Local painter Charles W. Reyburn offers 74 ‘Portraits From Home’

Artist Charles W. Reyburn, here with a painting last week at the Provenance Center in New London, is the featured artist in a one-man show at the gallery.
Artist Charles W. Reyburn, here with a painting last week at the Provenance Center in New London, is the featured artist in a one-man show at the gallery. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo

New London - For painter Charles W. Reyburn, home is forsythia, rhododendrons and beech trees. It is the Greek revival architecture of New London and Mystic, snowstorms descending on Fort Trumbull and fog rolling up the Thames River.

Reyburn, who grew up in New London and lives in Waterford, is showing 74 paintings of familiar local scenes in his one-man show "Portraits From Home" at the Provenance Center on State Street. The exhibit runs through Jan. 11

The oil paintings show off the best of the shoreline with blues and grays for cold winter scenes, and bright yellows, pinks and purples for the warmth of the summer. Figures far off in the distance walk the beaches. Tiny sailboats dot the water. Flowers bloom outside the front window of Reyburn's house on Shore Road.

"All these images connect you back to your home," said Nadesha Mijoba, director of the art gallery, who has been talking to Reyburn for two years about showing his work. "The holidays are a time when you connect with your family, friends, customs and traditions. Charles has a beautiful way of showing that."

Mijoba chose the 74 paintings for the show from a series of 200, which Reyburn said he has been working on since 2010 when he started posting his pictures on Facebook. He said he was amazed at how many he had accumulated and the comments he received.

"I'm happy with the these paintings," he said.

Reyburn works out in the open, packing his paints in his car and stopping along the side of the road or setting up his easel in a field. In winter he wears ice-fishing pants that he bought while in college and stuffs hand warmers in his fingerless gloves.

"I like to paint what I'm looking at; what's in front of me," said the 59-year-old graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. He worked for 17 years at Electric Boat as a carpenter and designer before retiring in 2006. His last one-man show was in 1977 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.

"The whole thing for me in painting, is to work from nature," he said, pointing out some slight streaks on a painting he did at Fort Trumbull where snowflakes fell on the canvas.

Other paintings include iconic fixtures in the local landscape - New London Light on Pequot Avenue, the gardens at Harkness Memorial State Park, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center mansion in Waterford and the paths through Bluff Point.

One deviation from the natural landscape theme in the show is a painting of a nude, which Reyburn said is another aspect of nature.

Reyburn takes classes at New London Art League to hone his skill at painting human figures.

"Painting is a good thing, a positive thing," he said. "Even when it's just for you."

The Provenance Center, at 165 State St., was founded 2009 as a project of Mijoba Communications, a cultural competence consulting group; its mission is to explore the origins, roles and meaning of art and culture in the human experience.

Hours are 1-5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, or by appointment by calling (860) 405-5887.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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