"The term 'still life' is an anachronism. Life is live, not still. Life is truth and humor, tragedy and sorrow.....I began to understand how light illuminated all we behold. The simplest of earth's treasures are altered dramatically as the quality and variety of the light sources change. In many ways, light is life, especially to a painter".
- Charles Becker
Light and how it effects things is a prominent element in Becker's work. Motivated by the desire to make a personal connection with the viewer through his paintings, he uses light and color to infuse each object with as much feeling and nuance as he can (which is where Becker's work goes beyond photo realism, which he finds static and uninteresting). In that sense, rather than paint a simple apple, he paints a portrait of that apple with colors that make it seem more than real; rather than paint a simple plum, he gives it a little more curve and cleavage so it has a sensual energy all its own. He starts with careful sketches--most of which end up under the painting itself.
While he usually has a finished concept in mind, he allows plenty of room for the painting to evolve. As he works, he adds balancing points--touches that make it more comfortable, warm, or tense, or elements of interest that push and pull at the edge of realism to capture someone's eye from across the room and draw them closer where the painting, rather than falling apart, reveals new, sometimes surprising, dimensions.
Today, working out of his studio in Northern California, Becker's preferred medium is oil, although he also works in dry pastels, which he enjoys for their vibrant colors and immediacy. While he is most well-known for his still life's, he also loves to do figurative work and portraiture. (Two of his subjects include Congressman Pete McClosky and baseball Hall of Fame, Willie McCovey.) And, while he sees himself as an easel artist, he also sees the possibility of developing some of his work into a children's book.
Aside from Lupetti, Becker cites Salvidor Dali as a major influence. And, the surrealist touches --the way Becker starts with the real and pushes it to the edge, incorporating elements that keep the viewer thinking and guessing--are clearly evident. Art is Becker's means to connect to people. His works speak from the heart and he puts something of himself in each piece. For Becker, that's what makes a successful painting. And for collectors, who are buying his paintings as fast as he can produce them, that's where the magic begins.