2013. Egg tempera on panel. 31 7/8 x 25 1/8 in.
I discovered wood wives while reading a book on folklore of the forest. They’re mostly good-hearted souls who for some reason live in hollow trees, though they are only safe if the tree in which they secure themselves has a cross carved on it. Eating bread is their delight and the smell of a loaf or two baking in an outdoor oven is bound to bring them begging for a morsel. Payment is given in the unusual currency of wood chips, which most folks simply toss on the ground, too concerned with the intrinsic value of (more…)
Portrait of Kennedy’s “Big Eyes.” 2012 egg tempera 8 x 10″
Portrait of Nathanael’s Bear. 2012 egg tempera 16 x 20″
This book presents 50 of my murals of East Liverpool, OH and the surrounding area, along with accompanying text. Painted over a twenty-five year period, the book contains beautiful full-color reproductions of notable sights and places from a by-gone era: schools, potteries, restaurants, businesses, scenery, parks, and many more.
by Mary L. Tambellini and Craig Wetzel
77pp, 9 x 12,” alk paper, full color with fold-outs
Signed by the artist. $25.00
Now available for purchase through my Etsy store. E. Liverpool area residents may wish to contact me directly, unless you enjoy paying shipping costs.
Midsummer Madness. 2012 Egg tempera on panel. 36 3/8 x 25 in.
Bibliomania. 2012 Egg tempera on panel, 23 x 15 x 21 x 13 inches.
The character books are, from left to right…never mind. Try to figure them out on your own.
Painting is a lot of work. It may not feel like work because I enjoy it, but there’s more to the process than rolling out of bed in the morning full of God-given talent and inspiration. The inspiration comes easily — everyone is inspired by one thing or another. Perhaps an artist is more adept at expressing the inspiration, but that’s the result of practice and experience. As for talent, it is simply there: no one asks for it, no one earns it, and no one deserves credit for having it. All that remains is the amount of work a person is willing to invest in their talent: sketching, studies, trial and error, and in mistakes. (more…)
Mr. and Mrs Jones. 2012 Egg tempera on panel. 21.75 x 11.5 in.
Mermaid. 2012 Egg tempera on panel. 24.5 x 50 inches.
“Provoking a Response”
By STEPHEN HUBA
EAST LIVERPOOL —
Craig Wetzel’s place is hard to find — and it’s probably just as well. He’s an artist, after all, and artists are supposed to be hard to figure out. If the artist’s ways are inscrutable, why should getting to his house be any easier?
When Wetzel gets visitors, he usually has to “talk them in” on their cell phone and take them down the brick alley behind his house. He hasn’t used the street out front in years.
And so it is with art — the obvious way is often the least rewarding.
“For me, a painting is only interesting if there is something left unspoken,” Wetzel said. “Ambiguity, mystery, insinuation — it doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t convey an obvious conclusion. I want people to see a painting and think, or wonder.”
Wetzel, 47, has been provoking a response from people with his art for decades now. A 1982 graduate of Beaver Local High School, he started to get serious about his art around 1985. For years, he played the part of the struggling artist. It’s only been more recently that he’s been able to make a living from his art.
“I definitely would not recommend it as a career choice,” he said in a recent interview. “For those years, it’s been nothing but a struggle. My wife has been my enabler for a good many years.”
Locally, Wetzel is known for his public murals at places such as Nentwick Convalescent Home and the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, but they’re far outnumbered by his private commissions. Wetzel figures he’s done more than 100 private commissions — everything from large murals to small portraits. (more…)
The Ides of March, 2012, 31 x 37 in, egg tempera on panel
Photo by Pick’s Photo & Studio
The owners are fixing up this barn so I figured I’d better sketch it before they ruined it.
Study for “Honey Locust,” 2012
This is a pencil study for an egg tempera portrait. If ever a tree looked intimidating, it would be the Honey Locust. The spikes not only look menacing; they are extremely sharp. If I were a male squirrel I’d stick to climbing oaks.
