Our hot, dry June has been a boost for my studio work, and with some ample watering, my garden as well.
Paintings have been drying readily in the yard, allowing me to move onto painting another layer or dry a finished piece after just a day of sunshine.
Castle, 18″x52″, available for viewing in my yard/studio.
Tidal Creek with Mackerel Sky, 48″x24″, now safely delivered to the Louisa Gould Gallery on MV.
First up in my news, I am open to scheduling yard/studio visits. I have contemplated an open studio/yard event, but am not ready for that quite yet, and also continue to be busy with painting deadlines. Maybe I will feel ready in a few weeks, or in August.
One of the reasons that I hesitate is because I have seen many of my friends and neighbors relax their guard around closer contact with others and mask wearing. The more that happens the more we become, as a community, a network with multiple access points, as far as the virus is concerned. We need to circle back to what we have learned: we cannot trust anyone, not even ourselves, to not have the virus. The virus is entirely untrustworthy, and not in our control. And growing, nationwide. So, distancing and masks—same old lesson. Rinse, repeat.
That said, the outdoors now provides us with wonderful opportunities for safe encounters. So if you would like to visit my studio, we can select a nice-weather day, and with masks you can take a turn around my studio and ask to see particular pieces outside on one of my tables or an easel.
I have done quite a bit of this sort of contact, taking walks with friends and having a BYO everything picnic, 10-12 feet apart with masks and 3-4 feet with them. You get used to it, though it remains hard with family. And if this reminder is a downer, I am as weary of it as anyone, but see no other course that makes any sense but to stay the course…and live fully in every other possible way.
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In exciting June news, the delivery to Martha’s Vineyard of this season’s new pieces has been safely accomplished, and the Louisa Gould Gallery reopened a few weeks back, following the Massachusetts timeline and protocols.
Long Wave, 12″X48″.
Tidal Creek with Summer Greens, 24″x24″.
Soft Glow over Tidal Flats, 30″x60″.
My other galleries that have been able to reopen are Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck (weekends only), with a large selection of my work:
Overlook with Sparkling River, 16″x20″, 2019.
Summer Hillside, 30″x30″.
And Gallery Jupiter in Little Silver, NJ:
Summer Moors, 2 panels of 12″x12″/ea.
Affinity/On the Grid, 36″x48″.
My online show with Butters Gallery continues. A piece that they have in Portland, OR, was in my thoughts earlier today when we had a strong thunderstorm, complete with hail:
Catskills with Walking Rain, 36″x36″.
The View from Here, 24″x36″, in the online show and currently in my studio.
Link to the work in the show:
As I prepare to begin work on another commissioned painting, I still have a glow from the recently finished one, a 6’x8′ canvas installed in a private home at the beginning of this month. Here is my blog post on this ambitious piece created during the constraints of the shutdown, in case you missed it:
Recent sales have included these pieces, through the Louisa Gould Gallery:
Summer Marsh with Junipers, 40″x40″, 2019.
Seaview Dusk, 18″x24″.
And this one, through Albert Shahinian Fine Art:
Last but most definitely not least, I am teaching my color-mixing workshop remotely through the Woodstock School of Art, 10-11 am for four Mondays in July, starting July 6th. It has been an enjoyable challenge consolidating the information to fit into the time frame; the live-stream requirements and limitations; and to a lecture/demo rubric (as opposed to my usual conversational style). You can see more here:
CHRISTIE SCHEELE COLOR MIXING FOR PAINTERS ONLINE COURSE
If you are an artist who works with color, how would you mix these greens? Green is very complex because it is to begin with a secondary color, made up of blue and yellow. So, it can go toward the yellow or toward the blue; also toward the brown; and then there are tints, tones, and shades. The below doesn’t even go very brown or yellow, but you could still mix a palette with dozens of colors to capture the nuance.
Happy greens of summer!
June 29, 2020 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, atmospheric landscapes, Bannerman's Island, blues, career artist, castle, Catskills, color and mood, color mixing, composition, green marsh, Hudson River paintings, in the studio, life during coronavirus, lonely road, Louisa Gould Gallery, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, mixing greens, monochromatic painting, Mountain paintings, Overlook Mountain, sand flats, seascapes, staying safe, studio practice, summer color, summer gardens, summer greens, sunsets, thunderstorm, tidal creek, vertical landscapes, water is life, wave painting, weather, Woodstock School of Art, workshops | Leave a comment
Sunday, March 29:
My twins birthday today!
Tessa called last night from a remote, safe house in Wisconsin. The group of eight came out of the woods and started reading the news, and now they really understand what is going on. They will stay together and not have contact with others, then go back in today and finish maple sugaring in the next few weeks. She is thinking that she might just stay with those who live in the house for the duration. She was very happy to hear about the federal $1,200, since her season to work is April-October, and that work is in VT and probably does not exist right now.
Early spring in the Catskills, my (forced) forsythia catching some golden light.
This is the first finished painting on board, 6″x12″. This version is on a deep board that can sit on a shelve or table, as requested by Jupiter Gallery.
One of my big frustrations in the past few days, besides of course dangerous mixed messages from Potus, is this wishful-thinking theme of “oh, I had it, I am sure that I did, and the whole neighborhood, as well.” In some cases, in December, even November…yeah, uhum. The sad sorry thing is…you think it went through your community like a gentle flu, with no deaths or hospitalizations? You are so blessed that of all communities worldwide, mind you (because there is no record of this happening, anywhere globally), that now your community is safe, done?
Many but not all of those indulging in this dangerous narrative are followers of Trump’s continued undermining of the measures needed for containment. But at least yesterday Fauci and Birx managed to convince him that easing stay-at-home restrictions by Easter — dear god — would cost us thousands of lives and the guidelines were extended through April.
I’ll be zoom teaching my first online yoga class on Wednesday. It’s got its limitations, the modality, but it’s what we’ve got for now. After teaching the Zen Mountain Monastery classes with just a mat and a block per student and wrapping up in about 50 minutes, I am confident that I can safely adapt my classes.
This will be a gentle, basics 1-hour class, appropriate for beginners and those who have not practiced for a spell. Here is the link to the Catskills Yoga House website with instructions on how to sign up:
March 30, 2020 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: art in hard times, atmospheric landscapes, blog diary, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Catskills, Catskills Yoga House, color field, covid-19 self-isolating, Gallery Jupiter Little Silver, minimalist landscapes, moody landscape, seascapes, self-isolating, staying safe at home, studio practice, sunsets, yoga, yoga teacher, zooming yoga | 1 Comment
Tuesday-Thursday, March 24-26:
In the past few days we have seen the news become worse and worse, with the NYC metro area suffering huge numbers of infected and new infections mounting exponentially. The issue of New Yorkers fanning across the country to flee—or just wait out— the problem is finally much in the news, with some states requiring quarantine.
This has been on my mind here in the Catskills, where every second or third home is a weekend place and many others are AirBnB investment properties, currently rented. I would do the same if I lived in nyc and had a place up here, but I would have come up weeks ago and then stayed, like my sister and brother-in-law did. It’s the recent arrivals that pose a risk to us all.
However, we are all supposed to be behaving as if we and every other person has it. I would say that, for those coming from the global epicenter, this should extend to face masks while shopping. And, since recently trailhead parking lots in the Skills are full when the weather is nice, remembering to keep your six feet from other hikers—it’s easy to forget while out in the fresh air. Gloves and speed at the post office, as many of us in this rural area have to pick up our mail.
On the whole, it seems that folks are good and buttoned up in their homes, as they should be, wherever they come from. Since we have a lovely series of hiking trails just up my dead-end road, our road is always the choice for neighborhood dog walkers and hikers, and it is so nice to stop for chats, as in the past, but with more distance between us. I haven’t seen many of the new arrivals in this mix, but we are all good as long as we maintain our six feet.
Cases are mounting in Ulster County, though we have had only one in Shandaken for quite a while now (maybe a week, in our new telescoped time). Otsego County, where my Dad lives in Oneonta, went from zero to five in the past few days. My dear friend Di (known locally as “Dr. Di” and also my Dad and his partner’s yoga teacher) is now City Health Officer for preparedness for Covid-19. When we chatted the other night she described their local efforts, but there had yet to be a known case in the county. I am sure that they are now on higher alert to avoid community spread.
In other Covid-19 news, the NY Times published an article yesterday by a woman in NYC whose husband has a pretty bad case—just teetering on hospitalization—and how she and her 16-year-old daughter are coping with nursing him and trying not to get it themselves. It is clear that at his level of misery, there is no way he could take even the most basic care of himself.
This brought it home in a very concrete way, since with this illness all previous protocols are out the window. Family is not supposed to step in, no one is supposed to get near—the only help can come from folks dropping off needed supplies, whether medical or food. Each household, no matter how small, is on it’s own, with a bit of doctor’s advice and the worst case solution of being hospitalized.
I am glad that we have worked so hard within our household to stay safe, though we could still, of course, be unlucky.
Daughter Tessa called yesterday, just a check in before she goes back into the Minnesota woods to continue maple sugaring until her original target date of April 13 or 14th. It was so great to hear her voice.
I had left her a voicemail with a little bit of info on what’s going on in this country, and she seemed unable to let go of the idea that Jack and I are reacting with outsized anxiety. It is such an unprecedented situation that if you are not living it, of course it would seem like that…
She is now with only six others of the original crew, all having ben there for over a month, safe and happily out of contact with the world. How she will get back here to pick up her car, and then onto her Vermont home has yet to be determined. I am dead set against using her plane ticket to Newark.
In the studio I finished the sand flats painting, Soft Glow over Tidal Flats, 30″x60″:
I wonder when I will see the sea again? Almost surely not the first of May, as originally planned, for my seasonal drop-off at Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard.
Work is also progressing on the watershed Site Map; here, a detail of the most developed sections:
I have started painting the planned small oil-on-board pieces.
I am so focused on these projects that the studio constantly calls to me…I would happily spend even more time there every day, but there are both necessary and lovely other things to do—yoga, hike, cook, yard work, read, paperwork and phone calls (Jack’s job is shut down for the duration and mine—who knows?—so we are applying for all of the things), and all of the email and phone connecting with friends and family.
March 27, 2020 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: art in hard times, atmospheric landscapes, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Catskills, color field, creative focus, life during coronavirus, minimalist landscape, seascapes, studio life, sunsets, tidal flats | Leave a comment
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″.
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:
Forms of Water, 30″x36″, at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY.
Harbor with Sunset Mists, 24″x36″, at Thomas Henry Gallery, Nantucket.
