Charles Movalli

Charles is a great ambassador for the Cape Ann School.   Cape Ann is the longest active artist colony in the United States.  No surprise. The place is one painting after another, just waiting to be painted. After all this time, you’d think the nay-sayers of art, the It’s-all-been-done crowd, might have a point, but Motif #1 still draws painters, who are still doing something that’s never been done before. Charles’ lecture on the Cape Ann School is not to be missed. Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, John Sloan, Emile Gruppe are a few of the regulars going back nearly 200 years. Gloucester and Rockport are plagued by picturesqueness.  It’s catching.  Trash bins may even be lovely.

The focus of the artists Charles admired and learned from as a young painter (Emile Gruppe, Carl Peters, Aldro Hibbard) was composition, and his paintings have a solid structure even amid dinghies bobbing at the dock and buildings listing under their years.

Charles has a PhD in English and has written books and articles galore.  The books, though pricey – if you can find one, are fantastic reads for any student of painting covering not only many laudable artists, but also composition, color, and the wielding of the brush.  We are still waiting for the book on Charles himself, but he has let us know that some things will melt and others freeze over before we’ll see that book.  We’ll enjoy his paintings while we wait.



An article on his own work appeared in American Artist, June, 1986. His work has also appeared in Frank Webb’s Dynamic Composition, Wendon Blake’s Artist’s Guide to Using Color, and Stephen Doherty’s Handbook to Landscape Painting.The following slide show is a gift to all of us from Charles himself, chronicling his years of teaching workshops.  All painters out there will relate to his choice of accompanying music – we can’t always get what we want!  Thank you to Dale Ratcliff for all her photos throughout the years of her husband’s workshop-related travels.

Charles Movalli has lectured and demonstrated painting techniques for over a hundred different art organizations. He has judged shows in Massachusetts, North and South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, Kansas and Bermuda. He has given workshops in 24 states, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, England, France, and Switzerland.

Charles Movalli was a Contributing Editor to American Artist magazine, for which he has written over 70 articles on art and artists. His articles have also appeared in the Southern AccentsSouthern BoatingSouthwest Art, and The American Art Review.

He wrote a historical preface to William Hunt’s On Painting and Drawing. He also edited:How to Paint Successful Seascapes with Roger Curtis, Color in Outdoor Painting with Roer Curtis, Croney on Watercolor with Claude Croney, Painting with Light with Betty Lou Schlemm (also issued in Japanese), The art of Landscape Painting with Paul Strisik (also issued in Chinese), Gruppe on PaintingBrushworkGruppe on Color, and Brushwork for the Oil Painter, all with Emile Gruppe.

He is listed in Who’s Who in American Art.

BA Clark University, Worcester, Ma.
Ma and PhD UNiversity of Connecticut, Storrs, Ct.

This is Betsy, a relatively recent addition to the Movalli/Ratcliff clan.  We have her on video inspecting us and the camera equipment which we’ll get together for you shortly.  Dale had gone outside early in the Spring and had seen a tiny bit of a bunny.  She picked her up, named her Betsy, and there you have it.  The cats have varying opinions of her.  Betsy spends her days in Charles’ studio and is pictured here in her favorite chair.


4 Responses to “Charles Movalli”

  1. heather howarth 18. Jan, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    my mother betty howarth loved your workshops ; and with gruppe she still talks about them and has one in her room in assisted living ;
    shes 85 and talks of those outdoor painting days as the best.she loved that time in her life. truly what a gift your all gave her .
    heather howarth

  2. janet rossman 03. Feb, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    I love your paintings

  3. Elaine 04. Jul, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    Hi Charles:

    I LOVE your acrylic paintings. So fresh and beautiful. What made you start to paint in acrylic???? How do you handle the acrylic paint when you are out doing plein air? Do you use additives? Love your work.


  4. Stacy 06. Nov, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Hi Charles,

    I really love your paintings . I also love sailing and sailboats and Europe , so that is an added bonus.


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“On the face of it, the easiest of all activities should be seeing what we see.  In reality, it’s the hardest.”

-Charles MovalliCharles Movalli, Walls Gallery, The Greenbrier, Monhegan Monehegan – 36×48, SOLDCharles MovalliJuly – 36×36, SOLD   Charles Movalli, Walls Gallery, The Greenbrier, Winter Harbor Winter Harbor – 30×40, SOLD