Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

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Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus #5

And I am all caught up to date!

Let me know if there is anything you would like me to address: creative, ethical, time-management, etc.

Sunday, March 22: Another sunny day, though I didn’t get out in it until mid-afternoon. Took a walk with Tony and Carla, after driving to her place so that he could get some of the willow shoots that he likes to root and plant in favorite spots. We stayed six feet from Carla.

Otherwise, a nicely focused yoga practice—I am loving rock star these days—and blog and some paperwork. Emailing in regard to an amazingly still alive prospect for a large commissioned piece, probably a triptych.

I started collaging the Catskill Park section of the Site Map just to see how I am going to go about handling that while marking every single stream in the Catskill Park watershed. This has a long way to go, but provides me with a path to follow.

 

 

My palette is mixed to start right in tomorrow morning and do the second layer on the sand flats painting.

Some good news is that I feel that I feel myself coming out of my winter flatness, a lingering malaise that followed death of my mom in early December. I miss her sharply still, but have regained creative traction in the studio that makes it a a sweet pleasure to be alive, puzzling out and making manifest my ideas.

Monday, March 23: Spitting mad about that jerk Rand Paul tracking the virus all over the senate —including pool and gym—instead of self-isolating while awaiting test results. I guess I’d better get in line.

I am worried that Fauci was not at the press conference tonight, after he got a little too honest about Trump in a recent interview.

Some more work on the Site Map in the studio and I have only a few tweaks to go on the sand flats 30″x60″.

Snow today, first not amounting to much and then beginning to accumulate on roadways. Jack and I decided that he should go try to do a food shop in his truck on a day when most folks wouldn’t want to go out, and it was a very successful excursion.

Tony came in from a walk in the snow and brought me outside to see how stunning his solar jar lamp looks tonight, sitting on the stump remnants our old maple tree.

 

 

Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus #4

Excerpts from blog, almost caught up to date.

Thursday, March 19, 11am: A very bad piece of information came in last night from the CDC, that 40% of hospitalizations in the US have been adults 20-65 years old. This is a very scary game changer, and will likely change some folk’s game, though it is a little late. Of course, they could only come up with this bit of data after observing patients coming through the system, but it is really too bad that we didn’t have this from elsewhere earlier.

I am increasingly concerned about Tess, still in the deep woods in Northern Minnesota. She last checked in on March 6th from Minneapolis, and was headed back into the woods to finish maple sugaring with her friends. Even then, it was clear that she would not want to use her plane ticket back. Now things have progressed to where she may also not want to come back (somehow) by car. It’s really unfortunate because in her barely populated Vermont community, she could have hunkered down and perhaps even gone to work as part of a her-and-boss only crew for a fellow who grows and sells fruit trees.

She also has health care in VT, and a shoulder injury, though that will not get any medical attention anywhere now.

I am torn between being happy for her that she is where she loves and not thinking about this mess at all, and wishing that she would come out and figure out her plan before things get worse.

Tony’s current printmaking assignment is a 3-color reduction linoprint, and I am going to join him in doing one. Thinking about imagery today, I am not sure if I want to go for a landscape (this process feels a little stiff for that) or a map image (the latter could involve climate change).

I picked at the watershed Site Map and finished this 24″x24″ for the upcoming season for Louisa Gould. Also had a nice phone chat with her about survival and strategies.

 

 

Louisa  pointed out to her whole artists troupe that she stayed open after the 2008 stock market rout and following recession, and that she intends to do the same now. So very nice to hear.

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Friday March 20, evening: Very little studio today, a late sleep-in after a bad night’s sleep. Our internet went out just before I had a virtual class scheduled with Lulu, so that is on for tomorrow now—more on this amazing young artist tomorrow. It was sharply stressful having no internet or extender for phone when we are doubly relying on it for every form of connection, and you never know actually how long that will go on. But back on in about an hour.

As the afternoon presented, we had an amazingly warm day. It went from wind and rain to sun and calm, a day for some yard work and seed planting, while sunny, and back porch sitting when the rain blew up. I got my beloved screened in porch all cleared out of scattered groceries (left to clear of germs before putting them away) and straightened and swept it out. And then, a lovely yoga practice in my favorite spot, with sound of stream, birds, and wind in the trees.

 

 

Looking forward to more of this, eating, working on my laptop and doing yoga on my porch as the weather slowly warms. I savor this transition into from spring into summer every year, and with NYS and other states now in lockdown as of Sunday, this will be essential.

Niece’s boyfriend’s fever cleared and so far the rest of them are feeling fine.

I assume that the lockdowns, which include Illinois, will mean that Tessa cannot travel through to get to Vermont. And that we will not see her for the duration.

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March 21: So Jack thinks that Tessa would be allowed to come home, even traveling through lockdown states, because she is going home.

But we still haven’t heard from her.

In the studio I did a bit more work on the Site Map, coming up with a design solution for this particular map and beginning to see the shape it will take. I want the Watershed map to be different from the Atlas/Hudson River Valley version even though I am discussing the same turf. Different emphasis.

I also came up with my idea for the 3-color reduction print. I’ll do an interpretation of a topo map, final lines in black and the three colors intensifying in value as you climb in altitude. It will be either mounted on the site map or a stand-along piece in that show.

Speaking of which, is this a good time or a crazy time to apply for the regional museum shows that I have in mind for this and the Atlas/Cape and Islands exhibitions? If curators are picking up their emails–and why wouldn’t they be?—these upcoming weeks and months could be ideal for making my pitch, when the physical on-site work is halted.

This is a close-up of a free-hand, stretched out topo interpretation of the escarpment that bends around Woodstock and then runs parallel to the Hudson River, from the Atlas/Forms of Water Site Map.

 

 

Beneath it are linocut and mixed-media maps of Hurricane Irene, which devastated our upstate and Vermont communities with stream flooding in 2011; and projected sea level rise on Nantucket.

Sun today, a walk with Tony. Thinking about spring and how usually in May I do a few big, luxurious shops for annuals at my favorite nurseries, which likely will not happen this year. So I am taking cuttings and rooting various plants that I have in the house to combine with leafy perennials from the yard to fill my many pots, when the time is right. These are the kinds of creative problem-solving endeavors that sooth my mind…

 

 

Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus #3

Excerpts from my blog diary from March 16-18.

Monday March 16th:

We made the trip to a parking lot in Newburgh to hand off this painting to Janet Schwarz, JSO Art Associates.

It is impossible to know if the two interested parties are really going to follow through with a viewing, mostly because of the stock market and fears of a long recession. But at least she has it and that bit of business is taken care of. Also, a large painting leaving the studio feels safer for all of the rest. (No, this is not social distancing, just the moving-things-around risks!)

On our way back we had planned a “last” shop at Hannaford in West Hurley not so much because we need anything for ourselves but because Tony is coming back tonight from college and to shop for my MiL, who has not yet focused on stocking up.

Hannaford was brutal. There was one parking space left in the lot when we rolled in at about 2pm, and the place was mobbed, a number of shelves bare. They had just restocked, but the cashier—who was whipping the items through, knowing that everyone wanted to get the hell out of there—said that the parking lot was almost full when they all arrived before 6am. Some folks were wearing masks.

Everyone was polite, though. So far, still Woodstock.

Back in the car, I observed to Jack, what would it be like if this were a really deadly plague, like Ebola? He came back with the opinion that armed folks, gun nuts,  like someone we know from the old Marvel days, would have their machine guns at the ready in the toilet paper isle.

We are still good for a laugh.

Niece has been self-quarantining in the the Berkley area since a colleague in her Phd program tested positive a few days ago. Her boyfriend had been visiting during his spring break from Duke, so he was also in the net, and today has a fever. She has three housemates..also caught. She is trying to figure out how to get him tested. (There is so much wrong with that sentence.)