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.
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.
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″.
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.
Link to in-studio available works in oil and on paper:
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.
September 7, 2018 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, art collecting, Artist's Association of Nantucket, Atlas/Forms of Water, atmospheric landscapes, Butters Gallery Portland OR, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Catskills, christie scheele, color mixing, fog, headlights, Hudson River paintings, Julie Heller Gallery, Louisa Gould Gallery, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalist landscape, monotypes, moody landscape, Nantucket landscapes, pastels, Provincetown Artists Association, seascapes, sunsets, teaching, Thomas Henry Gallery, Thompson Giroux Gallery, vertical landscapes, weather, Woodstock School of Art, workshops | 4 Comments
Some time back I wrote a post to inform fellow artists what they can do to encourage sales, behave ethically, and in general help their relationship with their gallery grow.
I always intended to write a partner post from the artist’s perspective: what can our galleries do to be responsive to us, encouraging open communication and trust?
I have for years maintained a positive attitude toward my galleries, always grateful for their hard work and the skills that they bring to their job. At the same time, I am repeatedly struck by certain patterns of behavior that make my life more difficult. My career artist friends are often adversely impacted by exactly the same things.
Just as I am always counseling other artists—and myself—not to make life more difficult for our art dealers, this discussion is centered on how gallerists can avoid behaviors that wear us down and potentially waste time for all involved. Since most of my galleries do avoid these habits most of the time, I know it is possible. (And we need to forgive the occasional lapse, just as we hope that they will forgive ours.)
At a reception for a group show of gallery artists at Albert Shahinian Fine Art.
The pay discussion is always a big one. Many galleries have a set policy of paying for this month’s sales on the first or the 15th of next month. Galleries often argue that, just like any other retail business, they pay artists out of the overall earnings rather than specifically from the sale of your piece. This works out well when/if they pay on time, because the artist can count on when to expect the check, but not so well when the days slide by and your mailbox remains empty.
One thing to point out here is that unlike other retail businesses, galleries don’t have to buy inventory. The artists own the inventory, and when a piece of theirs sells, half of that money is theirs. One gallerist of mine said it best years ago: “I like to pay the artist right away because if that money sits in my account for any length of time I’ll start thinking it’s mine.”
I had a gallery for a period of years that sold my work well but often was very late in paying. The argument from the dealer was that they had to keep the doors open, and so would pay rent, electric, and so on, first. Basically, then, the pay-policy was eventually-after-some-time-has-gone-by-I’ll-start-looking-around-and-see-if-I-have-money-to-pay-you-but-if-not-you’ll-have-to-wait. It was excruciating, the waiting and the not-knowing. They had received payment for their 50% and mine both, and yet I was left to beg for my money—-and was essentially floating them a loan.
This can lead to other kinds of disfunction. The gallery in this case would often avoid my phone calls that were on other matters—things that were directed at bringing us business—because they owed me money and feared being asked. So we both potentially lost money.
Artists calling and nagging about money makes everyone feel bad about each other. But to reiterate an important point: most often we are not demanding nor begging, but simply looking for info on an ETA for our money.
What is my advice to galleries?
-Have a clear pay-policy, whether it’s as-soon-as-the-check-clears or a date next month. If the former–and we all so appreciate the immediate payment–and the gallery has need to wait a week or so to pay, tell the artist. If the latter, send checks out when you say you will. In a busy season it might be hard to find the time to sit down and write a big stack of checks for all of the previous month’s sales, but make it a priority. If for any reason checks will unavoidably be late that month, inform your artists.
-If an artist calls or emails to inquire, give a short answer right away. “Just got paid–sending you a check Monday.” “Waiting for payment.” “In the mail.” “Your contract says the 15th of next month.” Bear in mind that even if the answer is “two weeks from now”, you are giving the artists the consideration of info with which to plan how to pay their bills. And to repeat: it is the artist’s money. It’s not that you need to keep every artist updated on the payment status of every sale, but answering direct questions is a simple courtesy.
Which leads me to another source of stress and feelings of disrespect for the artist.
For all of us who have reached a certain level in our career, we are there because we are responsive to our galleries. I have curated group shows and I regularly organize my mentoring meetings and groups for emerging artists, so I understand well how organizing artists can truly be like herding cats. However, galleries generally cannot operate if artists don’t ship work or send jpegs when they say they will, and those artists who have a pattern of flaking out tend to fall by the wayside.
So when one of my galleries asks me for anything, it behooves me to respond fully and quickly. Sometimes requests could have been made earlier and there would be less stress all around, but those are typical job-related problems. So, if they ask me to jump, I do it right away. If I am traveling without my laptop (which is rare and only for a few days), I do the short reply: “Traveling without access to my files, but I’ll send you jpegs on Sunday evening when I am home”.
The problem comes in when the situation is reversed and I need some info from them. Often my questions have to do with serious planning issues that, just like the gallery, I have to settle so that I know when I am showing where and what pieces are going to which gallery. Sometimes I can wait painfully long for these answers, preventing me from settling dates and artwork for other galleries.
I imagine that part of the issue here is that a number of the artists that I show with may have only a gallery or two, so they don’t have the stress of the juggle. If their show is going to be July or August, it isn’t always a big deal to wait to find out. But for those of us who show with multiple galleries, this comes back to the two-way street: if I am to be understanding that you, the gallery, are juggling multiple artists (as well as clients and PR and so on, of course) and I am not the only one in your pantheon, I would like you to understand that I am juggling multiple galleries, schedules, ferries, accommodations, and artwork. And I want to do right by everybody.
So, advice for the gallery:
If you don’t have the answer to my question yet, please acknowledge the email or phone call. It feels really bad to be ignored. It also is a big waste of energy for one party to have to send reminder emails repeatedly. Again, short answer is fine, “working on it!”, or “we’ll decide by next week”.
A third bit of communication that varies from gallery to gallery is when they notify the artist of a sale. Often, when new to a gallery, I just let this evolve over time and get a feel for their M.O.
But then, just when you think you know that X gallery will email you within a few days of making a sale, you get a check–maybe even a big one—from sales for last month. Well, on the one hand, who doesn’t love a surprise check? But on the other, maybe it is a slow spell and you have been stressing for weeks about where your next check is coming from, so if they had notified you sooner you could have avoided all of that worry.
Have a policy (which some galleries do have, stated in their contract) on when you notify artists of a sale. Within the week certainly seems doable. As a point of trust, we will rarely know exactly when a sale or payment takes place, so we always assume that our galleries are telling us the truth. Period.
(Just for the record, there are several reasons why an artist will promptly take their leave from a gallery. One is if somehow the artist receives reliable info that dates of sales have been fudged in order to avoid timely payment. Another is if a gallery gets caught padding prices and putting the extra in their own pockets. But this post is not about egregiously unethical behavior on the part of a few galleries but instead about unintentional lapses on the part of many that can fairly easily be addressed.)
All of these things come back to communication and making life easier for those around us. Several years ago I wrote this post about communicating when a sale falls through, particularly one that has required a lot of time and effort on the part of the artist:
Friend Jenny Nelson doing paperwork at Gold Gallery in Boston; my solo show installed.
At the root of this whole discussion is the aspect of power. Do the galleries see themselves as our bosses, or our partners? If it is true that there are way more artists than there are galleries to show them, does this mean that artists are just supplicants, grasping at strewn crumbs?
I have heard of art dealers that look at their artists in that way, but I would not be working with them in any case. Most often, we are appreciated as the cherished talent, the sources of these amazing, unique objects. And if there are others of us eager to fill our spot should we leave a gallery, that doesn’t mean that our personal, artistic terrain can be filled by another. In my experience sensitive gallerists attach to our unique work, and to us.
That said, we are, here at least, acknowledging the power of the purse and of having needed information, while pointing out that galleriests are not paying us their money, but only ours, and keeping us informed on what we need to know to carry the partnership forward.
On our boat in Provincetown with Julie Heller on a chilly September day.
So are any of us perfect? Am I positing that gallerists should never be allowed a slip-up? Not hardly! In fact, the more consistently considerate a gallery has been to me the more I can easily let go of a forgotten email or a perceived error in judgement. This is true in all human relationships, and I hope that others—including my dealers—grant me that leeway as well.
July 1, 2018 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, art gallery, artist-gallery relationship, career artist, ethics, gallery-artist relationship, Julie Heller Gallery, Louisa Gould Gallery, Thomas Henry Gallery, Thompson Giroux Gallery, working artists, working with your gallery | 4 Comments
My first fully realized Atlas Project installation opens at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY, on March 31st, 2018. Elaborating on my artist’s statement for my discussion below, I am also including photos of all of the work in the show.
Here is the gallery’s press release, nicely weaving together my previous artist’s statement about my paintings with my new Atlas Project statement. Thompson Giroux Gallery and I are very pleased to be pledging a donation from sales to benefit two local land conservancy organizations, a small thank-you to the earth for the beautiful vistas and open spaces that I have been painting for the past decades.
Forms of Water, 30″x36″. (G)
The artworks in Christie Scheele‘s solo exhibition Atlas/Hudson River Valley take the viewer on a walk through the Hudson River Valley’s open spaces from Albany south to Manhattan.
In this exhibition Scheele brings together paintings, drawings, printmaking and mixed media and explores the personal and collective connection between our lives today and our increasingly fragile environment. Scheele continues her immersion into open spacious landscape painting. Using soft lines Scheele allows the viewer to sense and experience a particular place in our local environment; the way the light makes you feel at a specific time of day, how a place has it’s own color palette reflecting memory and process. Scheele’s use of color and atmosphere creates a suspended moment to experience the intangible power of nature.
With each destination on the “Site Map” we are invited to take an intimate look at how process, history and memory play a crucial role in our relationship to our natural environment.
In an effort to support our local land conservation initiatives, artist Christie Scheele and Thompson Giroux Gallery pledge 5% of any sales by the artist during Atlas/Hudson River Valley on view March 31-May 6, 2018 to benefit the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Woodstock Land Conservancy.
Please join us Saturday March 31st from 4-6pm for refreshments and live music by Josh Connors & Otto Gardnier.
For more information please visit www.thompsongirouxgallery.com or call 518-392-3336.
Thompson Giroux Gallery is located at 57 Main Street, Chatham NY 12037.
Gallery hours: Thursday – Monday 11am to 5pm, Friday 11am to 7pm.
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday
Closed Sunday April 1st
Image credit: Christie Scheele, “Forms of Water”, 2016, Oil on Linen, 30″ x 36″.
