Charles Wheeler

Anyone interested in following the trail of a beautiful legacy will thrill to discover Charles Wheeler paintings. Hailing from the ranks of 26 Highwaymen Artists, Charles Wheeler enters the scene somewhat later than the original 9. But his presence as an accomplished artist distinguishes him. The Highwaymen was a loosen group of young African-American artists. Being talented, but not recognised, they painted landscapes of Florida in a vivid style and sold them themselves from the back of their trucks and delivering them to the doors of houses and offices in Florida.

Wheeler's friendship with Livingston Roberts (one of the nine original Highwaymen) afforded him entry into the skill and recognition of these famed lush Florida landscapes. Learning the distinctive technique of oil painting mastered by fellow artists since the late 1950's, Charles Wheeler paintings derive their appeal from the richness of the style and subjects.

Charles Wheeler shares the same struggles of his fellow artists, living in a time when racism's grip choked the choices of African Americans. Along with his companions, he travelled the highways of Florida selling his works to businesses and tourists thrilled with the flair and theme of Charles Wheeler paintings. As is true of each one of these distinguished artists, Charles Wheeler's artistic expression brought a raw and unrestrained depth to speedy oil painting.

Livingston and Wheeler stayed in touch over the years, painting together after long days working in the citrus groves of Fort Pierce and Vera. Since Wheeler's contribution to this singular mass of "outsider art" began in the late 60's, his story of success comes during the time when interest in this particular expression began to diminish. But his friendship with Livingston kept him in touch with the world of art and with the wonder of this particular style, one originating from the highly regarded manner of A.E. Backus' oils.

As interest renewed in the late 90's with Jim Fitch and Gary Monroe's enthusiasm, Livingston encouraged Wheeler to get back into oils. Once again, art enthusiasts can enjoy the exceptional quality of Charles Wheeler paintings, knowing his work encompasses the glory of human triumph.

 

© 2015 by Florida Highway Men Paintings

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