On First Friday, November 1, exhibiting artist Fred Sprock will be featured at The Artists’ Gallery in Chestertown. In this body of work, Fred will feature landscapes of the Eastern Shore along with images from Italy and Ireland. In addition, Fred will be including a few puppy paintings.
In all of his work, Fred continues his exploration of the surface, more so on panels than on canvas. He paints mostly with a palette knife (because he finds it to be less precise than a brush), which he uses to scrape off the paint. Couple the imprecision of a knife with scraping, and the visual impact is softened. He also uses cold wax to build up texture and depth in certain areas and a wire brush or steel wool to do the opposite in other places. Using this method, the viewer is not immediately given all the information. However, within the soft lines, muted colors and close values, he also develops areas of hard edges along with sharp hue and value contrasts. As a result, Fred encourages the observer to investigate the painting more closely. When that happens, those strategically placed edges, bolder colors and values will guide the viewer through the painting, revealing the most important aspects of the work.
Fred was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and moved to what he likes to call the “Eastern Shore of the Eastern Shore,” Snow Hill. After a career in advertising, he began painting in oil, and studied under Dee Beard Dean, Morgan Samuel Price, Richard Fennell, Roger Dale Brown, Wayne McDowell and Stuart Shils. Fred has taught at The Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, North Carolina and Braitman Studio, including a field trip to Tuscany.
While teaching beginning classes, Fred would instruct, “If you do this, that will happen.” It was then that he began to define for himself the difference between a “painter and an artist.” Over time, the painter acquires the technical skills necessary to render a strong likeness of the subject, knowing that ‘if I do this, that will happen.’
“To become an artist,” he says, “at some level you must, to the extent possible, abandon that knowledge and ask yourself, “If I do this, what will happen?” That is his challenge.
The public is invited to visit The Artists’ Gallery on First Friday, November 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. for a reception to meet the artist. Fred’s work will be featured in the gallery throughout the month of November. The Artists’ Gallery is located at 239 High Street in Chestertown and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. For more information about The Artists’ Gallery, visit www.theartistsgalleryctown.com or call the gallery at 410-778-2425.