Exhibit shows rare sketches by renowned Joe Bowler

Special to the Bluffton Sun

If you are even a little interested in art, particularly painting, and have been in this part of the Lowcountry of South Carolina for any time, Joe Bowler is a name you might recognize.

Joe and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Hilton Head Island in 1972. They were making the transition from magazine illustrator to portrait painting. They were happy to join a growing number of professional artists who had moved south, such as Joe’s long-time friend and mentor, Coby Whitmore.

Marilyn became Joe’s representative, who greeted and explained the process for a portrait sitting to clients. She was also the gatekeeper to numbers of painters, young and old, who would come to see Joe for a critique and inspiration.

These visitors would spend an hour or two sitting with Joe, watching him paint. The conversation would be about painting, what inspired Joe, and the importance of mastering one’s craft.

One of the most important features in the session was the crucial importance of drawing. Whether one was a painter, sculptor, or illustrator, the focus was on how the drawing process was the foundation of mastery.

Throughout Joe’s life, drawing was always something he was able to do. Even as a child, he could draw what he saw, and throughout his career as a painter, he always made time for drawing.

In New York, before the move to Hilton Head, Joe would get together with other illustrators, hire a model, and spend an afternoon or evening drawing.

The practice continued after the move, as Joe invited a new group of kindred souls to meet at his studio for drawing, camaraderie and experimentation.

Now, with the help of Charlene Gardner, owner of Four Corners Gallery in Bluffton, a selection of these drawings is being made available to be seen and-or acquired.

These drawings span decades, all done with Joe’s unending thirst for learning his craft. These are never-before-seen images from Joe’s early works.

The exhibition will be on display April 19 through May 11 at Four Corners Gallery, 1263 May River Road in Bluffton. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7:30 pm. April 19.

For more information, call 843-757-8185.

This is an opportunity to see and possibly gain insight into how genius feeds and sustains itself, away from the pressure of commerce, and perhaps even away from the notion of genius.

Bevan Brynne Bowler is a Bluffton artist and a daughter of Joe and Marilyn Bowler.


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