LEXINGTON, Ky. - Chuck Weber is living through is art these days.
“I love capturing moments in time.”
And with every brush stroke, he is making each moment count.
You’re given a pocket full of pebbles he said. If you die before using all your pebbles, or talents, then it’s a shame. He plans on using all of his pebbles, including immersing himself in his artwork.
As he glides his brush easily over the canvas, flawlessly creating a portrait of a horse in the Para Dressage event, he said that it wasn’t long ago that he was a business owner, a suit-wearing marketing executive. But the battle of his life changed all that and in the end, for the better, he said pushing his round, orange-framed glasses up on his nose.
He came very close to dying. That is when he made the decision to give up one part of his life, in order to be able to fight to keep the rest. He sold his half of the marketing business to his partner and took a year off to vigorously “force [his cancer] into submission.”
The artist adjusts his orange ball cap, as he pauses for a moment to get the words out.
“[Cancer] takes everything out of you.”
Once he was able to recover from the cancer taking everything that he had to give, he said, it was time to reevaluate his priorities.
“Cancer is life affirming. [It] reminds you to thank people, to say ‘I love you’. [It] reaffirms the goodness around you.”
Now it was time for stage two of his life he said. It was time to figure out what goodness he had in himself to give to the world. It was the moment that he looked into the mirror and made a promise to himself to move on with his life.
He decided to give art all he had. That was nine years ago.
While he admits he’s not from Kentucky, hailing from Wisconsin, he said that that doesn’t matter because he loves the Bluegrass State, the people and its horses.
The artist isn’t an equine artist by trade, but rather a studio portrait artist, and has been frequenting the St. James Court Art Festival in Kentucky for the past few years and loves Kentucky, especially since his wife’s family lives here.
“I love Kentucky’s warmth and southern hospitality.”
And for the duration (18 days) of the World Equestrian Games, he will be painting horse portraits, in motion. Today: Para Dressage. He is painting live under the Kentucky Horse Council’s tent. The artist, who said he likes doing charities, is donating 50 percent of the proceeds from paintings sold to the Council.
Weber, who also paints other types of racing like marathons, has painted horses for Churchill Downs. He said that as a ‘colorist’ he likes the movement of horses, the color and the light.
“With horses, it’s about grace, elegance and athleticism,” said the artist who has also painted athletes like Lance Armstrong, Brett Favre, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, just to name a few. He has also painted a few archbishops and the Pope. But for the most part he paints “everyday people doing everyday things.” That is, except on the days that he is in the Commonwealth. In Kentucky, it’s all about the horses.
“Horse are amazing creatures—the grace, the beauty; the harmony between the horse and rider as one… They are beautiful animals.”
Whether painting horses, athletes or children, Weber said that he likes to paint “joyfully” with light, colors and movement.
His art is his joy. Living his life to the fullest is his passion.
“[Now, I] live every day, celebrate every day. I celebrate in my art.”
You can see what will be about 13 paintings at the end at the World Equestrian Games at The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington through Oct. 11. Or you can see more about Weber and his artwork at Weberportraits.com.
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