“Red’s Barn” Drybrush watercolor 6 x 8″ 2011
“Radio Mystery” Drybrush watercolor 19 x 12.5 in. 2011
It was dark and we were in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, pulling a trailer, heading to the campground, my sisters asleep in the rear seat beside me, when my father turned on The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which was a highlight of the “Radio Revival” of the mid-1970′s. The episode was about a girl who found baby dolls in the woods, forsaken dolls that were always broken, dirty, sometimes headless, abandoned, and weeping–mournful weeping that the girl could hear at night from her bed. I don’t remember much about the story, and I’m not certain that what I do remember is accurate, but I do know that it scared me profoundly and was the theme of many nightmares to come. (more…)
Potsherd. 20 x 14.75″ Drybrush Watercolor 2011
Occasionally, I’ll finish a painting and not know what it means. The painting may feel a certain way or reflect my thoughts at the time, but if I am asked to explain it, I find myself at a loss. With time the concept will sharpen and clarify, though I’m not certain whether the painting fathers the concept or the concept the painting. Either way, I don’t know what this particular work signifies but something is there, beneath the fallen leaves and the piece of broken pottery; something sinister or sad. Finality perhaps.
I want to thank everyone who came to my showing last Thursday evening. It was a success, both in the number of works I sold and the number of people in attendance. I can’t wait to finish enough paintings to have another one. Special thanks to Doc Roberts, Matt Stewart, Pick’s Photo, and everyone else who helped with the event. All photographs by Mr. Tony Bazidlo.
On Thursday October 6, 6:30 pm, there will be a reception for the opening of my art show at Kent State University (Mary Patterson Building). There will be around thirty paintings on display, many of which have only been seen by visitors to my home and since I do everything possible to discourage visitors to my home, not many people have seen them. It is my intention to forgo insult and snide remarks during the event, therefore I will be wearing a name tag so that my friends and family will still recognize me. If you are interested in seeing me as such, it may be prudent to (more…)
2011 Watercolor on Arches cold press 7 x 28″
This is a 1/12 scale depiction of a proposed mural for the children’s area in the emergency room waiting area, East Liverpool City Hospital. It will be approximately 22 x 5′ executed in acrylics. Please break your arm so you can see it.
2010 Egg Tempera on panel. 11.25 x 16.75 inches (GPS 40.72503, -80.613856)
For me a painting is only interesting if there is something left unspoken: ambiguity, mystery, insinuation, it doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t convey an obvious conclusion. I want people to see a painting and think, or wonder. Perhaps that is why I enjoy painting clothing in unusual settings and situations. There is an unanswerable mystery in such a painting and it is neither obvious what has happened in the scene or beyond. There is a simple answer, but is it the correct one? Not in this case. The original setting for this painting was the kitchen of the Williams House at Beaver Creek State Park in Lisbon, Ohio, though, with the exception of the chair and table, it hardly resembles the actual location. The brown bra trimmed in mint green hastily tossed on the kitchen table reminds me of chocolate Easter eggs with icing ribbons and flowers. Later, I decided to have fun with it and turned it into a retro-mag cover.
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen,
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
[misc. other words]
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.
watercolor 10 x 19″ (GPS +40° 39′ 12.45″ / -80° 31′ 36.57″)
On Friday, May 20, 1808, the Western Herald of Steubenville, Ohio, published the following advertisement:
“A New Paper Mill to the Frugal & Cleanly
The subscribers have commenced building a paper mill at the mouth of Little Beaver, near Georgetown, and hope to have it complete in the course of three or four weeks…
The public’s obedient and humble servants, Coulter, Bever and Bowman.”
The timber pictured in the creek is part of the dam of the Ohio Paper Mill, erected on Little Beaver Creek in 1806, about a mile from the mouth, and which discontinued operation circa 1850. It was the first paper mill in the Northwest Territory and was managed by a succession of papermakers throughout its more than forty-year existence and was located at Little Beaver Bridge, a village which once boasted a post office, store, grist mill, tannery, covered bridge, the Sandy & Beaver Canal, and dwelling houses in addition to the stone paper mill building. The village is now all but forgotten. All that remains are ruins, only visible in the colder months when the vegetation is gone. In the Summer, when the water is low, quite a few timbers are high and dry and there’s a spike protruding from one which I have been trying to loosen for twenty years. It hasn’t given yet but, if I’m lucky, I’ll have it out within the next decade.
A friend of mine who owns a produce farm and greenhouse tosses his leftover produce at the edge of a field when he closes for the season. I was walking past one day just before dark and noticed the corpses of frost damaged and half eaten pumpkins and gourds giving an eerie glow in the low light of dusk, when the color is mostly gone. The briars surrounding them only added to the feeling of decay and death and remind me of barbed wire. It’s a brutal painting, much more than abandoned produce.