Land and water use have been political since the beginning of our time on earth. As these issues become increasingly critical, I have been catapulted —but also eased, nestled— into expanding the environmental discussion that until now has been mostly implied in my work, putting into context my decades-long celebration of the powerful beauty of our planet.
River with Lighthouse, 12″x36″, oil on linen.
Ebullient Winter, 18″x24″, oil on linen. (G)
My new Atlas Project maps my work while mapping the world, 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 show these connections, I am working in one thematic grouping at a time, creating a legend, or site map, to each body of work. The Site Map is a key both to a given installation and to the region or theme that it explores.
The Site Map for Atlas/Hudson River Valley, the first of these exhibitions, is created with collage on a Rand McNally road map of the river valley, the Catskills, and our wider region. It contains numbered mini-monotypes of all of the oil paintings on view and corresponding map tacks showing the locale depicted on the map.
Site Map with Extensions, as it appears on the gallery wall.
Extensions of the Site Map include Mapping Memory, lino/mono prints of regional flora and fauna with written personal observations; a collaged and monoprinted map of the source of the river in the Adirondacks; a collage of the Hudson Canyon, extending 400 miles out to sea from NY Harbor; and a fourth extension discussing climate change and local impacts.
Using drawing, printmaking, pasteling, writing, and mixed-media along with oil paintings, I am exploring the interrelationships of process, history, and memory. These are revealed not only by air, land, and water but also by my materials and personal history as an artist, family and community member, and frequent inhabitant of the outdoor world.
The Atlas Project text is therefore a blend of natural history and personal memory. For the Atlas/Hudson River Valley site map I decided to tuck the text of my stories into an envelope that I created with rice paper. You can see these along the left-hand side of the Site Map, and an open one below:
Detail from left-hand panel, “Mapping Memory”.
Other bits of writing get more into the life-cycle of the wildlife depicted. I chose the species included in the map based on my interactions with them but also on a long-standing fascination. We probably all have these — how amazing, to me, is the Red Eft, so bright among the fauna of the NE United States? How cool is the life-cycle? Here is my story about these creatures:
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that the salamanders that I caught as a child near Oneonta, NY, are the same creatures as the Red Efts that I greet after every rain or heavy dew on the trails of the Catskills.
They have three life stages: the first after hatching in ponds; the second when they turn from brown to red and lose their gills, traveling on land for several years to find a new body of water. Finally, in their adult phase the tail widens, and they turn back into a greenish-brown color, living and breeding as aquatic animals with lungs to complete their 12-15-year life span.
At eight I was enamored of catching and releasing in a pond that we swam in during summer months. On one occasion I brought two newts home in a mayonnaise jar, stocked with moss and bits from the bottom of the pond. I changed the water every day with nearby creek water and left the jar under a big tree on our lawn, dropping in small insects from time to time.
One day I spotted eggs in the moss. Such anticipation!
A few days later we heard young voices coming from our front yard just after dark, and looked out to see two boys walking away. The next morning, I found my jar empty of water and newts, the eggs drying in the sun.
Reflected Suns, 32″x48″, oil on linen.
Printmaking become an integral part of Atlas/Hudson River Valley. Below are two monotype versions of the image used in “Reflected Suns”, exploring the more graphic possibilities of the medium.
MReflected Sun #2, 10″x16″, monotype. (Sold)
MReflected Sun #1, 10″x16″, monotype. (G)
And the mini-monotype on the Site Map (placement of these had to do with compositional concerns, as the numbers and map tacks are what identify the precise locales):
The first energy and ideas for this project evolved in 2016. That fall, I was experiencing profound grief over election results and their potential to set policy that will accelerate climate change. I was also contemplating a scheduled residency on Nantucket in February of 2017, and my upcoming 60th birthday later on that year. The second two factors prompted a question—how do I want to expand and deepen my range as an artist? The first, my accelerating concern over the health of our planet, gave me direction.
This extension to the Site Map addresses the issue of global warming:
These two recent monotypes reflect a view of a section of the Schoharie Creek valley in summer and then during the massive storm flooding caused by Irene:
MVroman’s Nose/Green Fields, 8″x10″. (Sold)
Vroman’s Nose/Flooded Fields. (Sold)
And two additional monotypes of our region:
MSweeping Sky with Fields, 8″x10″, monotype. (Sold)
MWhite Field #1, 8″x10″, monotype. (Sold)
The Nantucket residency produced a prototype Site Map where I first used the idea of making small monotype prints of the oil paintings to be included in the grouping or show. It is a very rich process, artistically, entering a new world as you are creating it, and also full of the discomfort of facing the unknown. To read about my residency, go to this link to my blog post:
I so loved the collaging-on-a-map process while working on the Site Map that I decided to create some of these as stand-alone art pieces. The first, below, leaves much of the under-map showing, and in addition to pattern and magazine papers; samaras, wasp galls, and other bits and bobs, I hand dyed some of the green papers used for the Catskill Park area.
Atlas/Hudson River, 18″x14″, mixed media/collage on Rand McNally Road Map on board. (Sold)
I live in the High Peaks area of the Catskills, so many of the pieces in this show are images of the mountains, roadways, streams, and of course, the Ashokan Reservoir, seen above in blue within the Park.
Esopus Mists, 12″x12″, oil on linen. (G)
Indigos with Glowing Light, 18″x24″. (Sold)
Affinity/Dusk Road, 30″x30″, oil on linen with frayed edges on primed board overlaid with graphite gridding.
Another collage, also of the River, is more tightly composed and with more contrast than the first, and includes the small river towns of Kingston, Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, and Newburg.
Atlas/HV Collage, 2 panels of 16″x8″/ea.
For the third, following my own lead with the Site Map extension, I hand-died rice papers in varied blues to reinterpret the Hudson Canyon, the below-water extension of the river itself.
Hudson Canyon Collage, 12″x12″. (G)
The Hudson River originates in Lake Tear of the Clouds, in a remote area of the Adirondacks, as pinpointed in the upper extension, above. It empties out into New York Harbor:
Harbor with Soft Light, 13″x20″, pastel on paper.
Many images are Hudson views between NYC and Hudson, NY. The stretch between Poughkeepsie and and Saugerties is well-traveled in the summer by us in our small lake boat. Lower sections are often views from bridges and the train.
2 Shores/Reflected Sun, 12″x12″, oil on linen.
Refracted Golds, 20″x40″, oil on linen. (Sold)
Downriver, 24″x24″, oil on linen.
River with Big Sky, 24″x30″, oil on linen. (G)
Rare Summer Silence, 20″x30″, oil on linen. (Sold)
River Island with Castle, 9″x36″, oil on board.
Gleaming Bridge, 20″x40″. (Sold)
Affinity/Shore Lights, 16″x8″, oil/linen/board/graphite gridding.
Red River Shore, 20″x30″. (Sold)
This is not a catalogue of all of the wonderful views of the HV and Catskills, but rather an organically created collection of a number of the paintings that I have done over the past 10 years or so of our region. In this way, the grouping is a bit of a retrospective.
I am frequently hiking and driving around both the East side of the Hudson, into the Berkshires, as well as the West side, reaching into of the foothills of the Catskills, providing sources for some favorite views of the river itself as well as farm fields and hillsides.
Triptych in Reds, 24″x24″/ea. panel, oil on linen.
Long Storm Cloud, 8″X28″, pastel on paper.
Meadow with Peaks, 14″X18″. (Sold)
Trees with Mists, 18″x48″, oil on linen. (G)
Mountain Sky/Blues, 24″x48″, oil on linen. (Sold)
“September Dawn”, 10″x28″, pastel on paper. (Sold)
Particularity of Place, 36″x36″, oil on linen. (G)
Layers of Meaning, 30″x24″, oil on linen. (Sold)
Snow Fields, 12″x12″, oil on linen. (G)
Snow Shadows, 12″x12″, oil on linen. (G)
The final study done for a large piece in oil, now sold, inspired by the Maya Lin Wave Field at Storm King:
Green Waves, 5″x28.5″, oil on paper.
My upcoming groupings will include Atlas/Forms of Water, and Atlas/Cape Cod, the former creating overlap with the place-based themes and requiring a different solution for the map (I am thinking maps, actually).
I alternate between focusing on aspects of this work that I am currently inventing and my continued immersion in my open, spacious landscape paintings, looking to draw it all together into a cohesive whole, mirroring the wholeness of life on earth.
Sweeping Greens/Jostling Trees, 28″x68″, oil on linen. (Sold)
A link to the Violet Snow article in the WoodstockTimes:
Many thanks to those who have helped this project along: my husband, Jack, for design and paste-up help; Kate McGloughlin of the Woodstock School of Art for teaching me monotype techniques; Mary Emery for inspiring my rediscovery of printmaking; The Artists Association of Nantucket for hosting the residency that advanced this work; Polly Law for brainstorming titles (including “Atlas Project” itself) and language with me; Jenny Nelson for being my sounding board; Loel Barr for showing me some of her cool collage techniques; Thompson Giroux Gallery for planning and mounting this large and complex solo show; Geoffrey Rogers for his expert framing; and Mark Loete for the perfect photographs of the Site Map and extensions.
March 21, 2018 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: art collecting, Atlas Project, Atlas/, Atlas/Hudson River Valley, atmospheric landscapes, career artist, Catskills, christie scheele, color field, columbia county land conservancy, environmental art, headlights, Hudson River paintings, hudson valley artist, lonely road, minimalist landscapes, mixed media/collage, monotypes, moody landscape, Mountain paintings, nature connection, oil painting, pastel landscapes, sense of place, solo show, sunsets, Thompson Giroux Gallery, weather, wildlife, winter road, woodstock land conservancy, Woodstock School of Art | 2 Comments
June brought two great-story sales. The first was of this piece, a favorite of mine since I did it a few years back. My husband delivered it to Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard in early June and a few days later it was headed to Madrid on a private jet. The collector even helped unwrap it after being drawn into the gallery by my 50″x90″ piece in the window.
Rolling Cloud, 44″x62″.
This octych has received a great deal of attention, including a blog post of its own. It was shown and appreciated at Gold Gallery in Boston, and then at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck this past winter.
Green Waves, 13″x76″ overall, oil on linen.
In May I was contacted by a woman in NC who told me that she wanted to buy it, and had the perfect spot for it. She had read the blog post and loved the story. She had never bought original art before, except for one print. She found me through a google search.