A few hours later we heard that the Bay Area is under a new “shelter in place” order.

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Tuesday March 17th:

No test for my neice’s boyfriend. Bad sign. Now all five of them are just going to have to wait it out, and will it ever be known if they have it? It does not bode well, this continued lack of testing, since we have no idea of the scope of the epidemic without.

Numbers are ratcheting up day by day, and known cases getting closer. Saugerties has one now, and there are more in Kingston and Rhinebeck. Westchester declared a state of emergency. They declared a 8pm curfew in NYS for all restaurants, which can now only offer take-out.

Sara, who owns the yoga studio where I practice and teach, wants me to zoom a basics class a week, and I will start to think about that in a few days. She also proposed having me and/or the other teacher at CTH be her student in the studio while she zooms her classes. I love that idea, but  realized that if I stayed away from the studio last weekend to avoid students and she taught, I should probably stay away from her for another few weeks. Otherwise, what was the point of that?

But, we could stay far apart, so I am tempted.

Sigh.

Note: Sara is a lovely teacher and is zooming her classes with online sign-up. You can check it out at:

http://www.catskillsyoga.com/

Some nice painting studio time today, getting a layer in on on the sand flats piece. I got a late start because Tony got in and stayed up late and I found myself sleepless at about 5am.

We are setting up a small studio for him for silverpoint, cutting lino, and his remote classes in Tessa’s room, adjoining his own, and he can use my studio for messier work, like painting.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2pm: I am thinking this morning, and last night while falling asleep, about what other studio endeavors I might want to begin just now. I am working on the grouping for Louisa Gould Gallry on MV and will be for a bit, to be ready with new work whenever the time is right. Also, a few more paintings for my online show with Butters Gallery, scheduled for mid-May. I also promised Judi at Gallery Jupiter that I would do some oil-on-board 8″x8″s or her (for whenever, no hurry!) that have the depth to stand on a table or shelf, like the 6″x6″s that she has; but for these the images goes all of the way out to the edge. Here are an examples of each version.

 

 

Below are five of these 6″x6″s from my end-of-residency show at the Artists Association of Nantucket in November of 2018, sitting below three hand-colored linocut maps of the island.

 

 

This is the new version, 4″x12″, on the shallower board meant for hanging.

 

 

 

My students and other artists and a number of collectors have loved the top version, with dark float, but several galleries are reporting that it makes the image even smaller—for the price point—and so I am experimenting with the second version, which also involves adjusting the color of the gesso on the sides to fit the image. So far, I like it.

It’a an instance of how innovation can happen based on market considerations, if taken as a creative challenge. If you are flexible and can get excited about the idea, this can work—if you are resentful of the suggestion, it’s unlikely that any good will come of it.

Here are some other ideas.

Ongoing or occasional pursuits:

~Dye more rice and mulberry paper for collaging.

~Circle back to printmaking, maybe joining Tony with a 3-color (hand) printing of a lino.

New projects:

~Figure out how to make collages with failed monotypes, probably using my dyed rice papers along with. Looking at them today, I realized that some would be appropriate to use as the basis for a pastel, since the print papers are the same as what I have for years used for pasteling.  I have found that trying to tweak a print with pastel doesn’t work well, since the paper really needs to have a density of pastel applied to be able to move it around, and this means pastel over the whole thing.

~Maps using walnut ink, mixed media, some found/vintage objects, using more natural materials.

~Other in-studio printmaking projects, maybe finding new ways to use maps.

~Work on watershed Site Map.

The watershed Site Map has been confusing me because I am thinking about either this Atlas theme or a Cape Cod (or Cape and Islands) version for next, and these environmentally themed projects are an enormous amount of work.

That’s what indecision does—stalls the brain, and stalls progress. I got a nice start on prepping the Watershed map on its 48″x36″ board last year, but got side-tracked with various painting projects, from my November show at Jupiter Gallery in NJ to the commissions this past winter, and more.

I have just talked myself through the dilemma (decision fatigue making even the low-pressure ones stressful), hooray. It makes sense to carry forward with the one that I have started. When the studio gets crowded I spend too much time moving things around.

This is the Site Map for Atlas/Forms of Water, finished last summer and the guide to the show I had of that name at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck. The new one will have a similar format. For more about this show see my blog post:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/atlas-forms-of-water-2019/

 

Site Map/Forms of Water, Mixed Media/Collage/Printmaking, 48″x36″.

Studio today:

 

 

First painting of the year to get to dry in the yard! With this accelerated drying time, I can work on the second layer tomorrow and likely finish it.

 

 

And now, for a walk in that sunshine.

8pm: Terrible news all around, numbers and economics. I have gone from reading every little thing back in early January to tolerating just measured doses of news. Despite the dread that I felt when I was first reading the reports from Wuhan, putting it all together required an attention to detail and cross-referencing with other material that engaged the grey matter . This is now onslaught after onslaught of of news that is worse by the hour, punches in the gut. It will only get worse, so let’s gear up the intestinal fortitude…

Art and Life in the Time of Corona Virus #2

More excerpts from my blog diary “Art, Yoga, and Life at the Time of Coronavirus”:

Saturday, March 14: The news is not good as regards new cases, but at least the feds and the states seem to finally be getting some traction in regard to testing (or at least real planning for upped testing). It may actually even be in time to prevent what has happened in Italy from happening here. Maybe.

Of course, this all could/should have been done two months ago.

Trump was his usual lying, narcissistic, ill-informed self at the press conference yesterday afternoon. And yet, the markets closed higher just after the start of the conference because of the declaration of a national state of emergency.

People are over-the-top anxious, with just too much coming at us all at once. The daily planning and replanning takes a toll on the nervous system, bandwidth being overwhelmed sometimes early in the day.

In the studio I am having a hard time choosing the image for the 40″x48″ canvas that I recently prepped, part of the grouping that I always do this time of year for my Martha’s Vineyard gallery, Louisa Gould Gallery. So, I am passing on to a smaller 24″x24″ canvas that will be a sea view from Menemsha, with the Elizabeth Islands on the horizon, of a thunderstorm with blue/grey twisty clouds.

Meanwhile, I am so glad that the pick-up of two commissioned pieces happened last Sunday, instead of the original plan for tomorrow, March 15, as they may not be moving around so much now as they were last weekend. These folks have a weekend place in in Berkshire County—where they discovered my work several years ago during my first environmentally-themed Atlas Project show at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham.

They commissioned these paintings for their newly renovated apartment in Manhattan on the 38th floor overlooking the East River.

This was the first of the two pieces to be completed, 18″x52″.

 

 

Their thinking was to have lots of sky—not a literal representation of their view, but capturing the feel of their space.

He is a well known interior architect and eventually pictures of their apartment that include these pieces will make their way to a book and/or publications such as Architectural Digest.

The second piece, a triptych, will hang with a little bit of float between between the panels:

 

 

The couple has been buying my work for several years, and now has a selection of monotypes, paintings, collages, a pastel, and the Site Map to my first Atlas Project show, which is where they first became acquainted with my work. I was happy to sell them this complicated piece at very good value, since this one was only attached to foam core and would have started to show some wear and tear if left in my studio. They are having it mounted and framed, their framer taking out all of the map tacks carefully so they can flatten it onto a board, and then reinserting them.

 

 

I’ll show some more of the work that they have collected in an upcoming entry, and also installation pics once they have them and share with me.

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Sunday Match 15: I almost cried this morning when I read the latest from the NT Times, especially two items.

One, that as Americans are flying back to designated airports from newly travel-banned countries, the bottle-neck at O’ Hare had hundreds jammed in together for many hours while they awaited a health screening. And then later, I heard that they had not even been instructed to self-quarantine if they had no temperature. Coming from Iran and Northern Italy, really??!! 

