Courthouse Gallery displays impressionist paintings by Chuck Prudhomme, Iva Fendrick


EXETER – Growing up on the plains of the Serengeti and the jungles of West Africa gave Chuck Prudhomme a unique perspective on life. A perspective that has only broadened throughout his life following a career as a military and civilian helicopter pilot. 

And after retiring from his aviation career, Prudhomme decided to share that perspective through his paintings.

This Sunday, July 8 Prudhomme will display his art at the Courthouse Gallery with fellow Valley impressionist Iva Fendrick. The show, titled “The Magic of Art,” will display the picturesque places capture the travels and imagination of Prudhomme’s oil paintings and Fendrick’s watercolors. The exhibit will hang through Sept. 2.

The well traveled Prudhomme is no stranger to Exeter. When he was teenager, his family left Africa and settled in California. Prudhomme moved to Exeter in 1963 and he graduated from Exeter Union High School in 1965. He attended college and later spent 21 years flying helicopters for the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard in numerous locations, including Korea, Vietnam, Greenland, South America and Antarctica. He later flew emergency helicopters for hospitals in Texas, Arizona and California, and fire suppression helicopters for the California Department of Forestry. After retiring from his aviation career in 2002, he began his career as an artist.

“As an oil painter, I am interested in documenting and sharing a moment in time of that space between mankind and nature,” he explained. “I travel extensively looking for that ray of breaking light, a weather-beaten factory, an old dairy farm, a vibrant street scene or a dramatic coastal sunset.”

Prudhomme has received numerous accolades of his career as an artist. In 2007 he was selected to paint a large Christmas Tree ornament for the White House and was invited to a reception there by the First Lady Laura Bush. In 2011 he was awarded Best of Show at the annual Plein Air Paintout in Casa Grande, Ariz. and selected to participate in The Favell Museum Invitational Art Show and Sale in Klamath Falls, Ore. In 2013 he was featured in Southwest Art Magazine.

Fendrick works in a variety of media; she especially enjoys drawing and has included her pen and ink work with many of her watercolors. She subscribes to the well-known quote: “Science makes life possible. Art makes life livable.” 

After retiring from teaching after 25 years at North High School in Bakersfield, Iva has been busy in the art community, on the boards of both the Kern Arts Council and the Bakersfield Art Association. She currently teaches a Wednesday watercolor class and has given several workshops at the association’s Art Center. 

A reception for the artists will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 8 at the Courthouse Gallery, located at 125 S. B St. in Exeter. Prior to the reception, Prudhomme will lead an oil painting workshop from noon until 2 p.m. The cost of the workshop is $40. At least six people will required to hold the event with a cap of 10 participants. Those interested can sign up at the gallery during normal business hours or by calling 559-592-5900. The Courthouse Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, check their Facebook page. 

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