is considered by most in the art community to be the most difficult of all mediums because the paint dries so quickly, making it tricky when it comes to fixing a problem. Cholke shared that this is a misconception. “Opposite of oil painting, you have to put the lights in, then the darks,” he said. “There is a technique called ‘lifting’, where you take a brush and water and lift the pigment off the paper,” he said. “If you have to, you can go into your laundry room and use a spray nozzle and wash a lot of it off. Truthfully, I’ve done that and sometimes it looks pretty good,” he added with a hardy laugh. “Yes, you have to keep moving while touching wet edge to wet edge to make sure that it’s soft.”

    We as humans have always been compelled to avoid making mistakes as often as possible. Again, Cholke feels that it’s a vital part of the process. “A lot of learning isn’t something written down but realized after creating a bad painting,” he shared. “The more mistakes you make, the more you learn. That’s why you have to paint a lot.”

    With the support of his wife Susie, Cholke continues to be an active member in a number of art groups, including the Rock River Valley Painters Guild that meets weekly in the spring and summer at various locations for Plein Air painting, which is the French expression for “in the open air.” He’s also a member of the Eagle’s Nest Art Group and the Next Picture Show. “You must have a commitment to constantly learn by taking lessons and gaining experience from peers,” he added.

    One central theme that kept coming up throughout the conversation was that you have to keep things in perspective and enjoy the process. “We probably are never going to be considered a master or become famous,” he said. “That’s why you have to make it fun and enjoy the people that you paint with.”

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.