And item number two, a pic of a bar in Manhattan last night with a line of young people, standing close outside, waiting to get in for a St. Patrick’s Day party. The article went on to say that twenty-somethings aren’t concerned because it will not make them very sick, and/or it does not seem real yet (which is true for many).

No concern for their parents and grandparents and what large groups do, in fact, for community spread? Hospitals will be overwhelmed…and what if they get in a car accident and need care or surgery and the hospital has no masks, or available beds, no available doctors? Again, really??!!

So I am not feeling at all optimistic that we will not end up like Italy. Bungling continues at a national, state, and personal level. This has probably been true throughout human history with plagues, but that does not make me feel any better.

I was painting this morning by 8am, and in fact my crappy mood did lift. I have a good start on the 24″x24″ and prepped a 30″x60″ for a stunning image I found in my files a few days ago of the Brewster sandflats at low tide and early sunset.

The pic below is my inventory of studio printing supplies in prep for a lino project with Tony.

 

 

Yoga, breathing, woods walks, studio…and now blog. These days are extremely rubber-bandy, from high stress to hard-won but sweet focus.

 

Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Adapted from my diary-in-progress, “Art, Yoga, and Life in the Time of Coronavirus”. These are the first three entries. Once I am caught up, I will post daily.

Tuesday, March 11th, 2020

I do not feel equal to this task, but have been thinking for weeks about keeping a diary on my experience of our world gone crazy/scary. So, to begin.

I have been reading everything the NY Times has written about this pandemic (finally named as such by the WHO today) from early January, though lately I cannot keep up with all of the articles. As soon as any reliable info began to come out of China in mid-January, it became clear to me that this thing was going to come at us like a freight train—one only had to read carefully to see that.

I have made myself unpopular for several months by voicing my opinion. I understand  the need to stay calm— in fact, it was only by staying calm that I was able to absorb new information and put things together. But human avoidance behavior has left us unprepared, worldwide. Panic can affect our health and the stock market, but trying to minimize the situation is what has allowed the virus to spread quickly.

As always, my antidotes are making art and doing yoga. I am incredibly lucky that I will still be able to do these things even when/if I land in quarantine. I am also fortunate to live with my husband, and in a rural community where I can take long walks; work in my yard, sit on my screened-in back porch; and move freely to and from my timberframe studio, a few steps away from our back steps—all without endangering or risking infection from other people. Further, Jack and I have always worked at home, so the adjustment will be easier than for many.

 

 

Today I am playing catch-up in my studio, tweaking prints from our session at the Woodstock School of Art on Monday; and wiring and labeling a large canvas to be delivered this Monday to a private art consultant who is determinately getting business done…while the getting is still possible. Fingers crossed that she manages to show the piece before the corporation that is interested in it for their boardroom closes down.

 

Blue Sea, 44″x66″.

 

On Monday, we said goodbye in Woodstock to our artist friends from Nantucket who visited the area as part of a continuing exchange. Hugs all around, even after much conversation about social distancing on all weekend. (On Friday evening I showed them the Ebola Elbow Bump, which none of them were familiar with. This illustrates how fast things are moving—by Sunday or Monday, the whole nation seemed to have that down.) These are probably my last friendly hugs until this thing has come and gone.

 

 

Yesterday, Tuesday, when we visited our Dad in Oneonta, my sister and I did not meet him at his retirement community, opting instead for a restaurant—in an area with no known cases–and no hugs. This was probably my last meal out for a while.

In our area in the Catskills, so many folks—including my sister—are back and forth to the metro area all of the time. I assume that the virus is here, but has not yet been identified.

This morning on the phone with my friend Jenny, I observed that weekenders from the NYC area were all soon going to be holing up in their country homes. A few hours later, I saw my New Rochelle —a hot spot for the virus in NYS—neighbor’s car in her driveway, and an hour after that my Brooklyn neighbor walked by with his dog.

That is surely what I would do in their shoes.

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Thursday, March 13th.

We have no known cases of Covid-19 yet in our immediate area, but all assume that it is just a question of days, or hours. Events are being cancelled right and left and I decided yesterday that I will not be going out to eat or to any large group events. I was supposed to have a bite with a friend last night, but decided that, even with social distancing, eating out at a place frequented by travelers with someone who came back from Indonesia a week ago Sunday with a four-hour layover in Tokyo just no longer feels sensible.

We are all in that teetering spot of deciding to pull the plug on our plans…or not yet.

I will go to yoga tonight here in Chichester, and taught yesterday both at the Zen Mountain Monastery and at Catskills Yoga House, taking lots of care. I have discussed protocol at CYH again with Sara today and she is disinfecting like mad and encouraging students and teachers to bring their own props, which I have been doing at the ZMM but only partially doing at CYH. Our groups tend to be smallish and the space is ample, and classes are going to be smaller now, as well, no doubt. No kapalabhati breathing (vigorously expelling air through the nostrils) or hands-on assists, which I had already implemented myself recently.

It seems not yet the time to pull the plug on this incredibly lovely and healing practice. But that, too, is looming. I have encouraged Sara, who supports herself and her six-year-old son with her teaching, to think about how she could offer at least a few classes a week remotely.

I am not worried at present about the Zen Mountain Monastery group that I am teaching at 7am two days a week, since they have been in retreat as a group for over two weeks now and it will be the same cohort tomorrow and next week. And then a week off, and we will see what happens after that. And if next week doesn’t look good, I will cancel that, too.

The virus isn’t even here yet and we are all so stressed out.

In the studio, I tweaked and finished a few of my collages and am preparing canvases with my dark gesso blend. I have not been able to concentrate well with all of the phone calls and texting with sisters and Sara, and also my good friend Jenny.

These collages are small, 5″x5″ or 7″x5″, but a bit larger than I was doing last fall. They rely on my own dyed rice and mulberry papers which I arrange and  manipulate during their drying time to create interesting textures. This has been a new exploration within my collage groupings, allowing me to create open and simple arrangements on the boards. A few other types of papers and bit of paint here and there helps.

 

 

 

 

I might have to leave my phone in the house tomorrow and turn off NPR so I can focus on painting, which I need to do both for my deadlines (should they still apply) and for my sanity.

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Friday, March 13th

8:30am: Yoga last night was lovely, and Sara had worked hard to shift to safe prop use and also be reassuring. It might be the last class that I take for a while, and we will see about teaching on Sunday.

The Woodstock yoga studios closed down yesterday. There is one confirmed case in Kingston and four further south in Ulster Co. In light of the lack of a cogent federal response, especially in regard to testing for Covid-19, organizations are proactively closing down or canceling events. We should be following the Korean model of widespread testing, but there is no leadership at the top. Incredible that we can’t get this done. Hoping that NY State will manage.

At my 7am gig at the ZMM I left a note at the door asking people to bring their own props in from the other room (whereas, just Wednesday, I brought them all in ahead of time). This is to protect them as much as me. I wonder, in the silence of their Ango, do they even know what is going on? I don’t know what the guidelines are about digital media use.

This was my forth class there. I had initially been finding the inward nature and silence of their yoga practice within the retreat to be a little disquieting in a hard-for-me-to-read sort of way, compared to my classes at Catskills Yoga House.

Today, I found it calming.

I gassed up today on my way back from teaching, deciding to pay more at the Phoenicia place rather then later in Boiceville, a potentially more crowded stop. I am now calculating that the lower the per-capita usage is, the better the odds are of not encountering the virus.

Such thoughts seem like those of a paranoid crazy person. Despite the relatively early warning that I had with my tracking of the virus, at moments I cannot believe that this is our new reality. And it is going to get much, much worse—these decisions now are almost like a dress rehearsal.

