Friday, May 24, 2013

"Handle With Care" - An Interview with Charla Marion Pavlik

My daughter, Ashley, met Quentin soon after we moved to Fort Worth, TX. They became good friends and I was glad she had met a nice kid to hang out with before starting at her new high school. So, what does Quentin have to do with this story ... well, he is Charla's son. I met her through Ashley and Quentin's friendship. Charla is a wonderful person and an exquisite artist. I am so lucky to have been able to purchase one of her works. It is absolutely beautiful and hangs in my living room so I can look at it ALL the time; it is entitled "Handle With Care". I hope, one day, to be able to own another Pavlik and would love someday if Charla and I could collaborate on a children's book .... Here is Charla's story ....
Handle With Care
Charla - Please tell us a little about yourself:

 Charla Marion Pavlik
I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas....I am married to Wayne and we have 2 boys; Quentin (19) and Chandler (16) along with 3 dogs; Angel, Pixie and Hershey. I went to Texas Tech and studied fashion and graphic design. I transferred to Texas Christian University (TCU) and graduated with a BFA in Communication Graphics. I still live in Fort Worth.  I have done a wide range of creative arts which include; dollhouses, murals, posters, brochures, illustrations, decorative/faux finishes, logo design, paintings, mixed media, photography, artist retreats and workshops.

Charla in her "studio"!
 Who is your favorite painter / artist? many....I have many favorites, but maybe I should start from the beginning, when I was born...just kidding...but I have had so many favorites...I could start with my earliest influences....Walt Disney....My friend and I would trace Disney characters over and over again, I want to say we were 6 years old, then I started drawing on my own. I would draw all the time. I was so extremely shy, that I would write notes and draw pictures and give them to friends instead of talking to them. 

During my college years, I learned about all the art periods, from Renaissance to Modern art. I loved the poster art from Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha, I loved Gustav Klimt's golden phase and Picasso's blue phase. I loved Art Nouveau. I  liked Matisse, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and Gaugin, especially the letters from Van Gogh to his brother Theo. I think reading the letters made the art of Van Gogh that much more interesting to me. (LETTERS) I learned about graphic designers, I loved Paul Rand. I took photography and LOVED Ansel Adams. My teachers were artists and they were a great influence to me. Luther Smith taught photography and Don Punchatz was an amazing illustrator, big influences. My Uncle Henry Rayburn is the one that introduced me to collages. He was a huge inspiration and mentor. Presently, there are just too many artists to name that influence me, or I would say are my favorite. I am going to say, after looking back over this, that my top 3 favorites would be, Henry Rayburn, Alphonse Mucha, and Van Gogh. I guess I forgot to mention my Mom is an artist too, Claudine Marion. She is also the Minister of Hospitality at Broadway Baptist Church. I love her title. Minister of Hospitality. She has done this for many years and her office is filled with treasures I continually find that I will use in my collages, or inspire an idea...which leads me to your next question.
This was taken in 2008 with my Uncle Henry Rayburn
he passed away in 2009
You can learn more about him here:

He still has art at the Koelsch Gallery and The San Antonio Museum of Art has one of his pieces.

What inspires you?
My Mom's office is filled with great inspirational materials. The letters, the magazines, the old bibles (especially the ones that have been written in and underlined), old hymnals, sheets and papers of notes from learning about art in religion, art at the museum, personal notes on sermons or lectures, all inspire me. The older the better, that means it has a story behind it. I can hold a bible from 1908 and imagine where it had all been, how it was used, and who owned. it, same with an old letter. (LETTERS again.) Letters are a mystery, it is just a part of a story that you don't have all the pieces to, and yet you have just enough to imagine the rest of the story in you mind. I am inspired by a moment that touches me, or creates a surprise reaction I wasn't expecting from myself, or something that makes me smile or makes me happy. Sometimes an image inspires me. Beauty inspires me. Nostalgia inspires me. Questions inspire me. (This interview inspired me by causing me to retrace my early influences and reconnect with those feelings.) Relationships, people reacting or interacting without some sort of agenda or thinking that someone is watching...genuine moments inspire me.  I do have vivid dreams and sometimes an idea comes while dreaming or in that in between state. Sometimes while walking or jogging, once my head is clear, it leaves room for fresh ideas to come in. Anything that creates a happy positive feeling... then I want to try and express it through art in a way that someone else can get those happy positive feelings. 

