Share a special moment from Charles's life.

Great teacher, funny guy

Shared by Nancy Politsch on December 10, 2019
I went to Amsterdam with Charles and had a blast. I love his painting style and I love his humor. Charles was such a jokester and loved to praise people for their efforts in painting. He was to begin his 25th year teaching for Lighthouse ArtCenter on Jan 6th 2020. Charles will be missed. Love you Charles Gruppe. 
In Amsterdam, he had almost 40 people on the trip.  Some people painted but about half were there because his trips were so fun and inexpensive.  The first day the tour guide did not show up, but the tour bus did.  My daughter lives in Amsterdam and I had been there 6-7 times before so Charles appointed me to tour guide and I sat at the front on the jump seat and talked about the sights of Amsterdam as the driver drove us around.  Charles told me I did a great job.                                                                                                                                                 Carol, as the director of Lighthouse ArtCenter, we all send our condolences.  I wish we had known that Charles went in to hospice.  He had been in my thoughts but life gets so busy.  Please let us know about the memorial in CT.  My cell number is 410-935-4324.

Together we painted.....

Shared by Cynthia Prince on November 10, 2019
I first met Charles about 20 years ago when I took my first oil painting class on Marco Island. On that day I also met Pat P. who was also a beginner. I didn’t know much about painting and nothing about using and mixing oils. It was a relatively big class so Charles had his hands full. Charles always had us start with a mixture of blue  as he said that the sky and the sea would take up most of the painting. So I put a huge wallop of the blues he told us to use and then kept adding more and more and more and white to get the light color of blue he wanted. I had not yet learned the concept that you start with white and then add the clor bit by bit. By the time I had finished mixing my color blue and other colors as suggested, the floor around my easel was covered in white paint. Luckily for me they sold paint right in the art center so those first days of the workshop had me running down to the store to purchase more white paint. The store volunteers must have thought i was eating it. Pat P. and I still laugh about my white saga till this day! Annual classes at Marco Island soon were not enough to satisfy Pat and I and we started going on Charles European trips to get more of Charles as he was an incredibly encouraging and inspiring art instructor. Our first trip was to Venice. I was standing on a bridge attempting to paint a canal scene and this tiny, very drunk Italian man comes over to  me and says “lady are you a cleaning lady? Because you are never going to make it as a painter!” I replied “ Then why don’t you shove off and let me get at it as I have a long road ahead.”
We had many funfilled art tours after that one. Lots of memories of Torremolinas Spain with the great location and fun music, Monaco, Greece etc. By the time we went to the Almalfi Coast one session was not enough for me so I signed up for two back to back sessions. Luckily I did as our first trip down that winding road to Almalfi left me with an incredible case of vertigo. It took 3 people to get me off the bus and I remained 5 days in my hotel room unable to eat and crawling to the bathroom and having the doctor visit my room. But Charles took care of me and when i was finally able tobget back on the bus he ensured that I had a space up front where I could stare at the horizon rather than the winding road.
Charles started me oil painting and it is his encouragement that kept me going. My first few years of paintings should in all honesty be signed by both Charles and I as Charles liked to “ help out” so you would have a finished painting to take home. People scrambled to offer their canvases to Charles to do a demo on! Everyday when I go into my master bath I smile as I have one if these combined project paintings by Charles and me on my wall and i can still see his strokes that made my painting complete. If I really want a Charles “fix” I go into my guestroom and look at one of Charles originals of a seacoast scene in Normandy.
I had the good fortune of  enjoying many years of studio classes  and many trips with Charles. My roommates varied, first Pat, then Brenda, then Val. 
Life changes and when I entered a new chapter of my life with a new relationship I stopped going on Charles trips but still called him every few months and went to visit him with Val in his home in Vero Beach.
This past year, I became concerned as although Charles always sounded bright and cheery and full of spunk in our phone conversations, I knew he was getting on so I told Val i would like to go with her on one more trip. I didn’t care where we were going ( and that got changed several times) I just wanted to spend time with Charles and Val. But I was too late! The trip got cancelled. I was concerned as to why itvwas cancelled but when I talked to Charles he was as cheery as ever and alreay thinking  of an art cruise to the Caribbean in 2020. I still was worried so I took photos of some of my last two years of figurative paintings so he could see where my journey as an artist that began with Charles had taken me.  I mailed them off to Charles in Vero Beach but I don,t think he got them in time before he passed. Charles was not inly my mentor but also my dear friend. He made me laugh and because of him I have so many happy memories. I was devastated when Pat called me to tell me of his passing. I know so many people are hurting over his loss. Carol this must be so hard for you. Pat, Laura and Billie and Val I know how deeply he touched your lives as well. So many artists whose lives were impacted by Charles’ magic are missing him today. Jennifer who organized his trips for so many years is experiencing a huge loss. She helped me so much in my accepting Charles death and  I thank her,
if anyone wants to get in touch with memories of Charles please fill free to contact me.
Iloved Charles. He played a major role in what has been meaningful in my life.
Cynthia Prince

Painting Workshop/Holidays

Shared by Carol Gruppe on November 3, 2019
Charles was such a character and always made us laugh while he was teaching. He would make it look so easy when giving a painting demonstration. One of my favorite things he would say during his demonstrations was "these things practically paint themselves!" Ha! Easy for the master to say!
He taught many classes both in the US and took groups to various locations in Europe for 1-2 week long workshop/holidays. So many friends were made on these journeys with people returning sometimes every year.
As I've been living in Belgium for the past 10 years, it was the easiest way for me to visit with my uncle. I'd join him on one of these workshops and have gotten to know many of his students and friends.

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