5:15: I think I finished this 24″x36″, will know for sure when I give it a fresh look in the morning. In a way that is quite timely, I painted this piece to add to new works for my May online show with Butters Gallery in Portland.

 

Butters Gallery went to a digital and by appointment modality about a year and a half ago, but still have 10 or so pieces of mine on the website and in storage. We decided to combine these with work from my studio, which I will set aside for the duration of the show, shipping sold work from here.

It feels most appropriate to work this way at this point in time. We will see if anyone has any money to spend in mid-May and June, but at least the personal contact/social distancing piece has already been taken care of.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Studio

Snow Fields, 24″x30″.

 

This time of the year always brings of thoughts of change and transition, loss and renewal. As 2019 has rolled over into 2020, these reflections are much more intense, intricate, and prolonged for me, as I recently lost my mother…a major life event; a huge transition.

My father-in-law, not a religious man nor particularly self-reflective, used to have a timely  observation in times of trouble. It went something like this: “The chapters of the good book begin with ‘And it came to pass…’ They don’t begin with ‘And it came to stay…”

The things/people/practices that we love don’t always come to stay, any more than the difficult or painful situations. It is one of the things that is interesting about mindfulness practice, that as we focus on the moment, the moment is gone. And then the next, and the next, and the next…

My understanding of mindfulness is more like riding a wave, the mind following each moment along the way with focused attention. I discussed this form of happiness as it applies to a creative practice in an earlier blog post, “Creativity and Happiness”.

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/creativity-and-happiness/

And this brings us to the winter studio. As life is quieter and the colors less vivid outside of it than  during the warmer months, the potency of the creative life inside intensifies.

Snow cover bounces light into the studio and makes a perfect neutral foil for open color exploration within. Instead of open windows and doors inviting in the sound of the stream and birds, I often play the radio or listen to podcasts or music. The summer feel of expansiveness is replaced by a distillation of energy as focus narrows and intensifies.

 

Embracing Pink, oil on board, 3 panels of 8″x8″/8″x10″/8″x8″.

My winter work often feels sunlit. Without the canopy of leaves covering our hamlet in the central Catskills, the sun streams at a dramatic slant into my house, my studio, and the yoga studio where I practice and teach…and then is gone, as day moves quickly into evening. We count the minutes of returning daylight…

 

Angle of Light, 48″x48″, recently finished.

In December I ordered an enticing assortment of custom-stretched linen for my winter work, and now have, at the ready, this stack of canvases in an array of sizes and formats:

 

 

I started work immediately on the largest one, a 44″x66″, almost finished:

 

 

I am also generating ideas for my next Atlas Project installation, this one focusing on rivers and streams, exploring the ecology of my local watershed. In my Atlas/Forms of Water show I solved several problems that I saw carry over from the previous Atlas Project installation. At issue now are verbal/written components more than visual ones: how to get my “Mapping Memory” stories in a more accessible form; and how to bring more natural history and climate change discussion into the installation.

 

Riverbed Map #3, linocut/monotype on paper, 6″x12″; a map image of the Esopus, Stonyclove, and Warner Creeks; and the Oxclove that runs behind my studio.

I am seeing stream-like formations wherever I go…including places I have been many (for this  image, thousands!) of times. Can you tell what we are looking at?

 

 

And the other day I saw this gorgeous Motherwell painting in a catalogue that I have in my studio. Viewed vertically rather than as the horizontal that it is…another stream…

 

 

A few paint-mixing sessions with my good friend Jenny Nelson in her winter studio have yielded new teaching tools. My color-mixing workshop (next held at the WSA, June 22-23) brings the student back to primaries and how all color evolves from there, which is a very complex undertaking.

Our intention with this collaboration was to pretty much do the opposite of that detailed breaking down of color, instead creating simple, limited palette exercises—using mixtures or primaries from the tube— for new students or those who feel color-blocked.

 

First up: mixing neutrals from just a few tubes of mixtures.

 

I will use some of these prompts in my next workshop at the WSA. Constructing/Deconstructing the Landscape (April 17-19) focuses on compositional strength, so a few structured color shortcuts to augment this emphasis are a welcome tool.

 

Blues, keeping it simple.

 

Mixing a warm palette, just two colors and black and white.

These were the palettes that evolved as we brainstormed and mixed, discarding some earlier versions. Now we will each re-do these on paper in our studios with better placement and clear labeling for sharing with our students.

 

Greens. This more for my students!

 

Our ongoing conversations about our classes and workshops always include the abstract/landscape discussion, since Jenny teaches abstraction. Mixing color is one thing when you are using a reference of any sort, including working from life, even if you will likely want to tweak and adjust. It is quite another when you have not even a  suggestion of a road map and mixing your palette is the first step in figuring out your abstract painting on the easel.

Longtime friends, some cross-mixing, some laughter.

 

The collage exploration continues to fascinate me. I went from earlier just-barely-landscape versions (about 8-10 years ago) with altered papers, book bits, pattern paper, a bit of paint:

 

Wetlands, 6″x6″.

 

To the collaged maps, made with many bits of hand-dyed rice papers and other things (wasp wing, samara, dried leaves, pattern paper, old books, a bit of paint):

 

Hudson Canyon, collage on board, 12″x12″, 2018.

 

To a simplified version of the above, where I am working more with effects created while dying the papers, and then using larger swaths of them. Here are some of my latest:

 

Dancing Trees, 4″x12″.

 

Wrapped up in a Bow, 4″x4″.

 

Lost and Found, 4″x4″.

 

Conga Line, 4″x4″.

 

I am very pleased with this beautifully produced recording of my December interview with audience Q&A at Albert Shahinian Fine Art, by Brett Barry of Silver Hollow Audio.  The discussion ranges from my decades  of contemporary landscape painting to the environmental themes of my Atlas/Forms of Water show to the gallery-artist  relationship.  You can listen here:

 

 

I am doing final updates on the blog post about this Atlas Project show, which was the highlight of my exhibition season for 2019. Here is the link:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/atlas-forms-of-water-2019/

On this day of pouring snow, everything else I had planned has been canceled. And so, I get to be in here:

 

And soon enough, it will look like this:

 

Atlas/Forms of Water 2019

As the finale of this show and thus this post, I offer a beautifully produced recording of my interview with audience Q&A by Brett Barry of Silver Hollow Audio.  This discussion ranges from my decades  of contemporary landscape painting to the environmental themes of this show to the gallery-artist  relationship.  You can listen here:

 

 

 

 

Water is ease, water is in our dreams, water kills. Water is 60% of our bodies and covers 71% of the planet. We float, swim, sink, ride on, drink, cook and grow with, own, fight over, drown in, boil, crave, gaze at, and are mesmerized by water. It bears repeating: Water is life.

 

Welcoming Sea, 24″x72″, oil on linen, one of the two largest pieces in the show, 2019.

 

Water use has also been political since the beginning of our time on earth. As thirst, water rights and fights; severe storms; droughts, fires, floods; and sea level rise become increasingly critical on much of the planet, I have been catapulted into creating an expanded rubric for water imagery in my work. This focuses in on our environment and the challenges it faces, while continuing to celebrate the beauty our planet provides.

 

After the Rains Came, 24″x36″, oil on linen, 2019.

 

Atlas /Forms of Water maps the environmental theme while mapping my body of work, revealing a web of meaning around and between the individual pieces that I create. The matrix that connects all of my landscape imagery is saturated with memory, both personal and collective. To make these connections, I have created a site map for the body of work on view.

Maps functions as an aid to find our way. In this context, I am mapping our bodies and states of water; the paintings in the exhibit; memory and self; and threats to our environment, among other, more elusive things.

