Meet Joel Charles, River Artist

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 15, Issue 2, February 2020

I met Joel Charles like many of you - on Facebook. As soon as I saw one of his paintings of Rock Island Lighthouse, I knew I needed to find out more. Recently, he presented a challenge to 1000 Islands Now and Then facebook page. Which painting did we like better - the one with the ship or the one with the ship digitally removed?  

In October 2012, Joel wrote a piece for us, Dark Island, Mystery and Memories, followed in March 2017, with a tribute to his art teacher... "It all Started in School with Prof...

Now in 2020, we want to properly share some his wonderful art as well as some of his story.

Joel grew up on the St Lawrence River in Clayton, NY, and has been writing in one form or another since earning an BA in English Education at Syracuse University in 1964.  

He was an English teacher, an insurance adjustor, appraiser, loss control technician and auditor for the Insurance Company of North America, and an active US Army Reservist, from 1966 to 1972. The last, earned him an honorable discharge, as an E5.  

Joel retired after 23 years, as an agent with Perry & Swartwood, Inc., and an insurance instructor at, Elmira College in Elmira, NY.  He began a second life in Arizona as an actor, director, set designer and carpenter, in the Tucson community theater, until moving to Georgia in 2012.  In the last four years he has ghost written three Romance novels and written many freelance articles for The Thousand Islands Sun. He has also written and published a novel and a biography (Amazon: Get off My Butte and PK, Growing Up Tame).  

A photographer for most of his life, Joel has many photos of the St. Lawrence River, Arizona, California and through his extensive travels in the US, Britain and Europe.  

In 2012, Joel began painting in acrylics. He has over 40 finished pieces, and over a hundred drawings, sketches and water color paintings, many of which can be seen on his site.

It gives me great please to share some of his work with TI Life. Enjoy.

Caitlyn diving at Frink Park (24X30) Acrylic on Canvas, 2016, from photo by Cynthia Charles
Island Duchess (iPencil Drawing on iPad from
Clayton Waterfront (composite of several photos,12X24 acrylic on canvas, 2019)
Frink Park Pavilion (iPencil digital drawing on iPad from photo by artist, 2018)
Foggy Morn (20x24 acrylic on canvas, from photo by James R. Miller, with permission, 2019)
Rock Island Drone Shot (12x24 acrylic on canvas from photo by Jason DesJardines, with permission)
Rock Island Boat House (20x24 acrylic on canvas from photo by artist, 2019)

I hope he will continue capturing our River, with his paint brush as well as, his iPencil, and of course, sharing them with us. Thank you, Mr. Charles.

By Susan W. Smith, Publisher/Editor,

Posted in: Volume 15, Issue 2, February 2020, Artists

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