Is it difficult to sell certain paintings?
I love color, and a lot of my mixed media paintings have lots of color. Most people want more subtle colors to match their couch, or go with the neutral colors in their home, but the art I create has to be inspired and may not always match a couch. If I am doing a commissioned piece, of course I will use colors that the client wants.  I had a large pink painting titled Delilah. One person said, " If it just wasn't so pink, I would buy it." Not many people can put a pink painting in their home. I did finally sell it though, to the person that said, "If it just wasn't so pink...." 

Do you have any works that you just could NEVER sell?
My first collage, I had all these drawings, paintings, sketches, printed pieces from different events, jobs, etc. that I had accumulated, just stored away. After seeing some of my Uncle Henry's collages, I decided to make one huge collage. I then painted my baby photo over it and titled it, Self Portrait. After that first collage, I couldn't stop, seemed like all I have done lately is collage/mixed media. 

Have there ever been paintings you've started and then just given up on? 
ALL THE TIME....I get an idea, start plastering the canvas with sheet music, life magazine pages, hymns, letters, text, stamps, etc. I usually will only tear out pages or use images that have to do with the theme of the idea. Then I will drip and splatter paint, sometimes too much gets covered up and I wipe off paint. I love building up texture and layers and later sanding it down to see what emerges. Kind of a fun game to me. Right now I have a piece that is stuck in that place and has sat in my studio for a year now. There have been times I just painted completely over something. There are even a few pieces that are on my website right now that I ended up going over a little, changing something up here or there, then I get carried away and then it's like, "Oops...guess I will start over."

How does it make you feel when someone purchases one of your works?
VERY HAPPY. I feel a connection with that person, because I think, "they get me", I am deeply touched, excited, and like a puppy, I just want to follow them  home and live with them...then I feel kind of sad, like saying bye to a friend who I have spent so much time with. Each piece has a special meaning to me. My art where I go to when I am sad, or when I am in a good mood and want to have fun, or when I want to experiment....and every time I leave my studio (ok, living room) I feel better, I am happier, I am more connected all together.  Most of the time it really does feel like a spiritual experience. I do get attached to each piece, so letting go can be difficult, but it is a huge compliment. 

Commissioned pieces are a bit different, they can be more difficult. You have to pay attention to them because you usually have a deadline.....but they push you to be better, to be disciplined, to possibly learn something about yourself that you wouldn't have learned if  you were just painting what you want, when you want. 

Do you work on a painting all at once or is there a process -- days, weeks, months?
I don't think I have ever worked on just one piece all at once. I usually have 4-5 canvases lined up around the studio. I go from one to the other, sometimes spending more time on the one that I am drawn to at the time. Sometimes a piece will sit in my studio for weeks or months before I am inspired to work on it again. There are many paintings that are layers and layers of ideas and images. I have had my husband and friends say, "Leave it alone, it is perfect." but if it sits in my studio for too long, it may change, because we are always changing and things change. "Layers happen."...

Do you sketch out ideas first?
Not usually, but I have sketched out ideas for murals or illustrations, but for the most part, no. I like to have a general idea and then let it unfold as I go. BUT...for my silhouettes, I will take a photograph of whatever image I want to use, or a client will provide me with a photograph and I will draw it on cardboard, cut it out and create my own stencil. 

