Springing Ahead: Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus
So very busy in my studio this past winter, and now in early spring, I want to share some highlights and also upcoming good news; and continue a bit with my pandemic diary.
My first and most exciting announcement is that I am now represented by Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown. I have been showing in Ptown for decades, but with many limitations on size of work, visibility, and organizational support. With this new gallery I am in the excellent company of other contemporary artists in a well-run gallery with a beautiful space in a great locale on Commercial Street. Very exciting!
I know that there are many Cape fans among you, so I hope that you all check it out next chance you get.
Here are a few new pieces headed that way in April:
Link to my page on the gallery website, still in progress:
I am scheduled for a show at Rice Polak from July 22-August 4, and there will be ample work at the gallery through 2021.
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In the something new category, I will be doing a three-hour livestreamed painting demo on March 25th. While I have fond memories of a demo in my studio one fall several years back with an appreciative small crowd, warm conversation, some tasty snacks and a bit of bubbly…this will do for now. I am thinking that this could be of interest to friends and collectors as well as my students.
The image for the painting will be a salt marsh in late summer color, 22″x28″. I will be using a Vasari paint set that I purchased as a kind of research project about paint quality and pigments, something I get asked about frequently in my color-mixing workshops.
To hear more, sign up for the demo and/or my upcoming color workshop with the Woodstock School of Art:
CHRISTIE SCHEELE CURRENT ONLINE COURSE
In January and February I completed two demo pieces while teaching from-the-heart landscape painting workshops online for the Woodstock School of Art.
The first is an image of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard on a summer day. I began each workshop with a short video of water, and was delighted to find that I had a short clip from the actual day.
I had long wanted to do a contrail in a blue sky, and found that in this image it creates a nice graphic without being overly intrusive. (When I try it again I might want to make it a more assertive feature, like my headlights generally are.)
Menemsha with Extending Lines, 24″x48″.
Last summer I was fearful that this winter would bring crippling depression to many people. I worried about my fellow Americans and election results and my fellow humans worldwide and isolation and Covid fatigue and those who are/were suffering already. I worried about all of the new deaths that were coming…and have come.
But instead of all bad news, we have so many things in sight. We have hope! This has hinged almost entirely on the election results, without which we would not have the essential piece—a vaccine rollout that while imperfect, has the attention and determination of the new administration behind it. We have governance at last. We are back in the world community, back in the climate change conversation, back to consulting with our allies…no longer a rogue nation.
Still, our Covid winter has dragged on. Echoing within the isolation that I feared, our emotions are all over the place. While hope is huge…we also have fear, anticipation, the blues, gratitude, stress, loving kindness, loneliness, generosity, and enormous sorrow and loss.
Update to the vaccine conversation: I got my first dose last Sunday, booked for me by a friend. Talk about gratitude!
- Signpost with Gleaming Sky, 20″x20″.
Last week, on a Tuesday/Wednesday in February (IN the Catskills, IN a pandemic) I sold three medium/ large pieces through my gallery in Rhinebeck, Albert Shahinian Fine Art. My first word of this was Tuesday morning and by Wednesday at four the couple were in my studio selecting paintings #2 and #3. By the next day the largest piece was at my framer’s and now they are on their way to Florida.
This sequence of events may seem lightning-fast, serendipitous, almost magical in its precision. And yes, let’s savor the feeling!
But there is a back story.
It starts with the gallery being open day after day, during which time often there are no sales at all. There are frequently folks who come and fall in love with an artist or two and admire every single painting and then leave to have lunch and think about it; or go home to measure; or only one spouse is present and needs to consult with the other. And then they may drop from sight for a while—weeks, months, years—or forever.
This happens often enough that for the galleriest it can feel like the promises of return are a lot of hoo-ha, and sometimes they turn out to be. But, people frequently don’t purchase artwork on the first occasion that they discover it, especially above a certain price point. They google the artist and look for their track record and other galleries; make sure that the prices are consistent with elsewhere; go home and look at their space; discuss which piece(s) they want and where they should go. They await a renovation or a new house. Sometimes they are so busy that they can’t think straight. Other times their job transfers them to London—maybe we will see them again several years later when they are transferred back!
One of my sales from last fall with this same gallery was a a client who had been considering my work for quite a while. I believe she was waiting for this perfect spot to be created: .
The couple that bought these three paintings loved my work when they saw it a few years ago, but had a home with full walls. When they came back this time, it was with a newly acquired second home in Florida with entirely empty walls. All three pieces—the third seen below—are to go in the open-plan, atrium-ceiling living room.
I am a glass half-full kinda gal, so I remember the many stories like this where the fans of the work return with intent. It helps that I am not the one sitting the gallery during the empty moments…one of the reasons for my deep gratitude towards my galleries.
Meanwhile, I am also hard at work painting new pieces for the 2021 season for the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. The Menemsha piece will go there in early May, along with this piece, the first of a series of images of a sparkling day last September off-road on Poge on Chappaquiddick island.
Also, a big chunk of my February: Two 29″x87″commissioned pieces through the Forrest Scott Group, now installed on the same wall in a financial services firm in Florida. These good-sized pieces look small on such a large wall, and grace a room that is otherwise a white box with computers and a big TV screen—hopefully they give pleasure to the owners and staff!
Upcoming this year I have loosely scheduled a solo show in August at a new, beautifully renovated gallery in Fleishman’s (NW Catskills), 1053 Main Street Gallery. That show will be a mix of imagery and sizes, kind of a re-intro of my work to that region and an intro to the many folks who have been purchasing homes there in the past few years.
And then, in the fall, a solo show with my old steady, Albert Shahinian Fine Art. This show will be smaller than my last there—one of the two exhibition rooms rather than two—and feature the series that I began last fall, Things Past.
More on these shows in due time!
Beautiful. I love love love the signpost painting especially. You finish with “this happens enough that…” and an ad…is that intentional meaning you have to allow advertising to make up for lack of sales?? I need to find the link to the critique… And thanks for the cheer and optimism!
March 1, 2021 at 10:24 pm
I did not intentionally publish this post, as it is not finished. My sales have been fine—excellent, actually—but I have no control over the ads. Double poops! I was going to finish this over the course of the week. Triple poops!! I am so busy with two large commissions, but now I will feel like I have to jam on this. Thanks for commenting, Loel! (There are five spots left in the critique.)
March 1, 2021 at 11:19 pm
All beautiful, Chistie. I especially like Signpost with Gleaming Sky and Turquoise Light. Wish you were closer. Hope all is going well for you.
July 1, 2021 at 4:45 am
Thanks, Carol! I wish you were, or I were, too!
July 3, 2021 at 1:10 am