Eric Dye is a member of Artworks Around Town, the Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League, and a part of the Tamarack’s Foundation for the Arts of West Virginia Artists. He lives and maintains a studio in Bethlehem WV, where he resides with his wife Christine and lab mix Duchess. Christine teaches piano out of her home music studio, while Eric works in various mediums in his backyard studio.
Eric is a native West Virginian who graduated from Concord University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts, winning several Best of Show awards in various state and regional exhibitions while a student. After graduation, he served as an artist-in-residence in Harpers Ferry, WV, followed by an artist-in-residency at his alma mater, Concord University. While there, he carved a nine-ton Bicentennial statue of the first settlers in Mercer County, WV, Mitchel and Phoebe Clay, which resided on the court house lawn in Princeton, WV and is now being moved to the grave site of the Clay’s by the Mercer County Historical Society. He also carved a portrait bust of Aristotle in an early Greek style which is on display in the Concord University library. While there he served as a resource individual to students enrolled in art degree programs at Concord.
After college, Eric studied painting and sculpture at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, Connecticut, under Elisabeth Gordon Chandler and Robert Brackman, both artists of international renown and members of the National Academy of Design. But his greatest influence in a sculptural style came from an immigrant artist to West Virginia named Wolfgang Flor. Wolfgang’s wood carvings were a strong statement of design following function telling a story that remains as a core ideal to Eric’s carvings, no matter the subject or material.
Eric enjoys the creative process no matter what the medium. He primarily works in oils and pastels, but also carves in stone, wood, and bone ivory. Eric often combines mediums in his sculptures, putting bone, stained glass, or other materials together for effect.
Other sources of inspiration that have influenced his work from an early age were the bird paintings of John James Audubon, and the two years he spent in East Africa as a teenager, where he was exposed to a vibrant mix of cultures and colors.
Since arriving in the Ohio Valley, Eric participated in the Paint Historic Wheeling Plein Air paint outs, and has also contributed in several of the Cross Current Art Shows held each year by the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling, WV.
Eric was introduced a few years ago, to the challenges of Plein Air painting where soft pastels has become a favorite medium, and now travels to Prince Edward Island, Canada annually to participate in the Points East Plein Air paint out. In 2019, there were 54 artists and over two hundred paintings in the final show. Noted Canadian artist and Gallery owner, Brian Loirmer, was the judge. Nine awards were given with prize money, and this year Eric was one of the nine winners. He also sold two of the five paintings he did that week. He also painted at the Brandywine in PA, the old stomping grounds of N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth.
One of Eric’s project goals is to create a pastel painting of every state Park in West Virginia. As of now he has completed 5 paintings, 4 more are in initial stages, and has visited another nine in preparation of working on those paintings.
Eric now offers private and small group lessons at his home studio in Bethlehem, WV. He can be found on Facebook at WVartist68, and EricDyeArtStudio.