Do you also draw?
I DO draw and doodle a lot. I think drawing, like painting, can be therapeutic, relaxing and fun. My Uncle did a drawing while praying for a sick family member and later when that person was well, he gave her the drawing and told her about the courtyard where he sat and prayed for her.  It was a powerful and meaningful piece. I plan on doing some prayer drawings soon...not sure why I thought of that, but YES I do draw. 

The painting of yours that I am proud to own - "Handle With Care" has stamps underneath the paint -- can you explain that process and are all your works created this way?
"Handle with Care" is one of my pieces that is especially dear to me. I used actual stamps from letters that I saved for years. Some were from my Uncle when he was in the Peace Corps in Columbia, and some were from old family letters. My family comes from a long line of letter writers and story tellers. We save stuff..... I used a lot of personal items and after doing so, I thought...this is so precious, then I received something I had ordered from somewhere...can't remember, but it had "Handle with Care" on it. And this happens so much where I am thinking of something and then something shows up that just clicks. Nowadays with emails and facebook, it is rare that you get a hand written letter. But I do remember the days of running to the mailbox to see if I got a letter and who it was from. Just recently, I found another box of letters, these were from my great Uncle who I never met, and these were letters that most of my family didn't know about. They were from the USS Enterprise and some while he was at Pearl Harbor. His letters were always upbeat and happy. Never talking about the war, (well they were censored) but he talked about movies, music and his friends on board. He asked about everyone in the family and was always anxious to get a letter in return, saying, I haven't received a letter from Dave in a while, is he still seeing that girl? or Please tell Luedelle to write. Oh...see I get sidetracked easily. After covering the canvas and getting the package labeled, "Handle with Care" I thought about all the packages and letters that I always anxiously waited for. I thought about all the stories behind each letter or package. I don't much more to say about it, I could go on and on, but I am just so glad that she found a good home.  NOTE - After reading Charla's answer about this painting, it's even more special to me! I absolutely love this piece! THANK YOU CHARLA!

Does your painting style have a name?
Well, my art seems to fall into the category of "Mixed Media" I wish I could find a different name to call it. Abstract? Representational? Impressionistic? Contemporary? I put a little bit of everything in my art, so I guess it is Mixed Media.......

Where can people purchase your works?
I am picky when it comes to getting the image just right for reproduction, therefore, I have put off selling online or making prints because of that. My art has a lot of texture and small details that I am afraid may get lost in the process, but I am trying two different sites to see which one works best. 

Just started these this week.

But for originals or high quality giclee's visit my website to see what is available, or just email me for commission work.


like me on facebook:   Charla Marion Pavlik (Artist)

I usually try to have at least one art show a year if not more. I am working on illustrations for a children's story I wrote years back, but just keep staying too busy to finish it. I am hoping to get better at the computer so I can stay up to date on my website and blog. My goal this year is to finish my children's story illustrations, get published and possibly get a licensing deal. I plan to look at some galleries in the area for possible representation and or sign up with a renowned art agent. My Mom and I want to get a book done about my Uncle Henry to showcase his body of work as an artist and also do a book of family letters. (LETTERS)  I do still have two teenage boys living at home, so they come first, but what I have learned is that instead of beating myself up over not accomplishing everything I want to, to just appreciate the blocks of time I find that I can create and appreciate each moment with the boys...I could go on and on here as well, learning to spend time wisely, be present, be grateful, take time to get quiet time alone, help others, eat healthy, drink lots of water, exercise, etc....

What you might find surprising about me especially knowing how shy I can be, is that I was actually on Good Day Dallas and Good Morning Texas when the boys were little....I was so nervous, it was a crazy experience, but a good one. I will have to blog about it. Also, a big surprise to me was last year NYLO hotels in Dallas bought one of my pieces. I have permanent pieces in the Gene Thompson Community Center at Broadway Baptist Church, which is a wonderful service to the community. If you ever need anything, or know someone in need, it is a great resource. 

Thanks CHARLA!  Please visit Charla's website & blog



  1. So lovely to read more about your process Charla - and your work is exquisite!