He began his career as an artist at the age of 17. When visiting his grandparents farm in the Traverse City area, he saw an ad in the local paper for an apprentice artist. He decided to answer the ad, and of the 72 applicants, Chuck was one of two selected for the job.
From then on, everything snowballed and one job led to another, he says.
He met his wife Anita one summer, while working as a lifeguard. Shortly
after they married, he hired into a studio in Lansing, Michigan and also owned a couple of art studios. After vacationing in the Torch Lake/Traverse City area for years, Forman decided that even if he had to get a job pumping gas, he was
going to move to this area. Within a month of moving, job offers started coming in.
With his background in engineering, he became a commercial illustrator, and also spent time as an architectural delineator (one who looks at a set of blueprints and draws a dimensional picture of what the finished building will look like). He once modeled for a magazine ad, and he and Anita both had a small part in the classic Mackinac-Island-filmed movie Somewhere In Time.
Forman was a fisherman, too, which leads to another story of how his art has infused his life. Forman once caught a trophy size fish, but Anita insisted that that fish was not going to hang on a wall in their home. So Forman laid the fish on paper, and traced around it. they ate his catch for dinner, and then, using the tracing made earlier, he proceeded to paint a picture of his fish and hung it on the wall.
In 2000, Forman was commissioned by the Alden State Bank to do their calendar. His paintings of buildings in the quaint village of Alden and scenery of the surrounding Antrim County area proved to be so popular that he is now working on a calendar for 2009. He has never considered his 40-plus years of working with watercolors to be a job; he carries a pad of paper and a small watercolor set with him at all times, and often paints on-site.
An intriguing painting of a man lounging on a long park bench hangs over the mantle in his living room. Names of family members and friends appear to be carved into the wood on the bench. Occasionally, a friend will not see their name on the bench and will ask Chuck where it is.
He says, I tell them, it must be on the other side of the bench!
Now in his mid-seventies, Forman says, Its slow down time - but by the looks of his studio, you would not believe it. Watercolors that Forman has painted line the walls in a profusion of color. His home sits on property along the Torch River, and he admits its probably a good thing that he cannot see the river from his studio, because if he could, he would never get anything done.
Northern Michigan watercolorist Chuck Forman will have his works on display at the new artcenter Traverse City at 300 E. Front St. in January. Forman will also be volunteering his time to teach free classes in watercolor at the Little Red School House, to Rapid City School children in third to fifth grades on the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. until June. In addition, his work may be seen on display at the Blue Heron Gallery in Elk Rapids; Adams Madams in Central Lake; the Gas Light Gallery in Petoskey; and by calling the Forman Studio at 231-322-6005.