After much back and forth, it turned out that she had seen the price on the small oil-on-paper study that I had done leading up to the final piece, and the actual cost was way beyond what she had anticipated or budgeted for. So I offered her some other, smaller pieces in the green palette that she prefers…and then didn’t hear back from her for a few weeks.
This happens with some frequency. For a discussion of why original art created by a career artist costs what it does, you can read this blog post:
In the end, she could not resist the piece and I could not resist making a price accommodation to enable her to have it, though it was still a huge leap for her both in cost and in faith, as she hadn’t set eyes on the actual piece.
My galleriest Albert Shahinian, who had the piece and is also an expert art handler, did the packing and shipping, and here is Green Waves in its perfect spot:
My Atlas Project is gaining momentum and focus. I earlier began a description of the evolution of this endeavor and got so carried away that I found I needed a separate post, which I will be working on going forward.
In brief, motivated last fall by a number of factors including an upcoming residency on Nantucket and my fears over an acceleration of climate change with the new administration in Washington, I decided I needed to marry more concretely my deep love of the outdoor world and its complexities with my visual expression.
The third and most complex grouping, Atlas/Hudson River Valley had a trial run during a recent studio tour/open studio. Each site map circles closer to what I want, this most recent one being a collaged road map with map pins showing the locations of the paintings in the grouping and monotype thumbnails of the same. Like the earlier versions, this folds up into a small map.
I ran out of time—this was an excruciatingly slow process, with many design elements and much trial and error—and didn’t get any of the written piece figured out, but in discussion during the open studio I figured out how to approach this in a way that has integrity with the map.
This will all coalesce into a large solo show at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY, March 31-May 6 in 2018, of Atlas/Hudson river Valley and Atlas/Forms of Water. There will be many more paintings and therefore more thumbnails on the map; most likely an off-center extension at top right to show the source of the river in the Adirondacks; and a narrow extension the length of the left side to add written and visual detail about our area. The show will feature monotypes, collages, and pastels as well as oil paintings.
Overlook with River, 24″x36″, the last piece finished before the July Tour.
The Studio Tour overall was a sweet weekend with folks from my mailing list coming through as well as those who were new to me. Usually it is a low-pressure event for me and I have a lovely time at the outset setting up my studio for viewing. I had knocked myself out working on the Site Map and printing linocut wall tags for the Atlas Project this time around, but it was well worth it for how the deadline brought the project together enough for me to hone many aspects and trouble-shoot the things that are not yet quite right.
Front wall of studio arranged as Atlas/Hudson River Valley, for Studio Tour 2017.
The day after the Studio Tour ended I was off for a week to teach on Nantucket. So lovely to see the island wearing its summer color, after spending two weeks there in February! I taught my composition workshop, Constructing/Deconstructing the Landscape, to a receptive and able group of six. These are the exercises that they had finished at the end of day #2.
For demo purposes I did several small oil-on-paper pieces, choosing subject matter according to the requests of my students:
Horizontal Wave, 5″x12″.
Warm Fall Fields, 5″x12″.
Dusk Palms, 5″x5″.
After my workshop was over I spent a long afternoon in the print shop, rediscovering what works for my imagery in monotype (there are always a row of failures before some successes). This is my favorite of the batch:
Monotype Sunset over Tidal Flats, 8″x10″.
In June I had a discussion with some of the artists who I mentor about curating a show of their artwork, and got a very positive response. I contacted what I thought would be the perfect venue for a show of such an eclectic group of artists, the ArtBar in Kingston. The only slot Allie had open in 2017 was for August, so this exhibition of 18 artists had to come together very quickly!
It was interesting switching hats back and forth from mentor to curator, and there will be follow-up in my groups on my experience with the artists as curator. I have heard repeatedly from gallery owners that it is their quality-of-life choice to represent talented artists who are also easy and responsive to work with, so this is a theme that I pass along.
On the card, top to bottom: Betsy Jacaruso, Rebecca Darlington, Elizabeth Panzer, and Sandra Nystrom.
I selected the work and Allie, who owns the venue, hung the show. The opening reception was busy and the the comments very enthusiastic. The list of all of the artists involved: Polly Law, Sandra Nystrom, Rebecca Darlington, Linda Lynton, Linda Puiatti, Al Desetta, Betsy Jacaruso, Patti Gibbons, Lois Linet, Stacie Flint, Elizabeth Panzer, Dave Channon, Karen Schaffel, Julia Santos Solomen, Mary Katz, Loel Barr, Mark Loete, Cathy Metitchecchia.
This is my short description of the work I have done with these, and many other, artists over the years:
My mentoring work began as a way of helping other artists enter or expand their presence in the art market by providing support for both studio practice and exhibiting. The groups are a blend of coaching, support group, and targeted career advice for emerging and mid-level artists.
An article, written by Lynn Woods, will be coming out shortly on the show in the Kingston Times and I will add the link.
I love two things the most, I think, about working with artists in this way. One is that the artwork is so varied, and as my artistic taste is too, it is a huge pleasure watching and sometimes helping these artists hone their voices into bodies of work that have depth and impact.
The other is that, in our overly busy and complicated lifestyle, I can inform, simplify and advise. So, while every venue, gallery-artist relationship and even many sales have their own unique wrinkles that make generalization difficult, there are guidelines that can help emerging artists streamline their approach and be more decisive in their responses—and feel better about the process.
Coming up, very soon, this four-person show at the Nantucket Artists Association, a brainchild of Program Coordinator Mary Emery: Due East, 4 Woodstock Artists on Nantucket, featuring the work of Polly Law, Kate McGloughlin, Jenny Nelson, and myself; all artists who teach and/or have done residencies at the AAN. Dates are September 1-22.
A medium-sized oil-on-linen that will be featured in the show:
Color Field/Incoming Tide, 30″x30″.
Recently finished, my second Atlas/Hudson River Valley mixed-media/collage:
Atlas/HV Collage, 2 panels of 16″x8″/ea.
And in oil, an image of the tide coming in over the tidal flats mid-Cape, always a moment of bliss for me:
Sky Meets Water, 18″x24″.
This piece fits into the Atlas/Forms of Water segment. It is a different type of category from Atlas/Hudson River Valley, and there will be overlap, making for a more dynamic installation.
A few of my other sales so far this season:
Calm Crossing, 38″x70″, sold by the Louisa Gould Gallery.
Monotype/Wave#5, 8″x10″, sold by the Julie Heller Gallery.
Haybales, 8″x24″, pastel on paper, studio sale.
Upcoming workshops are at the PAAM September 11-14, the loveliest time of the year to be on the Cape:
And the Woodstock School of Art October 28-30, also a stunning time of year for the locale:
Enjoy your rest of summer season and beginning of fall!
August 16, 2017 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Al Desetta, Albert Shahinian Fine Art, art collecting, ArtBar Kingston, Artist's Association of Nantucket, Atlas Project, atmospheric landscapes, Betsy Jacaruso, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Cathy Metitchecchia., Catskill Mountain paintings, coaching for artists, collage, color field, composition, curating shows, Dave Channon, Elizabeth Panzer, Fall Fields, Hudson River paintings, Julia Santos Solomen, Julie Heller Gallery, Karen Schaffel, large landscape paintings, Linda Lynton, Linda Puiatti, Loel Barr, Lois Linet, Louisa Gould Gallery, mapping, Mark Loete, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, Mary Katz, mentoring artists, minimalist landscapes, mixed media, moody landscape, Mountain paintings, multiple-panel landscapes, oil painting, Palm Trees, Patti Gibbons, Polly Law, Provincetown Artists Association, Rebecca Darlington, Sandra Nystrom, seascapes, Stacie Flint, sunsets, teaching, vertical landscapes, Wave paintings, weather, Woodstock School of Art, workshops | 3 Comments
Almost all of the unframed pastels included in this data-base are now priced $200-$500. Inquire for details—-only the framed pieces are priced, so check in with me on the others.
These are works on paper, many of them unframed, currently in my studio. Often works on paper are an option that is more affordable than oil paintings. Several of my galleries and consultants also have a selection of framed or unframed pastels and monotypes, most notably Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY; JSO ART Associates in Westport CT, and Gallery Jupiter in Little Silver, NJ.
To see available oil-on-linen paintings, click here:
Warm Fields, 16″x25″.
Light/Dark Cloudbank, 13″x21″, $1,800 framed.
Trailing Fields, 4″x24″, framed with black molding, $800.
Summer Farm Fields, 6″x12″, $850 framed.
Magic Hour in the Mountains, 8″x10″, framed with off-black molding, $900.
Soft Greens, 5″x14″.
Gleam on Grey Sea, 14″x14″.
Triptych in Red/Black, 3 panels of 7″x13″.
River Lighthouse, 14″x21″.
Rusty Crane, 14″x21″.
Red Sun, 11″X18″.
“Gleam over Island”, 7″x11″.
Mountain Fall, 6″x16″.
Moody Mountain Sky, 12″X13″.
Warm Light, 9″X20″.
Mists over Fields, 5″x8.5″.
Green Hills, 15″X18″.
4 Trees, pastel on paper, 13″x21″.
Oil on paper:
Study/Still Mists, 4″x12″, $750 framed.
Study/Ptown Marsh, 3″x9″, $600 framed.
Study/Skyline, 7″x7″, $750, framed with black molding.
Sunset Flats, 5×8, oil on paper, $650 framed.
Bay Marsh, oil on paper, 5″x8″.
Ocean Blues, 6″x12″, $850 framed.
Study/Red Fields, 5″x10″, $700 framed in vintage cherry.
Sunset Sea, oil on paper, 3″x9″.
Autumn Hillside, oil on paper, 5″x7″.
Mixed Media/Collage (Of paper and other things, on board):
Hudson Canyon Collage, 12″x12″, $1,200.
Watershed Map, 12″x12″, $1,200.
Atlas/HV Collage, 2 panels of 16″x8″/ea., $1,800.
So There, 4″x12″, $550.
Actively Seeking, 7″x5″, $450.
Stand Alone, 5″x5″, $400.
Growing Tall, 5″x5″., $400
Path, 7×5, $450.
Seeing Through, 4″x4″
Riverbed Map #1, 6″x12″, $125.
Riverbed Map #3, 6″x12″, $125.
Rverbed Map #2, linocut print on rice paper, 6″x12″, $125.
Four Nantucket Maps.
Nantucket Map #2, 12.5″x18″, hand-colored, $400.
8″x10″s framed monotypes are $750 framed and $600 unframed. Larger sizes go up to $1,800—please inquire.
Cloud over Green Valley, 8″10.
