Charmayne Bernhardt’s art reflects living a thankful life | VailDaily.com

Charmayne Bernhardt’s art reflects living a thankful life

VAIL — Charmayne Bernhardt might be the most thankful artist to pick up a pen, or a brush or whatever tool the piece calls for.

Sure, she lost vision in one eye seven years ago, but the way she looks at it she gets to do amazing stuff with her eye patch.

"I still have one good eye and it never occurred to me I wouldn't be able to keep painting," Bernhardt said. "I have arms and legs, a wonderful family and friends and so many blessings. You bet I'm grateful and happy."

Bernhardt's latest show is currently on display at the Vail Public Library. A portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the library.

It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.Artist Charmayne Bernhardt

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"Gratitude changes everything"

"It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy," she said. "Gratitude changes everything, and yes, I AM grateful."

Among her bright happy pieces hanging in the library is a pencil of her mother and father, created from photos taken around the time they were engaged.

Her father died a few weeks ago, her mother a couple years ago. Bernhardt spent much of her time traveling to care for them, which comes with its own challenges, blessings and insights – inspirations she says she hopes are found in this body of work.

"What is it we really love and long for? A gentle whisper – a tender look – to touch another's heart and feel ours filled as well," Bernhardt said. "Sometimes words are not needed. There is a language that is heard and spoken through the process of creating."

Vail's beauty as she sees it

Bernhardt has lived in the Vail Valley for more than 40 years, yet says she still looks at it and smiles with wonder and gratitude.

"The surroundings are a source of inspiration and joy," she said.

Her interpretive work depicts familiar icon landscapes: Piney Lake, Hanging Lake, Sylvan Lake, Vail and Beaver Creek mountains, watercolor trailhead signs commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service and the town of Vail and Vail Resorts.

She illustrates books, the labels for Vail Mountain Coffee Roasters, greeting cards, logos, and commissions of varied subjects in both watercolor and oil.

She created the Vail Pioneers' 50th anniversary poster, and the Vail cookbook, "Vail Cooks for You."

Art settles the turbulent soul, at least Bernhardt says it does hers.

"When I paint, it settles me and brings things into a better (less crazy) focus," Bernhardt said. I hope there are creative aspects of your life that do the same for you, and that the things that define you are not those of wealth and power. Wealth that cannot be measured. The power of kindness, a gently spoken word, the warmth of a smile or touch, a shared sorrow and a tear may very well heal a broken heart."

"Art has it's own voice and speaks to us all in many ways … as we create and as we observe and participate in that way," Bernhardt said. "I hope you will hear what you are supposed to as you view this work."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If You Go

What: Local artist Charmayne Bernhardt’s latest show

When: Daily through Nov. 30

Where: Vail Public Library

Cost: Free

Information: Local artist Charmayne Bernhardt’s work encompasses everything from interpretive landscapes to book illustrations.