M. Charles Donald Leary Beach Dunes Ocean Landscape Oil Painting on Canvas 32"



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Oil on canvas landscape painting of a dead tree in the middle of sand dunes at the edge of the ocean, signed M. Charles. Donald Leary 1916 - 1991 painted images of the Outer Banks North Carolina under the name M Charles. He Signed his works "M. Charles" with the M inside of the C. The story of Donald Leary is one that goes to the heart of the Outer Banks. The late painter's work captured the unspoiled essence of the barrier islands, making him a sought-after artist during his reign. The people who have purchased or inherited his work have something special. It's as if they own a little piece of the land and sea before development took hold. Working under the name of M. Charles, Leary created paintings from the time he moved here in the 1950s until his death in 1991. During that nearly 40-year span, he painted dunes, sea, sky and sound in oil. M. Charles, the pseudonym of Donald Leary, came to the area in the early 1950s and, through his artwork, caught the essence of the Outer Banks before it was developed. Leary, a self-taught landscape painter, moved to the Outer Banks from Gloucester, Virginia. His style captured the natural beauty of the area in its undisturbed serenity. His paintings depict the underlying spirit of the land before the invasion of high-rise hotels, fast-food restaurants, and multi-family cottages. Even though Leary's land-and seascapes are similar in subject matter, they each have a unique individuality. Leary completed over 2,500 paintings from 1954 until his death in 1991. While many of his works were sold to area residents, visitors also purchased the paintings as mementos of their visit to the Outer Banks. They were often sold before the paint was dry. Leary's works are still sought by collectors trying to recapture the natural beauty of the barrier islands. Leary's work captured the look and feel of the North Carolina barrier islands. He spent a lot of time outdoors sketching and painting in the early years. Later years found him mostly in his studio, painting from memory. His first painting was sold in 1954. The artist chose his artistic name when, as a joke, he donned a beret and pranced in front of his family. The story follows that one of his children said he looked like a French artist and therefore was dubbed Monsieur Charles, which was later shortened to M. Charles. He was born in 1916 in Colon, Panama. His father was an army doctor. He graduated from George Washington University with a BA in English in 1941 and a medical degree from William and Mary in 1955. Leary served in World War II in the US Army Corp of Engineers and was discharged as a captain in 1945. "M. Charles of Manteo: Painter of Sand and Sea" is an article that appeared in New East Magazine, the July/August issue in 1975. A retrospective show for his art was held at the Roanoke Island Festival Park, November 2004. One of his paintings is in the art collection of the Town of Nags Head and can be seen at the town Hall.


Very Good – Some wear to frame; see pictures


32" x 22.75" x 1” / Sans Frame - 27.5" x 18.5" (Width x Height x Depth)