Waterfall #5, 14″x7.5″.
Overlook with River, 8″x10″.
M/White Wedge, 10″x8″, 2018.
M/White Wedge #3, 10″x8″, 2018.
Wave Triptychs #1 & #2, 3 panels of 8″x10″/ea.
Wave, lg. 10″x16″.
The View from Here, 10″x16″, 2018, $1,400 unframed.
M/Wave #6, 8″x10″, 2018.
M/Dark Road, monotype and pastel, 2016.
Sunset prints as they came out, the AAN, 2017.
Winter at the Creeks, 10″x8″.
M/Mountain Travel, 2016.
Moors #3, 8″x10″.
Moors #1, 8″x10″.
M/Waterspouts with Walking Rain, 8″x10″, 2016.
M/Mountain Stream, 2016, through LGG.
M/Marsh with House, 8″x10″, 2017, through LGG.
M/Wave, 8″x10″, 2016.
M/FallMarsh1, 8″x10″, 2017, through LGG.
M/FallMarsh3, 8″x10″, 2017.
Fall Grasses with Fogbank, 8″x10″, 2018, through LGG.
The three below show the pressed edge and different colored papers. Prints are normally framed showing the distinctive edge, and a little float of the paper, where they are signed:
Evening Travel #2, 8″x10″.
Evening Travel, 8″x10″.
Evening Travel #3, 8″x10″.
Three framed prints, 8″x10″/ea.:
And how a collector framed his:
November 3, 2016 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: abstract landscapes, art collecting, atmospheric landscapes, career artist, Catskill Mountain paintings, Catskills, collage, color field, creative maps, farm fields, headlights, Hudson River paintings, lonely road, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalism, minimalist landscape, mixed media/collage, monotypes, moody landscapes, Mountain paintings, multiple-panel paintings, oil on paper, pastel paintings, seascapes, serene landscapes, sunset paintings, triptychs, vertical landscapes, waterspouts, weather, works on paper | 8 Comments
This post, designed primarily for the galleries and consultants that I work with, serves as a data-base for oil-on-linen paintings that are currently in my studio. As work sells or is consigned I will remove it, and new work will be added.
My website– created by Stephanie Blackman Design—was beautifully designed as a calling card. Since I create/sell/move work around frequently, it was never my plan to keep it current at all times. With this data-base I will have a comprehensive selection for you all to peruse and can reduce the number of emails that I send showing dealers my currently available work, as those become outdated quickly also.
For works on paper (pastel; oil on paper; mixed media/collage; monotype) consult this blog post: https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/available-workstudioworks-on-paper/
“Linked Pleasures”, 36″x48″, $7,000.
Blue: Rising Mists, 14″x48″, $4,000.
“Entering Marshlands”, 30″x58″, $7,000.
Often I am expecting some work back imminently or have a painting on the easel that is almost finished, so please feel free to inquire if you have a particular need: email@example.com.
Boundless Sky, 20″X30″, $3,200.
“Catskills Walking Rain”, 36″x36″, $5,000.
“Forest”, 20″x40″, $4,000.
“Light on the Ridge”, 15″x30″, $3,000.
Additional work can be found at my galleries: Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY; Gallery Jupiter in Little Silver, NJ; Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Butters Gallery in Portland, OR; Thomas Henry Gallery on Nantucket, MA; and Thompson-Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY.
Moving Sky, 24″x48″, $5,000.
“Joy of the Familiar”, 16″x20″, $2,000.
Summer Mists, 40″x40″, $7,000.
Contrasting Sunset, 18″x52″, $4,800.
“Taking the Back Way”, 18″x24″, $2,400.
Harbor with Shifting Light, 18″x24″.
“Sundrenched” 40″x40″, $7,000.
Affinity/Return at Dusk, 12″x24″, $2,000.
Layered Clouds, 20″x16″, $2,000.
“Smokey Sky”, oil on a vintage slate.13.5×9,5, $1,000.
Affinity/Dual Twister, 10″x10″, $900.
“Affinity/Smokey Sky”, 18″x18″, $2,000.
“Storm over the Lake”, 20″x24″, $2,800.
“Skyline at Sunset”, 14″x22″, $1,800.
“2 Shores/Reflected Sun”, 12″x12″, $1,400.
November 18, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, art collecting, Artist's Association of Nantucket, atmospheric landscapes, Butters Gallery Portland OR, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Catskills, christie scheele, color field, composition, everyday painter, fall color, fog, green hillside, headlights, Hudson River paintings, in the studio, Julie Heller Gallery, lonely road, Louisa Gould Gallery, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalism, minimalist landscapes, mists, moody landscape, Mountain paintings, Nantucket landscapes, Nantucket moors, Nantucket paintings, Oak Bluffs, oil painting, Olana, road at night, salt marsh paintings, seascapes, subtle landscapes, summer greens, sunsets, teaching artist, Thompson Giroux Gallery, urban landscapes, vertical landscapes, water, weather, winter weather | 6 Comments
It has been a busy, fruitful year, but I am not dwelling too much on the past! My sights are set on 2015, when I will have several shows that I am very excited about.
The first will be in March at Gold (Au) Gallery in Boston, my second solo show with the gallery. My solo in fall of 2012 was quite successful, but I am looking forward to this show taking place in a better economy. Below is the piece we have used for advance PR, just finished less than a month ago.
“Rolling Cloud”, 44″x68″.
There will be another version of “Trove”, 35 3″x5″ paintings in a divided frame—here is the one that I did and sold in 2007. This second frame is the last that I have been able to find, so only one more of these! The new one will have a weather theme.
“Trove”, 30″X48″ overall.
I am working on a new idea for a multiple-panel piece, waiting for the delivery of canvas to begin work on the final version, which will come in (framed) at something like 14″x82″. A planning stages photo is below.
Studies for “Green Waves”.
Some recent highlights have included three blog posts that I quite enjoyed writing. These often generate quite a bit of discussion on FB that I wish was taking place on the blog where more folks could enjoy it, so feel free to jump in.
Most recent, this short one about how grounding a creative process is:
Some stories that I love (and a few of you might recognize them!):
And my version of a rant about the costs, hidden to many, of making an artwork and bringing it to the public eye:
My early fall was well-occupied with this commissioned piece which was challenging in certain ways. My clients–who are also friends–wanted a piece that was most definitely in my signature style, but that also included a fairly large structure.
The small pastel looked great with some loose detail for the building, but when I got to the large oil, there was just too much of it to leave open. So I hunkered down and went after the architectural detail, surrendering to process. Then, however, the building looked too linear and didn’t fit with the rest of the painting. Finally, I made it all sit together by putting a fairly translucent layer of a lighter brown over the whole castle and embedding it with more blend into the white sky.
This is what makes each piece an adventure. I thought that the large Rhododendrons flanking the pond would be difficult to pull off/make interesting, but they fell right into place.
The reflection, however, was always going to be the star of the piece!
One other observation about process is that when it comes to a section that has quite a lot of of detail, I think of it as an abstract painting within a painting. This slows me down and enables me to focus with pleasure and patience, eventually backing up and scrutinizing how the area is working with the whole.
Below, a few recent pieces.
“Green Horizons”, 12″x48″, oil on canvas. (Studio.)
“Marsh at Dusk”, 12″x16″. oil on linen. (Studio.)
Five oil-on-paper paintings of just 3.25″x3″/ea. (Studio.)
“Affinity/Sunset Reflected”, 12″x36″. Oil on linen with frayed edges overlaid with graphite gridding. (At Albert Shahinian Fine Art.)
And this piece that I repainted last summer, brightening the color.
“Endless Sky”, 36″x72″, oil on linen. (At Gold Gallery.)
Some work that has sold recently through my galleries.
“Lifting Rain, 20″x60”. Sold by Louisa Gould Gallery.
“Mountain Sky with Mists”, 24″x30″. Sold by Chace-Randall Gallery.
“Seaside Reds”, 20″x20″. (Sold by Edgewater Gallery, to my dear and recently rediscovered friend from my year in Bolivia as an exchange student!)
“Counterlight Blues, 16″x20”. Sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art.
“Sunset Sea with Sailboat”, 5″x14″, oil on paper. (Sold by the Julie Heller Gallery.)
My other shows coming up in 2015 are with the Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard and a show exploring my most minimalist, color-field imagery with my gallery of longest-standing, Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck.
My fall workshops on in Provincetown and Woodstock were very focused and great fun. For 2015, I have two new themes on the schedule. (Contact me for a full course description.)
Constructing/Deconstructing the Landscape, WSA, February 14-16 Sat-Mon
Landscapes in Large Scale, WSA, June 20-23, Sat-Tues
Provincetown Artist’s Association and Museum, Sept. September 14-18 Mon-Thurs(Workshop will be similar to Constructing/Deconstructing the Landscape.)
Interpreting the Landscape in Oil or Pastel, WSA, October 17-19 Sat-Mon
Last comment for now is that I have been doing quite a bit of mentoring/coaching of other artists this past year and especially recently, enjoying working with both early career and experienced artists. I developed my mentoring programs years ago after meeting and conversing with many artists who had so much hope and conviction, but didn’t understand the ropes. The work is satisfying to me because I can clarify and demystify, and thus take some of the emotional weight out of the process of bringing artwork into the marketplace. I am grateful to the many artists who have trusted me to help them rewrite artist’s statements, brainstorm new series, scrutinize resumes for old contacts, and open themselves up to advice.
Happy holidays, happy 2015!
December 12, 2014 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, atmospheric landscapes, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Chace-Randall Gallery, color field, Edgewater Gallery VT, Gold Gallery Boston, Louisa Gould Gallery, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalism, minimalist landscapes, moody landscape, Provincetown Artists Association, teaching, weather, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery | 1 Comment
I can practically hear people thinking this sometimes.
After many years of having the conversation in my head or with other artists about what goes into the price of an artwork for the career artist, I decided to take my rant public.
I will use as an example a recent pastel demonstration in my studio. I carefully planned a piece that was horizontal (so folks could see around me); had seasonal color; and had elements that were quite familiar to me, even if I didn’t know until I was in progress exactly what I was going to include and where it was all going to go. I knew that I was planning on finishing this piece in the hour+ time I had allotted for the demo, so picking certain kinds of imagery (a flat sky rather than complex clouds, and a minimalist hillside with some field dividers instead of marsh grasses, and so on) was essential.
And so, with many years of experience paintings landscapes and quite a few doing demos for students and occasionally the public under my belt, I pulled it off. Here it is, below, a 10″x27″ piece.
