Born in San Francisco, California with an American father and Italian mother, Charlene was raised between Italy and the U.S., between the new world and the old. She began painting and photographing in high school, in Vicenza, Italy. She attended Mills College and the University of Utah, where she received her BFA in 1987. Since then, her artwork and photography have been exhibited in national competitions and received national awards, including several Best in Show honors.
In 2011, Charlene was awarded signature membership in the Northwest Watercolor Society and an Individual Artist Project Grant by 4Culture for her photography work. In 2013, Charlene had two watercolors selected for inclusion in Splash 15, an annual compilation of the year’s best American watercolors published by North Light Books. In the same year she was also invited to join Women Painters of Washington. In 2014, she was chosen as a finalist in the Landscape category of The Artist's Magazine 31st Annual Art Competition, which appeared in the issue of December 2014. In 2015, Charlene's work was again selected for inclusion in the annual compilation of the year's best American watercolors, Splash 17. She was the speaker at the Kenmore Art Show in 2015, presenting “Traveling with a Sketchbook.” Charlene was honored by the City of Kenmore in 2010 and again in 2013 when the City purchased her watercolors for the City's Art Collection. Charlene’s works hang in private collections, corporate collections and public buildings.
Her paintings are the result of both the language of photorealism and the intrinsic qualities of watercolors. From urban details to quiet interiors, Charlene depicts the beauty in the every day moments that surround us. While her subjects and colors are contemporary, the tone of her work is still and introspective. Her work focuses on the pauses between our words and the scenes between our actions, as these represent the threads that connect us. She is both enthralled and comforted by the richness of every day objects and moments. Her subjects, from neon bar signs downtown Seattle to portraits of seemingly ordinary people, share familiar qualities and an exceptional sense of beauty.
Charlene teaches drawing, painting, and the joy of sketchbooking at Arts Umbrella; Tsuga Fine Art, and Cascadia Community College in Bothell, Edmonds Community College; Everett Community College; and SilverKite Community Arts in Lake City. She also leads sketchbook workshops around the world.
I am both enthralled and comforted by the richness of every day objects and moments. I am drawn to objects and scenes which, through their ordinary and familiar qualities, take on a sense of beauty. Something catches my eye, something common, and in that moment it strikes me as extraordinary. There is great beauty in the every day.
I have been painting and photographing for most of my life. I have intertwined photography and painting as ways of exploring and capturing the world around me. Both my photography and my painting are the result of the language of photorealism and the intrinsic qualities of watercolors. Intuitive choices, spontaneous gestures and detailed planning all need to come together to create fresh, interesting and technically strong work.
While my subjects and colors tend to be contemporary, the tone of my work is still and introspective. My work focuses on the pauses between our words and the scenes between our actions, as these represent the threads that connect us.