Chase Saunders is a Charlotte native and fifth generation North Carolinian. Chase attended Eastover Elementary, Alexander Graham Junior High, Myers Park High School, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Central Piedmont Community College , and Queens University. His father, grandmother, great grandfather, and other members of his family were all drawn to the creation of art or craft. His great grandfather made furniture and farm tools. His grandmother taught art at Elon University in the 1890s and painted oils for the new tobacco rich in Durham during the Depression. His father was a designer, sculptor, painter and general master craftsman. Chase’s wife taught art to thousands of Charlotte’s children in her Cotswold studio for over thirty years. A retired Superior Court Judge, Chase also served as a District Court Judge and Assistant District Attorney. His law practice is limited to arbitration and mediation and he is involved in a number of professional, historical, business, civic and charitable activities. He paints in his spare time.
Chase grew up in a home where unique art projects were always in the works. Daily life featured creative activities like wood carving, painting, furniture construction, design, leather work, sculpting, cartooning, plaster and bronze casting, metal work, toy and tool making, bonsai, and sketching. Pencils, sketchbooks, saws, carving knives, tracing paper, blocks of clay, paints, hammers, and nails were always available… but there were no golf clubs!
His love of Charlotte and Carolinas grew out of a multitude of life experiences. They include carrying The Charlotte News as a paperboy, attending Junior Achievement at the corner of Morehead and South Tryon, learning to swim in the downtown YMCA on South Tryon Street, eating Tanner’s incomparable hamburgers washed down with fresh-squeezed orange juice, seeing the circus in the first coliseum on Independence Boulevard, ten cent bus rides, attending political events with his father, shooting at the Long Creek Gun Club, selling dictionaries door-to-door, running a television camera in Chapel Hill, “busting tables” at the Carolina Inn, instructing sailing at Camp Seagull, roaming the Carolina coasts, cartooning, prosecuting, and judging in three Mecklenburg County Courthouses, standing in line seeking votes at the Mallard Creek barbecue, amateur performing on stage at Spirit Square, and circuit riding the Superior Courts of Western North Carolina. While circuit riding he tried a lot of cases, made a lot of good friends, and gained a further appreciation of the people and places worth painting throughout the Carolinas. After court, in the evening, he worked on his watercolors in a number of less than memorable motel rooms.
A historian by passion, in 1972 Chase picked up a watercolor paintbrush and began painting the changing face of the two Carolinas. More than eighty paintings with this theme adorn the gallery halls of his office.. Many of the places he documented over the past forty-eight years are gone so his style could be best be described by the Ecclesiastical verse…”to everything, there is a time.” He now wants to make this collection available to you with this internet gallery.
His style usually features great amount of detail and white space intended to capture only the essentials of a passing glimpse. These works are finished in a matter of hours. Sometimes, however, the subject matter requires a more detailed presentation. These works take hundreds of hours to complete. The compelling subjects in the UPTOWN FROM series are an example.
A signature feature of recent pieces is the red dog. Some years ago, in protest to seeing art work with the predictable aerial scribbles representing birds in flight, he decided to place a red hound dog in his paintings. Over time the red dog has become well-traveled throughout the Carolinas. As life sometimes imitates art, Chase finally happened upon the red dog outside of a country store at the Waccawatchee Marina on the Waccamaw River near Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. He almost didn’t believe his eyes when he saw the red dog , all tuckered out, sleeping on a hot summer day. Look for the red dog in this painting. If you have trouble finding him, a hint appears on the next page of the print cover.
The Artist’s Collection
Chase’s personal collection was created from scenes he first captured with photographs. During his travels in the Carolinas, Chase took lots of photographs and when comfortable with both the composition and color, he would then make a sketch and then put the color to the paper. Sometimes it took years before he reached the point when he could begin to sketch and paint a particular scene.
His body of work covers a wide range of Carolinas subject matter. It features ice cream and firework stands, working boat docks, courthouses and courthouse characters, churches and graveyards, road side produce stands, lighthouses, mills, flea market vendors, landscapes, still life, pumpkin stands, garden shops, country stores, coastal architecture, and shrimp boats. From the mountains, through the Piedmont, across the Coastal Plain, to the sounds and beaches, his work seeks to capture the feel of this special place which we call home.