“Red Field/White Sky”
For an exhibiting artist, prices need to be consistant. This means that same-size pieces (unless they are an entirely different series or medium) should be the same price. Furthermore, for me personally, it doesn’t matter in the least that one pieces takes me six times as long as another, since it all averages out.
A lovely minimalist piece that practically painted itself is worth the same price as an equally lovely image of more complexity that I might have struggled over, or just surrendered to with exquisite patience. I love doing them both, and often my buyers prefer one over the other fairly strongly.
And REALLY furthermore, there are many things that go into the price of an artwork. So to any of you who have ever thought, “OMG, she just did that piece in 1.5 hours and she is charging $1,500 for it without even framing it, so that’s $1,000 per hour!”, here goes!
Sticking to the example of my recent demo:
1. I spent hours arranging and cleaning the studio. (Let’s say, 5?)
2. More time driving to get the paper I needed and planning the pastel, including looking for and then contemplating all the references photos that this one required, and selecting my palette of pastel colors. (4?)
3. Creating the email and Facebook invitations, back-and-forth with folks wanting to attend, photographing and processing the digital photo. (3?)
3. Materials, since the quoted price I am using for the piece is unframed, were minimal. ($50?) but that doesn’t take into account that I have hundreds of pastel colors (mostly Schminkes costing $6 a stick) necessary to my work, even if a small amount of those actually got used up.
4. Also averaging in other overhead that I must cover daily or regularly to create and sell my work: A larger car that uses more gas than I would otherwise drive and the many errands and deliveries to galleries, framer, art supply store, and private buyers (this is both time and money); studio construction, maintenance, and heat; emailing galleries and creating events (hours every day and tech and office expenses); keeping up with taking and processing photos (IPhone and time, laptop); ferry or airfare and accommodations and meals further afield for shows (expense and time);
5. My husband is very helpful for deliveries and installations and repairs and being personable at openings. Does his time get factored in?
6. Brain space. This piece used quite a bit of it. They all use a goodly amount (and are supposed to!).
7. Gallery commission, on most sales, 50%. (And trust me, they earn it!)
I am not even getting into how many years/decades it took me to be able to do this work with enough ease to a) do it well and successfully and b) do it in front of an audience. Nor am I going to add up the above estimates of time and materials.
With any luck, I have made my point.
November 2, 2014 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: artist in the marketplace, career artist, color field, cost of making art, demonstrating pastels, minimalist landscape, pastel landscapes, pricing artwork | 14 Comments
Over the top busy this spring and summer, with new galleries, a solo show in place and several other shows coming up between now and August.
We had a lovely, packed opening reception at Chace-Randall Gallery in Andes, NY. I will be updating the blog post I created about the work in the show as pieces continue to sell—but you really should see the show in person, if you couldn’t make the opening! Thank-you to Zoe Randall for the party and especially for a great job hanging the work. The show will be up through July 7th.
With the largest painting in this show, “Interwoven Stories”.
Host Tom Lavazzi pouring wine…and tons of nice conversation passing around.
Owner/director Zoe Randall and I in front of the postcard piece, “Turquoise Light”.
I am showing again at Butters Gallery in Portland Oregon— and so pleased to add this reputable gallery in a new locale to my list. I participated in the “Line” show there last winter, curated by Melinda Stickney-Gibson, and have remained on the roster. Opening June 5th is a 4-artsist landscape show, invitation below. For my work in the show, see their website:
BUTTERS GALLERY LTD 520 NW DAVIS PORTLAND OREGON 97209 (503) 248-9378 (800) 544-9171 gallery hours: tuesday-friday 10-5:30 saturday 11-5 http://www.buttersgallery.com
East / West
June 5th – 28th 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday June 5th, 6 – 9 pm
My newest gallery is Edgewater Gallery in Middelbury, VT. This happened the way we artists love it to happen—a phone call offering representation. A beautiful space and locale, I am happy to be on the walls, and look forward to events there, starting with a visit and meet-and-greet in October. I just shipped off this triptych, painted with them in mind. See their website for additional work:
“Hill beyond Hill, 3 panels of 24″x20″/ea.
Up next is my duo show (with M.J. Levy Dickenson) at Julie Heller East in Provincetown, July 18-31, with an opening reception on July 19th from 6pm on. That same night we are also hosting a reception through the gallery at the Anchor Inn with larger pieces of mine and the work of Polly Law, 7-9pm. The idea is that viewers can go from East End to West End and see both shows.
Arriving at the Anchor Inn/JHG on June 5th, this new piece.
“Entering Province Lands”, 30″X60″.
In August I will be showing with Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard in a show with Louisa herself and Paul Beebe. Dates are August 7-27. with opening reception August 9th, 5-7pm. I am new to this beautiful gallery in Vineyard Haven, though I have been showing on the island since 1998, beginning with Carol Craven Gallery and most recently with Dragonfly (thank-you, Carol, Don, and Susan!). The show will include several large-formeat pieces of Vineyard locales.
Here are a few pieces hanging now in her Memorial Day show, including several new ones recently delivered.
“Lifting Rain, 20″x60”.
“Summer Sunset/Tidal Creek”, 36″x12″.
Tucked in among all of these shows with my galleries is a very sweet happening, a show called “Three Generations” at Cano (Community Arts Network of Oneonta) in Oneonta, NY. This show will feature my mother, Gerri Scheele, with the ceramics that she was so well known for and the landscapes that followed; myself; and my daughter and son Tessa and Tony Scheele Morelli. This will be a special family affair staged at the Wilbur mansion, where I did my first oil painting at age 11 and where my mother showed extensively for many years.
Heading next week to Gold Gallery in Boston, this newly repainted piece. I am looking forward to my second solo show there in March of 2015.
“Endless Sky”, 36″x72″.
Some spring sales:
“Bridge Crossing in Violets”, 12″X12″. (Sold by Butters Gallery.)
Sunset River Expanse”, 20″x62″. (Sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art.)
“Approach,” oil on vintage blackboard, 11″x13.5″. (Sold by Chace-Randall Gallery.)
ALL of my galleries have work of mine at all times, so wherever you are or travel to among these locales, check them out!
Workshops are upcoming at the Woodstock School of Art June 23-25 and Provinctown Artists Association and Museum, September 15-18.
Abstraction and Narrative in the Landscape
Working in Oil or Pastel
Using photograhic reference, we will investigate how the elements in a landscape painting serve the whole, accessing the formal qualities of color, shape, edge, and composition to create compelling imagery. The first day we will explore these tools and how they impact the implied narrative of the painting through exercises in oil or pastel on paper. In these studies we will add, subtract, move elements around and change color using our painterly hand. Instead of painting over changes, each study will remain intact while we start a new one so that all variations can be rigorously critiqued and compared before being used as a springboard for a larger painting.
Days 2-4 will include a demo of color-mixing from primaries; more compositional studies, and pursuing fully realized landscape paintings on canvas or larger pastels. Instruction will emphasize the reduction of detail to create a strong, clean composition, along with discussion of both the abstract and the narrative qualities brought out in individual paintings.
May 31, 2014 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, atmospheric landscapes, Butters Gallery Portland OR, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Catskills, Chace-Randall Gallery, Dragonfly Gallery, Gold Gallery Boston, headlights, Hudson River paintings, marsh paintings, Polly Law, Provincetown Artists Association, road at night, seascapes, sunsets, teaching, vertical landscapes, weather, winter road, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery, workshops | Leave a comment
liable to change.
“the mutable nature of fashion”
synonyms: changeable, variable, varying, fluctuating, shifting, inconsistent,unpredictable, inconstant, fickle, uneven, unstable, protean.
This word is by far the more important of the two, though oddly the less well understood.
unchanging over time or unable to be changed.
“an immutable fact”
synonyms: fixed, set, rigid, inflexible, permanent, established, carved in stone.
“Affinity/Winter Sunset”, 36″x48″, 2014.
This body of work explores themes of change and the eternal in the landscape, nature revealing the mutable and the immutable.
Fleeting moments of weather and light have long been my focus. Time of day or year and interplay with clouds; light and shadow on landforms or water; and serious weather events continue to visually intrigue and inspire, making no two scenes alike.
Beyond the always shifting moments of dramatic or calm atmospherics and the impact of humankind on the land is also, however, the immutable. However changing, the earth has always been there for us.
Our source of nourishment in every way, our lands, rivers and seas are the visual imprint that I work from every day, every week, and every year. Attempting not to judge but rather to see, I adapt imagery that is only sometimes classically beautiful. The paintings then become another immutable, as I have distilled that image into a moment of time, offering it to others for contemplation.
The work in the show
Choosing the piece that will go on the postcard for a solo show is always a juggle. Generally speaking, though, the artist and galleriest select a piece that is not only a stand-out painting, but also sits stylistically and thematically near the center of the body of work, thus representing it well. We settled on “Turquoise Light”, below.
“Turquoise Light” , 30″x40″, 2014.
Often when there is water in an image, I work the detail of waves and currents just enough so that it reads as such, preferring to let the eye skim over the water and settle on other spots in the painting.
One consideration is similar to having a field in the foreground: where is the viewer in this scene? If the water, marsh or field start basically at the viewer’s feet, there needs to be more foreground detail or vignetting than if the picture plane starts further off.
In “Turquoise Light”, we are sitting (in our boat, presumably!) right on the water, which is a major focus of the piece. Far from encouraging the viewer past it, the water catches the eye with an array of subtle color shifts, reflections, and movement. When I paint an area with this much complexity I look at it as an abstract painting, surrendering to the process.
I also enjoyed that the sky and water are so different, even though clearly the sky is throwing light on the water.
“Mountain Road/Fireflies”, 30″x20″, 2013. (Sold)
One of the last pieces that I finished in 2013, the vertical movement in “Mountain Road/Fireflies” plays with the implied movement of the car headlights coming towards us. These solitary scenes of rural roads evoke a common experience, often creating a sense both of looking at the car and being in it. With the vertical format and complex sky, I am drawing attention to how the mountains don’t always block the sky—they can lead our eye to it.
“Intervening Space”, 20″X20″, 2014.
The square format of “Intervening Space” is echoed in the composition, which leads the eye back into the painting with every shape and line. There is also a back-and-forth between the painterly illusion of depth created by arial perspective that draws the eye toward the distant hills, and the feel that the composition and relatively flat shapes create of the whole painting being right up on the picture plane.
I love playing with those two ways of experiencing a painting, counterbalancing the illusion of space in a landscape with the reminder that this is also a two-dimensional, abstract object comprised of areas of color.