 

Site Map/Forms of Water. mixed media/collage and printmaking, 48″x36″.

The Site Map has small monotypes running up both sides that are interpretations of the major paintings in the show. The four other prints are a conversation about threats from global warming: bigger hurricanes in upper left; sea-level rise in upper right: and stream/river flooding in the two at bottom, before and after.

At the top, I have included topographical contours, a loose and flattened version of the Escarpment that curves around Woodstock and then runs north parallel to the Hudson River.

Mountains are the first source of our surface water, and the painting below includes that form of water visible as the Catskill Mountains rising above the back shore, as well as mists, a cloud, and the Hudson River.

 

Light that Glows, 32″x60″, 2016. (Sold.)

Another new collaged map for the show is of the NYC watershed, water tunnels included. New York City has negotiated—and renegotiated, multiple times—a pass on national regulations that mandate the filtering of drinking water. This exemption is a huge deal, and requires constant monitoring and regulation of the watershed townships within the areas shown, and many mandates for property owners to keep the water flowing into NYC reservoirs clean. While this makes our relationship to our larger neighbor to the south a complex and co-dependent one, it also has transformed our stewardship of our land and streams.

 

Map Collage, Watershed. 12″x12″, 2019.

 

The below same-size collage from the year before is of the Hudson Canyon, which is essentially an underwater extension of the Hudson River, extending southeast until it drops off the continental shelf.

 

Hudson Canyon, collage on board, 12″x12″, 2018.

 

Also in mixed media/collage, “Forms of Water: A Taxonomy”. This small tintype drawer contains the following seven categories, from the top row moving down: states and phases of visible water; geographical bodies of water; wetlands; types of clouds; storms; waves; and human made forms of water.

 

Forms of Water: A Taxonomy, 17″x11.5″, 49 mixed media/collage pieces in a vintage tintype tray, 2019. 

 

Creating pieces in vintage boxes, drawers, muffin pans, and child’s blackboards has been one of my ongoing series for some years now. It requires a listening attitude to select and then bend the imagery to work with the support that I have chosen, starting the process in a different way from a blank canvas. In the below piece, the box and the piece of wood that I painted on had elements that determined both what imagery I chose and how I painted it.

Snowplows at Work, oil on board in vintage box, 3″x7″, 2018. (Sold.)

 

Dusk Drive in 12, oil on board in a vintage muffin pan, 18″x11″, 2018.

 

For decades now, I have been devoted to painting fog, suspended water that softens our landscapes, sometimes obscuring, sometimes defining:

 

Blue Dawn, 12″x36″, oil on linen. (Sold.)

 

Blue/Green Mountain Fog, oil on 4″x12″ board, 2019. (Sold.)

 

Many of my paintings depict wetlands, so gorgeous and vital for controlling flooding caused by excessive rain events, storms, tidal flooding, and sea-level rise; as well as filtering sediment in water and providing  habitat for wildlife. Visually, salt marshes in particular create color and shape that I return to paint over and over again.

 

Summer at the Creeks, 36″x24″, oil on linen, 2018.

 

Angle of Repose, 40″x30″, 2015.

 

Summer Reflected, 12″X12″, oil on linen, 2014.

 

Manmade forms of water are included in the show, as seen in the flood image near the top and in the vertical painting below, which depicts a wetland developed by humans to cultivate cranberries.

 

Cranberry Bog, 48″x24″, oil on linen.

 

The pieces in the show include landscape imagery in oil on linen; monotypes; small works in oil on board; water imagery using vintage boxes, blackboards, and other containers/support; and map collages.

 

Gale, 16″x16″, oil on linen, 2019. (Sold.)

 

Stillness, 16″x16″, oil on linen, 2019.

 

Flow, 16″x16″, oil on linen, 2019. (Sold.)

 

Drift, 16″x16″, oil on linen, 2019.

 

I was motivated in fall of 2016 to move towards creating shows that place my open, color-field landscapes within a complex experiential web. Three major factors came into play at just that time.

 

Sky Meets Water, 18″x24″, oil on linen.

 

The first was anticipation of a residency in Nantucket scheduled for that winter, and this dovetailed with the second, some thoughts about turning 60 later on in 2018. Given that my background is in contemporary art and that I have always viewed my progressions in landscape painting through that lens; my question to self was—what do I want to do, now, that I haven’t yet?

Among my answers to this question was learning monoprint and linocut techniques, which I now employ both for stand-alone prints and also for the Site Map. Below, some recent monotypes.

 

Color Field in Blue/Green, 16″x10″, Monotype, 2018.

 

Overlook with River, 8″x10″, Monotype, 2019.

 

Waterfall #2, Monotype, 14.25×7.5, 2019.

 

Reflected Sun #2, 10″x16″. (Sold.)

 

The third factor was key. Feeling profound grief over the outcome of the 2016 election, my mind returned repeatedly to the single biggest issue on the table, climate change. The conviction that time is running out here and that four years could be critical was decisive in determining the direction that my work has since taken. The acceleration of bad news in this arena since then is eye-popping—sea level rise predictions alone are much, much higher and sooner than was predicted while I was researching the topic in my February, 2017 Nantucket residency.

 

Moving Storm, 20″x62″, oil on linen.

 

Flooded Roadway, oil on 6″x6″ board, 2018.

 

Snow and ice appear in my work and in the context of Atlas/Forms of Water, depict one of the main three phases of water, solid.

 

Fields of Snow, 12″x12″, oil on linen, 2012. (Sold)

 

Ebullient Winter, 18″x24″, oil on linen, 2018.

 

Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is invisible. The closest thing that is visible is steam, such as the image of a geyser below.

 

Geyser with Winter Sun, oil on paper, 3 panels of 4.5″/each, 2019.

 

Globally, precipitation has shifted so that many of the wet places are wetter and the dry locales are dryer. For this reason, I decided to create and include several pieces that depict water’s opposite, fire.

 

Fire #1, oil on 6″x6″ board. (Sold)

 

Fire #2, oil on 6″x6″ board. (Sold)

 

Fire Snake, oil on 4″x12″ board. (Sold)

 

My imagery is heavily weighted toward the Northeast of the United States, as that is where I have spent much of my life. But I could be anywhere on the planet, exploring the same themes, and I bring with me memories of living in the arid Andes and central Castile; painting in rain-soaked Western Ireland; traveling Northern California to capture the coastal golden hillsides of late summer; and returning to the Nebraska flatlands of my early childhood. It all informs the matrix. It is all water.

 

Red Sky over Tidal Flats, oil on 4″x12″ board.

 

Yellow Gleam, oil on 4″x12″ board.

 

Affinity/Dusk Shoreline, 12″x16″, 2014. (Sold.) My Affinity Series involves these steps: fraying the edges of a piece of raw linen and affixing it to a slightly larger board; priming the whole thing dark and then gridding with graphite; painting the image; selectively regridding over areas where the graphite got painted out.

 

Affinity/Lightening Storm, 16″x16″, oil on linen with distressed edges on board overlaid with graphite gridding, 2013.

 

2 Shores/Reflected Sun, 12″x12″.

 

Evening Shoreline, oil on linen, 12″X12″.

 

This show builds upon my Atlas/Hudson River Valley show in March of 2017, which you can read about here:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/atlas-project-hudson-river-valley-and-catskills/

 

Serene Sea/Quirky Cloud, 40″x40″, oil on linen, 2005/2019.

 

Overlook with Sparkling River, 16″x20″, 2019.

 

Soft Greys from Peaked Hill, 10″X30″, 2015. (Sold.)

 

We are collaborating with Riverkeeper and Catskill Mountainkeeper on a fundraising benefit October 12th, 5-8. That evening, 15% of sales will go to these vital local environmental organizations, as well as the proceeds of a raffle for this 12″x12″ painting:

Stormy Sea, 12″X12″.

