Bates featured in Spring Art Walk

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Special to The Leader

Orange artist C. Delle Bates will be featured during the Lake Charles Spring Art Walk on Friday, April 29 from 5 to 9 p.m. He will have 66 works on display in the third floor of the Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center during the free exhibition with a reception.

Though Bates has been adapt at creating color-filled works on canvas for years, his latest works have involved painting on plywood after carving defining features into the wood. He said carving has brought him into the realm of being a craftsman. The technique has brought him circling back to his successful business that allowed him the freedom to pursue art fulltime.

As an adult, he went to work in the timber industry. Then in 1977, he started his own business and showed his creative side there. He invented plywood adhesive that has been widely used in the lumber industry. After operating the business for 18 years, he sold it, freeing him time to paint.

Bates is a native of Louisiana and grew up in the small town of Winnfield. He can still recall the moment his love painting and drawing bloomed. “A teacher bragged on me and that just fired me up,” he said.

Bates had moved to Orange to bring his family closer to their maternal grandparents. When he sold his business, he was able to invest in a unique building in historic downtown Orange along the Sabine River.

The two-story, century-old building on Front Street began its life as a bar. For many years, it was Reliable Cleaners. Bates renovated the building so the downstairs, complete with original tile floors and 26-foot high ceiling, could become his art studio. He made the upstairs into a spacious home full of his collected works of art and a river view. The upstairs windows have angels he designed from inspirations of the French artist and film director Jean Cocteau.

With the studio and free time, Bates immersed himself in painting. He said his influences are Picasso, Russian expressionist Nicholai Fechin and Theo Tobiasse. Bates’ works have vivid colors and shapes. Flowers and other botanicals, along with landscapes are often his subjects, but he also loves to paint women. His women usually have prominent expressions on their faces to attract the eye. After Hurricane Rita in 2005, he began painting modern-style angels, male and female. He has also painted, in his unique style, the Beatles and Edgar Allan Poe.

Flowers and gardens are a favorite subject with the blossoms showing bright reds, oranges and blues with the green stems. He has a series inspired by Shangri La Gardens in Orange.

He has prints made of his paintings to allow more affordable art for his fans.

Bates was one of the founders of Orange’s annual Art in the Park festival and has created works of the city’s buildings and landscapes for the event. His sale of prints of those paintings helped benefit the festival in its early days.