For more discussion of the narrative and the abstract, see my post on the topic:https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/narrative-and-abstraction-in-representational-painting/
“Mountain Sky with Mists”, 24″x30″, 2014.
An interpretation of the view from the fire tower on Overlook Mountain, “Mountain Mists with Sky” reveals the transitory and the solid. Fog is a beloved subject, shifting even faster than clouds, and mountains feel eternal even if, geologically, they are not.
Mists from Palmer Hill, 12″X36″, 2014.
The farm fields that you see from Route #28 at the base of Palmer Hill in Andes are a favorite subject of mine, and no show at Chace-Randall is complete without some fresh version of this scene. In the interpretation above, we are in a lovely misty summer day, rain and fog just beginning to lift but still obscuring a mountain that rises behind the horizon of the fields.
“Interwoven Stories”, 30″x60″, 2014.
This is a most amazing view, looking Southeast as you summit Palmer Hill coming from Andes. I have painted it only once before, some years back, quite differently.
Fortunately, since I work from a combination of imagination, memory, and photographic reference, I could access all of these, since there are now many trees blocking a full view of the fields.
Of special interest is the way that the sky and the fields interact, creating the illusion both of motion that extends the scene beyond the canvas, and a compositional directionality that pulls the eye toward the center line of the mountains.
“Memory’s Waters”, 16″x20″, 2013. (Sold)
Something about the depth of the reflections in
“Memory’s Waters” brings me back to moments of contemplating water during every summer I have ever known. I was also taken with the way the sun catches on the front shore on the right and then moves back into shadow on the left in this image of Cooper Lake in Woodstock.
“Cloud over Shoreline,” 12″X12″.
A dark cloud in front of the sun over the Hudson River shoreline. These high-contrast images are both brooding and ethereal.
“Sunlit Sandflats”, 12″X12″, 2014.
While for my shows in Andes I mostly focus on our gorgeous local mountain/river/farm field imagery, I always like to include a few pieces that interpret other locales. This small piece was inspired by a photo that owner/director Zoe took from her favorite beach in Florida, and evokes for me the sandflats of mid-Cape Cod, where I spend so much time in the summer.
Stormy Sea, 12″X12″.
The most minimalist piece in the show, and very low contrast. I love exploring this terrain.
“Affinity/Return at Dusk”, 12″x24″, 2014.
We are often coming into the Roundout Creek from the Hudson at dusk after an afternoon in our small lake boat on the river. As a smaller estuary, the creek is smoother and reflects the sky stunningly (much like a tidal pool compared to the ocean), creating opportunity for the painter. A big fan of deep, dark blacks to create mystery and contrast, I love the sense of being surrounded by the shadows while moving along the softly sky-lit water.
“Affinity?Flatlands Drive”, 18″X18″.
Often with my Affinity Series I select imagery that has strong linear elements that relate to the frayed edges and overlaid gridding. This is clearly the case in “Affinity/Flatlands Drive”, the composition created by almost straight horizontal edges and two strong diagonals. If this were an abstract painting, the straight lines of the road coming off the picture plane on the lower left would be too harsh, but with the implied movement of the headlights coming toward the viewer as a narrative element, the road is instead a quirky plus.
“Affinity/Stepping Out”, 8″X8″. (Sold)
“Affinity?Storm at Sea”, 8″x8″.
“Affinity/Winter Sunset” (at top) has similarly strong horizontal and diagonal shapes, with more emphasis on the interlocking wedge shapes that I love so much. (Shape preference can be as strong a personal choice as color for the painter.)
“Westerly Sky”, 16″X20″.
I also like to include an urban landscape in my shows. “Westerly Sky” captures the view from lower Manhattan that I have painted a number of times, along with another favorite view of the West Side Highway and Hudson River.
In abstract terms the piece plays with the right angles and straight lines of the foreground buildings in strong silhouette interacting with the soft diagonals of the sky. The foreground feels very stationary against the sweep of the clouds.
“White Light/ Red Light”, 24″x24″, 2014. (Sold by the gallery on 5/14.)
I finished this piece toward the end of a long, hard winter. And yet, I enjoyed myself immensely while painting this snowy scene, which explores how the snowstorm changes the light, both ambient and headlights/traffic lights. The way that the trees dissolve into texture in the background is unusual in my work, and echoes the treatment and shape of the manmade lights pulsing at the viewer, almost leaping off the picture plane.
“Soft Summer Greens”, 30″X36″, 2012.
“Soft Summer Greens” captures the sunlit but desaturated color of a hazy summer day, using a complementary palette. it also, with the distant purple hills, creates a color bridge from the stronger summer greens that am using in some pieces in this show to the warmer palette of others, such as “Sunlit Sandflats” and “White Light/Red Light”.
The landscape that we gaze at during any given moment has, in the vast majority of cases, changed repeatedly through geological and historical time.
Even during the time that I have been painting the landscape—24 years—trees have grown up to obscure a favorite view; floods and storms have changed a stream or shoreline; or a miniature golf course gets built in a gorgous field surrounded by mountains.
And yet, gazing at what lies outside of our doors brings us a sense of the eternal, allowing us access to our more grounded and connected selves.
In the end, both the mutable and the immutable in nature combine to form an experience that mesmerizes, stimulates, and soothes.
April 5, 2014 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: atmospheric landscapes, career artist, Catskills, Chace-Randall Gallery, Hudson River paintings, lonely road, minimalist landscapes, moody landscape, Mountain paintings, oil painting, urban landscapes, vertical landscapes, weather | Leave a comment
How do we do it?
I have been working exclusively with landscape imagery since 1990, and painting full time since about 2004. I like nothing better than to be in my studio working, and since I have multiple galleries that all need work, that means a good number of landscape paintings over the course of the years.
So how do I keep it fresh, avoid being bored (which would surely show up in the work), not fall into painting the same painting over and over again?
This is a big question for artists who have a market for their work. Some do just that—paint the same thing, essentially, for decades on end, though realists and plein air painters often have a great love for minute changes in subject matter and locale and keep themselves happy and entertained with these shifts. No judgement here from me–the happy or engrossed artist is the key to good work.
We have all seen artists in the blue chip realm who disappoint with a new body of work (will Susan Rothenberg ever be able to delight me as much as she did with the early horse series?) And yet, the custom of many decades now is for an artist to work serially, ideally moving gracefully and yet compelingly from one body of work to another, maybe over the course of a few years (and often marked by the solo at their major gallery, when it is assumed that that work will leave their studio and never come back, making it easy to start a fresh series). Preferably, from the market standpoint, there is some stylistic or thematic continuity from one series to the next.
I found my true niche with my minimalist mode of landscape painting back in 1990, and a few years later felt a need for opening up my explorations. I addressed it then by expanding the range of my subject matter and palette. Initially, I had avoided anything overtly dramatic, keeping to tonalist color and flat light, and the first shift brought me into a complex sky, or a brighter, blue-sky day.
(The photos in this post may be more current examples, since I have not even begun to get all of my pre-digital slides and photos scanned.)
“Rare Summer Silence”, 20″x30″, (courtesy Gold Gallery), an example of the sort of palette and light that has drawn me from the beginning.
“Sky in Motion”, 24″X20″ (sold by Gold Gallery), which shows the kind of complex sky that beckoned a little later on.
As the years passed and I felt ever more firmly in the saddle of my approach, I dared take on subject matter that borders on the cliche for a landscape painter—sunsets, a beach path, fluffy white clouds, even a sailboat at rest. I enjoyed the challenge of painting these subjects while avoiding the melodramatic or sentimental, at first by aided by instinct and later with a clearer understanding—which I now teach—of how this can be achieved.
“Sunset Sea in Red/Gold”, 20″x60″, (private collection).
I also played with format. The first time I did a vertical landscape I had never actually seen it done, and I found it quite daring. Later, I explored extreme verticals, as well as horizontals.
“Cranberry Bog in Reds”, 48″x24″ (courtesy Gold Gallery).
The next time I felt restless, I still thought of subject matter, now manmade elements. I started with phone poles, and moved on to urban images, road imagery, and then grittier industrial imagery. In 2003 I had a show at Albert Shahinian Fine Art, then in Poughkeepsie, called “Manmade”.
“Exuberant Storm, 30″x36” (sold by Chace-Randall Gallery).
“Conviction of Beauty”, 14″x40″ (courtesy Albert Shahinian Fine Art).
“Bridge Crossing in Violets”, 12″x12″ (courtesy Butters Gallery).
A few years later, I pondered how to get my love for the grid into my work (bearing in mind that my background is in contemporary, not traditional, art). On first glance, it seemed that there were only a few ways to incorpoarate this with landscape imagery. But I decided to just get started doing these first ideas, and eventually it became clear that there were many ways to bring the landscape and the grid together.
“River in 5”, 5 panels of 10″x10″/ea., (sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art), one image stretched over a number of panels.
“Trove”, 35 3″x5″ oil-on-panel paintings (private collection). In order to make these separate images hang together and not be too busy, I used at least some reds in each piece, and toward the end I painted six or seven very minimalist black-and-red images to create a sort of matrix for the brighter, more complex pieces. Also, some of the images had already been explored in larger pieces, usually in a different format, and revisiting them was a pleasure.
“Rainy Road/Fireflies”, 3 panels of 12″x12″/ea. (sold by Gold Gallery), three versions of the same stretch of road and close to the same moment in time, with implied movement and a non-linear nod to film.
Somewhere around 2002, once again contemplating my next move, I began to use vintage boxes and other distressed objects as my support, selecting imagery and palette to mesh with the elements already present in the object.
“Approach”, oil on vintage blackboard, 11″x13.5″ (courtesy Chace-Randall Gallery). Elements and color in the image reflect grain, texture and color present in the frame of the blackboard.
This series sometimes requires applied problem-solving in to addition visual/aesthetic decision making, and I enjoy the stretch of the brain.
Many of these pieces have been set in lovely old compartmentalized boxes, trays, or pans, which means that they also explore multiple-panel imagery.
“Mountain Fall in 6, 5″x18” (courtesy Albert Shahinian Fine Art). This appears to be an old coin drawer from a cash register. At first I thought of putting small panels within the compartments, but that obscured the lovely curve at the back. Finally, I created flexible pieces of backed linen that follow the curve. I had to take them in and out a number of times while I was painting them, since being set back changed the light and therefore the color substantially.