(Note: Raffle was drawn on 11-16. Tickets were $20. We raised almost $1,300 from the raffle alone!) 

I was delighted to co-host this benefit for Riverkeeper and Catskills Mountainkeeper, as tie in to the environmental discussion of my Atlas Project. This a small way of giving back to those who are fighting to protect the gorgeous, biodiverse open spaces of land and water that I have been frequenting and painting for decades.
A number of people came to help make this event a success, a gift to ourselves; our children and grandchildren; and our own, beloved habitat. I gave a short talk on how this project came about; followed by Kathy Nolan of CMK, who will give us some pointers on how to reduce waste and our carbon footprint.
In addition to the raffle funds and the 15% of sales we donated that evening to CMK and RK, I  created a special edition of a dozen of these 3″x3″ and 2″x4″ collages–inspired by the verticals that I did for the Taxonomy piece in a tintype box—to be sold for $135/ea. that night only, as a way of offering an accessible price point. $25 of the price will go to the keepers.
 

 

 

.

 

Spring 2019

This last week of April/first in May I am hard at work preparing paintings to go to Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard. My sixth season with the gallery—and 20+ showing on the Vineyard—we are in a good groove together, and both excited about this line-up for the season.

 

Surging Swell, 48″x48″.

 

Menemsha Summer, 36″x66″.

 

Chillmark View, 40″x40″.

 

Summer Marsh with Junipers, 40″x40″.

 

Seaview Dusk, 18″x24″.

 

Setting Sun, 12″x12″.

 

For more, you can go to the gallery website:

http://www.louisagould.com/gallery/search/results/?q=Christie%20Scheele&exb_id=0&n=0&k=0&d=0&m=2&a=1&subject=0&medium=0&p=0&page=1

A recent sale at Louisa Gould Gallery was the winning selection of a fellow who thoroughly researched my galleries’ websites and then sent inquires about pieces that he liked to five different galleries. After careful consideration, this is what he chose:

 

Mutable Blues, 24″x36″.

 

______________________________________________________________

 

Reaching back to last winter…gone but not forgotten. I taught my Constructing/Deconstructing the Landscape workshop at the Woodstock School of Art. This is a very structured course, especially the first day+, dialing in on compositional shifts and how they affect movement, directionality, and mood. I always love what evolves, and this incarnation was no exception.

Here are a few of the student-executed exercises.

First, just hillside and tree or two in black gesso. Then move them around; change angle and division of picture plane; different type of tree. Several thought to break up the hillside.

 

These are all done by different students.

 

One student’s take during day #2, adding color and further tweaking the shapes.

 

Day #3, a another student’s painterly version.

 

This workshop feels like a slow flowering from tightly following direction early on to a much more open expression, integrating lessons learned along the way. I feel grateful for the trust that I am given to lead this guided work, since at the beginning of the workshop students feel a little hemmed in and have to go on faith that there are reasons for this, and that we are headed somewhere quite satisfying.

__________________________________________________________

The first quarter of 2019 has been busy not just in the normal progression of events, projects, and deadlines, but also unusually so in the shear number and complexity of sales. Some of these required a fair bit of waltzing on my part, often accompanied by one of my galleries or consultants and assisted by my husband.

As you can imagine, each of these has a story.

A few of these stories:

In late February a designer I work with in Piermont NY, Ned Kelly, called in regard to the large painting below, wanting to show it to a client who already owned a smaller piece of mine. So off we went, my husband and I, that painting and a few others in tow, to meet up with the designer at the client’s home.

 

Engaging Greens, 36″x66″.

The piece actually didn’t work in the planned spot, so Ned headed upstairs to look for another likely wall, finding it above the bed in the master bedroom, across from my smaller piece that they owned.

With five people in a huge house, conversations splintered off, grouping and regrouping. By the time the painting was settled upon and the below smaller piece brought in from the car and actually installed, we had ranged far and wide, through good-natured expletive-laced teasing and the performative appearance of a shot gun. Add in two gorgeous dogs and a couple of cute kids and you have the whole picture.

 

County Mayo in Summer, 10″x30″.

 

Shortly after that I picked up a phone message from a person unknown to me but with a familiar last name, inquiring about a piece on my website. She turned out to be the new wife of a long-time friendly acquaintance. He and his (now I am understanding) ex-wife had remained on my mailing list for some years since I had last seen them, and I had been picturing them together, with the visiting grown kids and grandkids, exactly where I had seen them every summer for about twenty years.

But big changes had taken place. His new wife wanted to purchase a piece for her husband for their 3rd wedding anniversary. Apparently, the first wife had gotten the painting that they owned in the divorce (something I hear fairly often, actually) and he had been forwarding my invitations and updates along to his new wife, expressing enthusiasm for my work.

I had assumed years of silence meant lack of interest. But this is why I don’t take anyone off my mailing list unless they ask to be removed—I never know who is looking and enjoying and who deletes without opening.

So, after much back-and-forth and a delivery of three pieces for a staged viewing on the anniversary itself, this five-part vertical seascape was selected. I even got to have lunch and catch up with my old friend when he brought the other two paintings back to my area.

 

Seablues with Sun, five panels of 8″x8″/ea.; 40″x8 overall.

There is something in this story that feels very rich to me, maybe starting with the fact that it spans decades of time. There is a lot of life-essence in it—changes, losses, new beginnings, time passing, reconnections, and tracing the timelines of entwined lives.

____________________________________________

 

We did a pop-up house party, a big collaborative effort, in Riverdale, NY. I hadn’t done one of these since the several that I did about a decade ago with Asher Nieman Gallery:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/open-studio-house-party/

My co-conspirators this time were Albert Shahinian Fine Art, my husband, and my sister and brother-in-law, who opened up their apartment for the event. With this crew I had a driver; art handlers; a chef; a party planner; and a galleriest. Lucky me!

 

The living room with artwork installed for the party.

 

A low-light hallway where these three 12″x12″s worked very nicely.

 

Below, a few of the pieces that departed for new homes:

 

Sundrenched Saltmarsh, 20″x16″.

 

Blue Dusk, oil on board in vintage drawer, 12″x3″x2d”.

 

The View from There #2, monotype, 10″x16″.

 

_______________________________________________________

 

I have two very different workshops coming up in May and June in the Catskills.

At the Emerson Resort in Mount Tremper, for all levels, an exploration of the imagery of our beautiful Catskill Mountains in May color:

Arts & Culture Packages

And in June, for more experienced painters looking to explore a different concept:

 

https://woodstockschoolofart.org/course/multiple-panel-paintings/

 

On deck in my studio is another incarnation of my environmentally -themed Atlas Project.  Atlas/Forms of Water, a solo show, will open at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck this September, exact date TBA.

This show will feature all sorts of water imagery along with a new site map, in progress below. Along with the oil paintings, look for map pieces in collage and lino/mono print exploring climate change and sea level rise/storm flooding.

Site map for Atlas/Forms of Water, 48″x36″, in progress.

This builds on the show that I had at Thompson Giroux Gallery last spring, Atlas/Hudson River Valley (you can see the site map for that show in the upper left background). If you missed seeing or reading about the show, here is the link to my blog post on it:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/atlas-project-hudson-river-valley-and-catskills/

Forms of Water explores a more a global rather that locale-specific theme, though my personal forms of water have most often been experienced in the Northeast.

 

Harbor with Shifting Light, 18″x24″.

 

Also upcoming, a small duo show with my friend Polly Law at the Roxbury Arts Group; more workshops; and fresh work heading to Nantucket. More on all of this soon!

