Breaking out of the block

Greenwood artist Chuck Horsman exhibits his oil paintings at two open houses in April

Heidi and Chuck Horsman with Chuck’s painting of the Bargersville Water Tower.

Starting over after a 20-year hiatus wasn’t easy, but it’s begun to pay off.

A year since Chuck Horsman began marketing his oil paintings, he’s found opportunities to participate in art galleries, won the 2016 Mallow Run Winery Label contest, Best of Show Patron Show with the Brown County Art Guild in January and sold many paintings and prints. He’ll stay busy this April as the featured artist at Southside Art League (SALI) and with the Stutz Artists Open House on April 28 and 29.

Horsman grew up on the Southside of Indianapolis, attending St. Roch grade school and Roncalli High School.

“I always felt like I was creative,” Horsman said. “I could always draw really well. I drew comic books at an early age. I won some contests. I won a humane society poser contest in fourth grade. From there, I drew comic books on my own for the longest time. I always felt I would be in the art field somehow.”

He earned a fine arts degree from University of Indianapolis. After college, he started working in

Photo by Chuck Horsman.

graphic design for agencies and then a magazine publisher. He married his wife, Heidi, in 1991. They moved to the Center Grove area in 1999 where they raised their children, Ben and Darby.

He started his company, Chuck Horsman Design, in 2002, creating promotional products.

Over time, he got away from painting but the desire to pick it back up was ever-lingering.

“At least five times a year, I would tell my wife I should start painting again,” Horsman said. “She’d alway say, ‘well, start painting.’ The longer you don’t do it, you don’t know where to start. You are out of practice. It took awhile to go and get some supplies and start painting, and realize those first several paintings are going to be horrible.”

He began painting again three years ago, starting with a piece that he started in 1988 and never finished. He said he loves portraits and painting people with interesting faces. His favorites have changed throughout time. A portrait of Abraham Lincoln was one of his firsts, with tiny details such as pennies and soldiers incorporated into it. Then came a four-foot by four-foot portrait of Steve Jobs. His favorite right now is an image of Lady Liberty.

Photo by Chuck Horsman.

“When I was young, I tried to paint more realistic and tried to paint to other people’s styles that I like,” Horsman said. “Starting over, I’m more interested now in capturing the feel of something without painting it exactly. I want you to look at it and know who/what it is. But I like there to be interesting brush strokes and things in there without it being a photographic depiction of it.”

There’s a process to each painting. He starts by sketching out the image, adds blocks of colors then goes in and paints.

“When I’m done with the brush strokes, it looks too tight to me,” he said. “It doesn’t interest me. When I’m able to then mess things up with the palette knife, that’s where it gets fun. That’s where I add my style into it.”

When he started feeling comfortable with his work and had enough of it, he started to market it. He has an office at the Stutz building for his graphic design business and through that, was able to participate in his first Artists Open House in April 2016.

*Photo courtesy of Forrest Mellott for the Greater Greenwood Arts Council: Chuck Horsman signs a wine bottle with his winning artwork on it at Mallow Run Winery.

When he learned of the Mallow Run Winery Label “2016 Art Uncorked” contest, he decided to paint a landscape. He drove around Bargersville, until he settled on am image of a water tower.

“A water tower is not real interesting,” Horsman said. “I thought it was a good subject but it had to have something different in it. If you look closely, there’s some graffiti on it. I added some orange to the top to make it look like the sun was beating down on it. I painted it pretty quick and was happy with it, but I didn’t think it would win. I didn’t know if they would like the style or subject matter. It worked out well.”

In September, Horsman was selected as the winner of this fifth annual wine label contest. Through that, he was introduced to the Greater Greenwood Arts Council where he is now a member and will serve

Photo by Chuck Horsman.

with the group helping to bring in artwork for the next wine label contest.

In December, he participated in a holiday art show at the Stutz building. In January, he earned Best

of Show with the Brown County Art Guild for his portrait of Kurt Cobain.

Horsman has his work for sale online, chuckhorsmanart.com, and locally at ProArt Gallery in Greenwood. He recently became a member of SALI, where he will have 20 to 25 paintings displayed and for sale, 299 E. Broadway St., Greenwood, now through April 27. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. His open house is April 14, 6 to 8 p.m.

The Stutz Artists Open House on April 28 and 19 will mark a year since his first showing.

“It will be a good gage in what I’ve learned in a year,” Horsman said. “I got to a level where I think I could put it out there and sell it quicker than I thought I would when I first started. This year has already started out well.”

Meet the artist: Chuck Horsman

Photo by Chuck Horsman.

SALI Off Broadway Gallery

When: Paintings exhibited through April. Open House April 14, 6 – 8 p.m.

Where: 299 E. Broadway St., Greenwood.

Info: southsideartleague.org

Stutz Artists Open House

When: April 28, 5:30 – 10:30 p.m. and April 29, 2 – 7 p.m.

Where: Stutz Business and Arts Center, 212 W. 10th St., Indianapolis.

Cost: $12 advance; $16 at the gate; children 12 and under free.

Info: stutzartists.com/openhouse.html