Realizing, as a young man, that he could not afford a "Capital Education" in art, Charlie went to sea in 1898 and visited galleries and museums wherever he traveled. He sketched and painted as he went, sculpted in concrete later in life, and returned to oils in his elder years. His legacy is considered an important contribution to the political, social, economic and cultural life of Nova Scotia.
Charlie painted with oils during two periods in his life. In the 1920's his work was of a more classical nature and later, in the 50's, his paintings were of a high-keyed treatment that caused him to be compared with an impressionist group "The Ten" who had exhibited at the turn of the century in New York.
As a young boy, Charlie's teachers did not take kindly to his sketching in the classroom. He left school at age 15, worked as a carpenter apprentice into the mid 1890's, continuing his drawings of local characters, trees, animals and his native homestead. In 1898, he went to sea...
Some of his best water colours exist in a trio of sketchbooks carried on board while Charlie was at sea. Although photography was becoming commonplace, Charlie documented his travels in water colours, letters home, and in a penny diary with daily entries for a year abroad.
While "Kentville Concrete" manufactured an array of industrial products like culverts, pipe, and sidewalks, Charlie was also busy modeling deer, moose, toadstools, birdhouses, diaramas, human figures, and more. In addition decorating the interior and exterior of his home in Centreville with them.