 

If you are not on my mailing list and would like to be, contact me at scheeleart@gmail.com.

 

Sweetest Sales, Part Two

In 2011 I wrote a post describing some quirky and heartwarming stories that led to a sale or sales of my work:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/sweetest-sales

 

Since then, I have accumulated a few more that I want to share.

 

My seven-year-old collector:

Several years ago I was approached by acquaintances who live in our little hamlet. Could their younger daughter interview me for a school project on her favorite artist?

Juliet had accompanied her father Brett to an open studio I had hosted several months prior, and so thought of me (the other kids did mostly Picasso or Van Gogh, I think!).

So we did that, and then Juliet returned to my studio for a private art class. Her mom, Rebecca–who I barely knew, at that point—read in the yard while we did our session, and at the end she came into the studio and we chatted. Juliet was still quite shy at that time, but summoned her courage to ask me how much I charged for my paintings. Her mother feared that the question was rude, but I said, no, that asking for price in an artist’s studio was perfectly acceptable.

So I pointed to a 36″x36″ and said, “This painting will go out to one of my galleries shortly and is priced at $6,000”, and then I pointed to a few other pieces in a stack and continued, “but those pieces in this stack” and I pulled out one that had been in the possession of my sister for years, “are much, much older and I will sell to a friend for a few hundred dollars”.

Her mom and I continued chatting, and then Juliet tugged on her  mothers clothing. “MOM, I want to buy a painting.” Rebecca was floored and a little embarrassed, so I picked up what I thought was just a conversational ball. “Juliet, if you were going to buy a painting, which one would it be?

“That one”—she pointed to the stack, where I had stashed the earlier piece behind a few others. I pulled it out again. “I want to buy THAT one.” Her mom tried to backtrack, or at least table the conversation for later, but Juliet was having none of it. “How much would you charge me for it?”

I thought quickly. I could certainly have happily gifted her the piece, it was clear that she wanted to purchase it. So I told her that I would sell that painting to her for $150. “MOM, she said, I have savings and I WANT to buy the painting.” It went back and forth like that for a bit, Juliet also insisting that they take the painting NOW.

And so they did.

Her parents made the great call to have her go with them to the bank and make her first ever withdrawal and then bring me the money herself.

The angelic-looking and very strong-willed young artist:

 

 

I have since enjoyed getting to know the whole family better, as Brett and Rebecca have acquired a few pieces of their own and we have shared a glass of wine or two.

 

“Blue Ridges”, also in the family’s collection.

 

__________________    _____________________________________________    ____________________

 

She googled “Moody Greenscapes”:

 

“Hi,

I was wondering if Green Waves was available?  I have a perfect spot for this painting in my new home and love the story behind this piece on your blog.”
Here is the post that she found:
This sort of email often leads to a discussion about the shipper because…you guessed it…it is a scam.
But of course, I answered politely, not knowing that for sure:
“Yes, the piece is at my gallery in Rhinebeck, Albert Shahinian Fine Art. Someone has been nibbling on it, but has not yet moved.
I am glad that you like the story, as of course, do I!
Where do you live? Would we be delivering (nyc metro area) or shipping? I will loop the gallery in as soon as we figure a few things like that out.”
Then it became clear that we had a price misunderstanding, because there was the big piece itself:

 

 

Green Waves, 13″x76″ overall, oil on linen.

 

And the study for the piece:

 

Second and final small version of Green Wave., oil on paper, 5″x28″.

 

So that was just about that for that, as she explained:

 

“Unfortunately I was hoping the price of the piece was the other one I had seen online since $8,000 is definitely beyond our budget.  This would only be my second piece of original art so we are just now starting out.
I certainly appreciate your response though and congratulate you on beautiful work.  I found you from doing a google image search. I knew I wanted a moody greenscape and from one click to another I found Green Waves.”
Meanwhile, I did offer to look for a different piece:
“If I charged that price for the larger one, it would not even cover the cost of the frame, I am afraid, after gallery commission. This is an expensive business to be in!
If you would like to carry this a little further (I would be honored to be represented in your second piece of original art), we might be able to find something more affordable that you like.”
And then, some communication–she really did love that piece, and it was perfect for her spot—some silence—a bit of dickering— discussion with her husband—much back and forth between me and my galleriest Albert Shahinian—but only about a month later, altogether:
“I can’t believe I get to have Green Waves in our home.  I am so excited. I still cannot believe that not only did I spend so much on a piece of real actual art (instead of all the TJmaxx wall decor I have going on), but that I did so on a piece without first seeing it in person.  All that being said there is no doubt in my mind.  I LOVE love this piece and know i will love it even more in our home.”
And then finally, after Albert packed and shipped the long, heavy piece:
“It’s breath taking.
Thank-you”
____________    ______________________________________________    _____________

Painting from 1987:

A few months ago I received an email from a fellow asking about the inspiration for this painting:

 

Sisters painting, 40″x50″, 1987.

I have to say, I was very excited to see this piece, to me a standout from my abstract figurative period in the 1980’s when I was living in NYC. I remembered the sale of it to a woman who was accustomed to collecting high-end work, and I had always wondered if/how long she had held onto it. Frankly, given what else she had on her walls in her Sutton Place apartment, I was afraid that it had ended up in a dumpster.

It turned out that she does indeed really love her art–all of it, no dumpsters—even those pieces that have been switched around to different residences and in and out of storage. A few years ago, she offered to gift this piece to her sometimes personal assistant/friend and her husband. And so, it ended up in their California home…and sparked the inquiry.

I was communicating with Rich, the husband, batting info back and forth. Eventually, it was his idea to purchase two small pieces to go on either side, accommodating their budget. After studying the photo of their living room with the painting (which we started calling simply the “Sisters” painting, as is is a stylized image of me with my sister Karin behind me), I realized that monotypes would be the best bet, both for color/affect and for price. I recommended going with the pop of warm color that is in the painting, rather than trying to match the greens.

Then the couple decided that they wanted two more prints, for other spots in the room. I sent the four of them off and the next day got the email below:

“Love them! Thank you.  I can’t wait to get them framed!

Love them, love them, love them!”

Framing options—the final decision was the warm mat, since these two are printed on ochre-colored paper.

 

These are the other two that they acquired:

 

Monotype/Divided Fields.

 

Monotype/Mountain Stream.

 

________________    ______________________________________________    _______________

 

Does a gift qualify as a sale?

Some 12 or so years ago we had a holiday party and Gary Alexander, art and science writer from Woodstock, came with his girlfriend. He had been introduced to me years before by my then-gallery, the James Cox Gallery, and had gone on to, over time, write extensively about my work. (This included an 8 page article that got into Freud and brain science and required some serious focus, even for me.)

I had my studio heated and lit that night for those who wanted to take a look, and Gary, of course, did. After a bit of circulating on his part, we went out together and he pretty quickly got snagged by a 36″x36″ painting that was almost totally in black and white, big stormy sky gleam over our Catskill mountains backlit to black.

I can’t find a jpeg of the piece, but it had a look very similar to this one, but with a black mountain range in front:

 

 

 

A bit later, when I went back out with another friend, Gary’s partner was kneeing on the floor, rapt, in front of the same painting.

A few months later, this piece began to—ugh!—develop fine cracks in the surface. It was a new brand of stretched linen I had tried, quite pricey, and I think now was actually stretched too tight, a rare thing. Sadly, this painting was not going out to one of my galleries, even though these cracks were not visible from a few yards back.

I knew immediately what to do. I called Gary and left a message on his machine. Can you come by the studio, I have a surprise for you?

He was there within the hour. A gentle, laconic fellow, he did not stay around to chat after I gave him the painting, but his face said it all.

I am quite sure that it was the last time I saw him. He passed away in 2017.

