Charlie Parslow - Artist Interview

February 2021

  

 'I embrace the learning and the magic associated with

developing art. I am seduced by happy accidents

and devastated by irretrievable mistakes.'

~ Charlie Parslow

 

SpacerQ. Please tell us about bit about yourself. Anything you’d like to share, perhaps where you live, where you were born, your family?

I am a 76-year-old male with two artificial knees.  Married to Mary who uses my surname.  Father of four daughters.  Grandfather to five boys and four girls.  Born in Liverpool, UK – no siblings.  I lived as a child in the town of Baldock in the county of Hertfordshire, UK.  After passing the eleven plus exam I attended Letchworth Grammar School where I met Mary Ward (now my wife for 54 years).

I went to the College of St Mark and St John in Chelsea, London, for four years leaving with an honour’s degree in Zoology and Botany and a Teacher’s Certificate both from the University of London.  I taught for 2 years at the Tudor Grammar School for Boys in London then emigrated to Canada in 1968.  Taught in the Lower Mainland for 4 years, completed a master’s degree in Administration, became an administrator of a high school in the Sooke School District near Victoria, after 7 years decided that I was too young to get bogged down in suburbia and went to work in Northern B.C. 

For 20 plus years I was the Superintendent and C.E.O. of the Peace River South School District retiring in 2001.  I was ordained in the Anglican Church, served as rural dean, Archdeacon of Caledonia and retired from church work on my 65th birthday.  Currently, I am in my 10th year as Councillor for the City of Dawson Creek and continue to work as a facilitator and coach supporting several organizations.  I live in the Peace River Regional District.

Q. Can you tell us when you first realized that you enjoyed creating art and wished to become an artist. Is there a particular person who supported your decision to pursue your goals? If so, in what way did you feel supported?

As a biologist I had to do a lot of drawing – loved it at all levels.  With my partner Mary I have enjoyed visual art either by visiting galleries or watching her develop as an artist.  Through Mary’s engagement with the Flying Colours Art Organization, I have, through a process of osmosis, being engulfed by the artist community and began to dabble.  This led to me deciding to learn some print making techniques which then led to taking workshops and then developing a body of work.  So now I feel that I can interpret vistas and capture natural forms in a distinct way. Art has become a serious hobby and I find it engaging, exhilarating and sometimes frustrating.  Above all it is a fascinating pursuit and has opened several rewarding associations with people, places, and organizations.

 

Q. What is your motivation for creating art?

I love looking at art.  I am inquisitive about the form of natural objects.  I am challenged by the opportunity to reduce what is complex into something that is simple.  I am enthralled by the reveal of printmaking.  I embrace the learning and the magic associated with developing art.  I am seduced by happy accidents and devastated by irretrievable mistakes.

Q. Do you have a favorite medium and if so, why?

Relief printmaking – linoleum, wood.  Intaglio printmaking – etching and dry point.  I love the design possibilities with relief printmaking and the interplay of line, texture, and inking permutations with intaglio.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about some of your artworks and what they mean to you?

Some of my linoleum relief prints are embellished with the use of Chine Colle (Old Granary), others by watercolour (Swan Lake – Fall Impressions, Impressions of Peace Foothills). 

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Old Granary by Charlie Parslow

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Swan Lake - Fall Impressions by Charlie Parslow

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Impressions of Peace Foothills by Charlie Parslow

 

In some instances, I introduce colour by using a reduction process developed by Picasso (No Satisfaction).  Of course, the use of water colour in the Moka Hanga style (Super Moon Event) lends itself to all sorts of colour integration.

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Satsfaction by Charlie Parslow

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Super Moon Event by Charlie Parslow

Again, some hand colouring can be integrated with photoetching (Trepidation). The impact of intaglio inking (Fall Clematis) and aquatint (Forest Blanket) augment the solar plate etching technique. 

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Trepidation by Charlie Parslow

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Forest Blanket by Charlie Parslow

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Fall Clematis by Charlie Parslow

 

 Q. When you create art do you listen to calming music, are you thinking of anything in particular or have any emotions at all? 

I go through a variety of conditions as I develop my prints – from remembering the sequence, to concentrating while transferring the image, to embellishing the piece by letting go of the controlled approach, to becoming excited about the reveal of the print, culminating in ecstatic joy with a successful print.  Of course, a failed print then brings out my investigative nature.  No music, no gazing around but sustained attention with occasional consultation with some of my fellow print makers.

SpacerQ. In our busy world, time can be an issue. Do you have any tips or tricks to find time for your art? 

Time can be wasted for sure.  It helps me if I have set days when I am gathered with other artists in a studio.  Then I have the need to get prepared for the day, think about what I will need, develop my resource images.  Working in the absence of other printmakers makes me less effective.  Art is to be shared and enjoyed with others both in the process and in the product.

Q. Is creating art your main profession?

No, but it is a major hobby.  In my next life I would like to be an exalted Italian Tenor and a British relief print artist of renown.

Q. Can you tell us about any awards or exhibitions that have made an impact on your life?

Awards “pour moi”???  Exhibitions especially prints totally excite and bewilder me – how did they do that?

Q. Do you have any major goals for your art career?

I would like to have two shows with a fellow print maker (Mike Kroecher).  One would be called “Impressions of the Peace” and the other “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

One would be entirely relief prints and the second would be entirely reduction relief prints with shades of grey, black, and white.

Q. Is there  anything else you’d like to share about your art journey or inspiration so far to inspire others? 

My art journey has been with my partner Mary – her style is very different from mine, but our shared enjoyment of printmaking is mutually empowering.  Linked to this is our shared appreciation for the art community we are a part of in the Peace Region.  The community is a treasure.  

Charlie can be reached by email-cparslow@pris.ca

Thank you Charlie for sharing your art journey with us!