I hope his girlfriend is still enjoying  the painting.

 

________    _______________________________________________________    _________

 

To Madrid on the private jet:

 

One more, a quick one, because that is how the sale happened.

 

In June of 2017 a fellow was drawn into my gallery on Martha’s Vineyard, the Louisa Gould Gallery, by a very large marsh painting in the window. That piece was too big, but sitting still wrapped in the gallery was my season’s delivery, dropped by my husband earlier that day. The fellow, from Madrid, helped unwrap a new 44″x68″, and fell in love with the piece instantly. His wife concurred. Problem was, would it fit in their private jet?

Just then, his pilot walked by the front of the gallery and was promptly hailed. Would this piece fit? Hurried consultation in Spanish. Yes, it would!

The piece was wrapped back up and invoiced and paid for, and out the door it went.

The whole encounter took about 20 minutes.

 

Rolling Cloud, 44″x68″.

 

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I have been steadily selling my work for decades, resulting in many hundreds of pieces going out to homes, offices, and public collections around the country and the world. These stories remind me to be grateful for each and every one of those sales, but you can see that most of the ones that stick with me  are not necessarily big in dollar amount, but big in heart.

 

Eagle Above, Fish Below: Summer 2018

The surface of a body of water is a reflective, moving, open expanse. Beneath it, the water roils with life—rooted or crawling or burrowing or swimming, lifeforms going about their business of feeding off of each other and reproducing and eventually dying. Above it, life also carries on.

Sky Meets Water, 18″x24″.

One day last July, while staying on Otsego Lake near Cooperstown, NY, I headed to the dock to sit and gaze at the water for a few moments. Looking down at the dock to find my seat, I heard a throaty, loud honk/squack. We had been enjoying visits all week from a mama duck and her nine ducklings, so my first thought as I turned my head was, “that was not a duck!”.

Nothing behind me, but as I straightened to face the side I was now seated at, I saw an adult eagle taking off from the water about 25 feet in front of me. It had been addressing my intrusion, I think!

Shortly after, I decided to make a call to my friend Jenny, with whom I had been playing phone tag. I got her voicemail, and the message went something like this: “Hi Jenny, we’re playing phone tag but I am around today so give a  OH MY GOD THAT IT THE BIGGEST *#!%ING FISH I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A LAKE GOTTA GO BYE”.

The fish was directly below my dangling feet, at least two feet across, lit up by slanting sunlight. I know there are fish in these waters, despite an altered ecology due to Zebra mussels—my husband has caught some other years from our small boat and I have seen them feeding off of bugs at sunset. And yet, it was as if this big fish had crawled up on land and joined us on the deck for cocktails, such was my sense of worlds colliding.

I am puzzling out, ever since, what was so startling about this fish sighting. After all, I have been among whales in our 16 foot boat off Race Point in Provincetown—including a pod of killer whales; froliked with a mola and some dolphins in the harbor; snorkled off St. Thomas among all sorts and sizes of sea life.

I think that my jolt of surprise was about expectations, so often the case. I had for days been focused on the surface reflections, and I lost track of the awareness of how much is going on underneath and that during my daily swims, I was intruding upon their busy world. Seeing this large fish directly under my feet brought that crashing back.

As artists we are concerned with both surface appearance and deeper function and meaning. The surface is mesmerizing and ever-changing, feeding our visually-linked emotional hunger, and soothing our quotidian bumps and bruises. The complicated churn beneath, however, mirrors life in its day-to-day, demanding a nuanced and dedicated attention.

 

Indigos with Glowing Light, 18″x24″.

 

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This summer has served to remind me of how much I appreciate my galleries. It can be rewarding, sometimes, to hop off that train and do something self-generated like an open studio or studio tour; or an event at a non-gallery venue. But ultimately, a gallery is where people go to view and buy art. It is a business whose purpose is to exhibit and sell art, and therefore all effort is going to that end.

Invitations generally go out in a timely fashion, instead of getting buried in the more pressing things that a non-gallery venue might have to attend to. The galleriest installs the show, with beautiful results based on years of experience. Folks walk in off the streets who are interested in art; search for the local galleries when visiting; respond to invites. A showing of a grouping of selected works in a collector’s home gets on the schedule without delay, follow-ups are done to inquiries as a matter of course…and so on.

Rokeby Meadow, 24″x30″, at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY.

That said, the mom-and-pop galleries struggle to stay afloat, with many more friends and lookers than buyers. So collectors, please support your favorite galleries!

 

Familiar Reds, 11″X14″, at Butters Gallery in Portland, OR.

And if you are an artist with gallery representation, this is how you can help:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/the-art-ethicist-your-relationship-with-your-gallery/

 

Forms of Water, 30″x36″, at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY.

 

Harbor with Sunset Mists, 24″x36″, at Thomas Henry Gallery, Nantucket.

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I had a lovely time teaching this past June in Woodstock and August on Nantucket, with a full house for my color-mixing workshop in both places.

My Woodstock group.

These are the demo pieces that came out of the two landscape workshops:

 

Summer Haze, pastel on paper, 12″x18″.

 

Saltmarsh with Soft Sky, 24″x36″.

 

Seablues with Brilliant Fog, 16″x20″.

 

Three Posts, 12″x24″.

My week on Nantucket was filled with not only with my wonderful students, but also with salt air and good food and warm friendship.

I organized an informal gathering at Thomas Henry Gallery so that my students could see my work there, all of the sea or the island:

A grouping of my work at Thomas Henry Gallery.

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The Woodstock School of Art invitational Monothon in July was a printmaker’s dream. Imagine having a printing staff at your beck and call, both master printmakers and monitors, facilitating your every move. Master printmaker Anthony Kirk guided and facilitated my hoped-for plan, my first monotype triptych (and then a few more).

 

 

Wave Triptych, three panels of 8″x10″, headed for a show at Albert Shahinian Fine Art.

 

One 8″x10″ was chosen from each participating artist, to be sold at the show there opening September 8th, 3-5pm This is my donation print that will be featured, followed by some of my other wave monotypes.

https://woodstockschoolofart.org/event/woodstock-monoprint-invitational-exhibition-2/

 

8″x10″.

 

10″x16″.

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We will be featuring monotypes and my vintage series, along with oil paintings, in my grouping for the upcoming four-artist show at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY, their yearly Luminous Landscape exhibition. The show opens on September 29, 5-8pm.

 

 

Cloud over Green Valley, monotype, 8″x10″.

 

Dusk Drive in 12, oil on board in a vintage muffin pan, 18″x11″.

 

Reflected Sun, 32″x48″.

 

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Several of my summer sales:

 

Gleaming, 12″x24″, sold by the Julie Heller Gallery, Provincetown, MA.

 

Swirling Winter Sky, 20″x24″, sold by the Woodstock School of Art.

 

One of my favorite pieces from the past decade, Perceived Acuity pleases me for its simplicity, movement, elegant shapes, and unusual color:

“Perceived Acuity”, 18″x52″, sold by the Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven, MV.

 

Serene Sengie, 44″x68″, sold by the Louisa Gould Gallery.

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Link to in-studio available works in oil and on paper:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/available-workstudio/

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/available-workstudioworks-on-paper/

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Coming right up, my teaching week in Provincetown, Sept. 17th for Color Mixing and 18-20th for the Landscape Painting Intensive. If you are feeling inspired and spontaneous, come and join us!

 

Provincetown, 20″X30″, at the Julie Heller Gallery, Provincetown.

 

Also upcoming: another residency on Nantucket in November. My focus there and in my studio will be on Atlas/Forms of Water, from the sky to the land to the ocean, and everywhere in between.

 

Affirmation in Blues, 36″x72″ overall, at Louisa Gould Gallery, MV.