When I was preparing to do my Cyclone Sampler, I spent a great deal of time just figuring out what I was going to paint on before nestling the tiny panels into the compartments of the box (I settled on bevel-cut 8-ply matboard—bless my framer—that I sealed front and back with multiple coats of matte medium, since I did not want to put glass over this piece). A spontaneous decision at the end, purely aesthetic, was to leave a few compartments empty, avoiding the feel of a catalogue.
- “Cyclone Sampler”,21.5″x10.5″, (collection of the Tyler Museum of Art). Unlike the expansive feel of my single-image landscapes , this piece shows the vast energy of many twisters tightly contained within the grid.
This series has as many possibilities as the amazing things that I come across that fire my imagination, though I often have to stare at the object for up to a year before I decide what I want to do with it.
Irrigated Fields, 4″x18″(sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art).
- My most recent addition is the Affinity Series, oil paintings on linen with frayed edges on board overlaid with graphite gridding. I don’t even remember the exact thought process that brought these into being, but it started with the idea of manipulating the support. I was enjoying both selecting and adjusting the subject matter to the individual vintage object that I was using in the pieces in that series, and was interested in creating a more specific support myself, forcing a considered mesh between it and the painted imagery.
Generally the imagery that works best with the frayed edges and gridding in the Affinity Series is either very minimalist or has strong linear elements.
Affinity/Boatyard, 10″x10″, 2014, oil on linen with frayed edges on board overlaid with graphite lines.
That I ended up with graphite gridding as an overlay was a circle-back to my longstanding interest in the grid, bringing the viewer’s eye to the surface of the piece and creating mixed associations. Some of the latter I hadn’t even thought of, like the historical use of gridding to aid with proportions while transferring a small image, or maquette, into the larger finished piece, an association that other artists have pointed out to me.
Affinity/On the Grid, 36″x48″, (courtesy Gold Gallery). In this very recent piece I pushed the gridding quite a bit, moving to black instead of graphite and actually spending more time very selectively gridding than on the earlier painting portion.
Many pieces now are some combination of these series. For example, often the frayed linen on board of the Affinity series works well in an old box.
“Factory at Work”, 7.5″x3.5″ (courtesy Julie Heller Gallery).
All the while, I have continued to paint my wide-open landscapes on linen. Doing all these other explorations makes a small new slant on a salt marsh or hillside painting feel exciting and fresh, even though I have been painting this imagery for 24 years.
“Blue Light”, 20″x60″, 2014.
I love expanding the repertoire, adding both new versions within a body of work that reflects longstanding interests and, every so often, a whole new series. In my week-to-week, month-to-month, I juggle these series simultaneously, rather than consecutively, keeping myself riveted to what is developing in my studio.
The constant is the landscape.
“White Light/ Red Light”, 24″x24″, (Courtesy Chace-Randall Gallery). Sneak peak at a new piece going into my upcoming solo, opening May 24th!
What is next? (I have several ideas just taking shape, so not sharing yet!)
March 20, 2014 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, atmospheric landscapes, career artist, Chace-Randall Gallery, Choose from the most used tags Albert Shahinian Fine Art art art collecting Asher Nieman Gallery atmospheric landscapes Barneche Designs Cape Cod paintings Catskills Chichester christie scheele color , cranberry bog, creating new bodies of work, Gold Gallery Boston, headlights, industrial landscapes, innovation, lonely road, manmade elements in the landscape, minimalist landscape, mixed media, new series, new work, oil painting, painting series, paintings in vintage boxes, phone poles, road at night, road paintings, sunsets, the grid in painting, unusual landscapes, vertical landscapes, winter road, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery, workshops | 2 Comments
“Art is not meat. It does not go bad”, to quote Albert Shahinian.
I was thinking about that comment (again!) while assembling this post because I noticed that some recent sales have been of paintings that are not at all new.
So, why does a much-admired piece hang around, sometimes for years?
Usually the answer to that is that they have had many near-misses, and that something has come up at the last minute that has nixed the sale…each time. Bearing in mind that there is always a ratio of success to failure in every business, often in this one there are more almost-sales than sales. Bringing an object into the home that is not functional or strictly decorative, and that is also not cheap is, rightly, a big decision for potential collectors.
So, to put it another way, if you don’t have lots of nibbles you are unlikely to have lots of sales.
If there are no near-sales on a given piece it could mean that the painting doesn’t have wide appeal (which also doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good piece or that it won’t sell when the right person finds it) or that it is in the wrong gallery. But all of this is another story.
Here are two pieces that are a bit older and had been nibbled on many times before they recently found their wall in a new home. I will use them as examples of what can happen along the way.
Winter Brilliance just came under discussion in a recent blog post:
I will quote from that, but before all of the below happened this past year, this piece also was sold and unsold in a day. It went out on approval for three days from my (now closed) gallery in Redbank, NJ, to an NYC apartment. On the second day they called and said that they loved it and were keeping it. On the third day they called and said that they were being transferred by the husband’s job to San Francisco, where a fully furnished and decorated house awaited them, so they had to return the piece. Since this was all within the agreed upon three day approval period, back it came.
“…the piece below, recently sold, had quite a busy time of it this year before reaching its new home. In March, it went to Chicago, where it was selected for viewing in a home. Much as they would have liked it, the piece didn’t fit the budget at that time, so a smaller piece was settled upon. Then, it was vetted for a possible swap with one of my dealers for a coveted Milton Avery print. But before I could bring it to her for her to decide, a private dealer asked me to hold it back for a likely sale through a designer. Months later and no word, I let it back out again to my gallery in Rhinebeck, and from there it went out to a home (through an architect, this time) where it looked as if I had painted it for the room in question.”
Winter Brilliance, 40″x50″. 2004.
River in 5 received a great deal of attention when I first stated showing it 2006. Not so exciting a history as Winter Brilliance, but I kept hearing from gallereists that this person or that couple had it under consideration. That was true also when it arrived at Albert Shahinian Fine art, with one collector of mine admiring both the soft monochromatic palette and the way it evoked the views he enjoyed while kayaking across the Hudson River from this spot.
Then…very quiet. Other work coming and going, but no nibbles on this piece for at least a few years…until last summer, when all at once two collectors spotted it in the gallery or on my website and were planning on buying it the next time they made it to Rhinebeck. First couple fell in love with a different piece and couldn’t manage both, and the second collector was still planning on acquiring the piece when it went out to the same apartment as Winter Brilliance and stayed there.
- River in 5, 5 panels of 10″x10″/ea., 2006.
Below, a few sales of recent pieces.
Affinity/Narrow Road, 48″x12″, sold by Gold Gallery.
Mutable Mists, 20″x20″, sold by Chace-Randall Gallery.
Wave, 24″x48″, sold by Van Ward Gallery.
Mists off the River, 12″X36″, 2013, sold by Chace-Randall Gallery.
A few newly finished pieces:
Triptych in Reds, 3 panels of 24″x24″/ea., just packed off to Gold Gallery in Boston.
Moving Light, oil on vintage blackboard, 9.5″x5.5″.
“Blue Above”, 12″X36″.
Soft Summer Sky, 30″x36″.
I have recently introduced a series of small oil-on-paper compositional/color studies in my painting workshops. I did this preliminary series beforehand, and now have others following—a wonderful way to work out placement of elements, using your painterly hand (instead of photoshop, which is a great tool but doesn’t help with the aforementioned!). I will be offering these small pieces for sale from my studio, tidbits that can be framed/hung individually or as a grouping, and are a great way to come up with an original—for yourself or as a gift—for the price of a print.
Small oil-on-paper studies, 6″x6″ or 5″x7″ or 3″x8″.
My recent workshop at the PAAM in Provincetown, with a wonderful group:
Color-mixing from primaries. (Photo credit Carol Duke.)
Last day. (Photo credit Carol Duke.)
See my blog post on how the workshop runs, with emphasis on composition:
In other news:
I am sad to announce the closing of my gallery on Martha’s Vineyard, Dragonfly, but happy for Don and Susan as they move onto the next phase for them (more time for artmaking!).
Also happy to have joined the Louisa Gould Gallery, located the next town over in Vineyard Haven. I look forward to a long and successful relationship with my new MV gallery! (And a big thank-you to Don and Susan for connecting us.)
Boston International Art Fair, with Gold Gallery, Nov. 21-24
“LINE…”, Butters Gallery, Portland, OR, curated by Melinda Stickney-Gibson, Feb. 6-March 1
Solo show at Chace-Randall Gallery, Andes, NY, May21-July 4th.
Duo show at Julie Heller East, Provincetown, MA, summer or fall, TBA
Workshops at the Woodstock School of Art: Feb. 15-17 & late June: PAAM, Sept., dates TBA
Solo show at Gold Gallery in Boston, early March.
October 16, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, art collecting, atmospheric landscapes, Butters Gallery, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, Chace-Randall Gallery, Choose from the most used tags Albert Shahinian Fine Art art art collecting Asher Nieman Gallery atmospheric landscapes Barneche Designs Cape Cod paintings Catskills Chichester christie scheele color , color field, Dragonfly Gallery, Gold Gallery Boston, Louisa Gould Gallery, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalism, moody landscape, new gallery, small oil paintings, teaching, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery | 2 Comments
Summer Trees, 16″X20″.
The pleasures of late spring and early summer as they affect my studio experience and the tasks related to showing and selling my work are too many to list. Must-mentions: painting with windows and door open to the yard and the stream behind my studio; drying my paintings in the sun in my yard so that I can resume work on a second layer within just a day; doing my daily work on the computer sitting on my screened-in back porch with the sound of the stream as accompaniment; and driving my work around for deliveries surrounded by the visual joy of many-colored lilacs, poppies creating a splash of brilliant orange next to purple dame’s rocket, and amazing, shifting, spring-soft greens.
Ellsworth Kelly at Thompson Giroux Gallery
I had the pleasure of attending an exhibition and 90th birthday party for Ellsworth Kelly on May 31st, the day of his actual birthday, at my gallery in Chatham, NY, Thompson Giroux. Chatham is familiar turf for Ellsworth– the dinner was thrown in the same space that he rented for his first upstate studio back in the early ’70s, and is of course the source for the title of his “Chatham Series”.
It was lovely to see again the botanical prints that we studied and admired back when I was in art school as iconic line drawings from life—spare, fluid, and subtly quirky.
I was most interested to read that Ellsworth based his abstract paintings on “observed reality”, a departure from the ethic of the day. Comparing this with the work of the abstract artists that I am closest to, Jenny Nelson, Melinda Stickney-Gibson and Marie Vickerilla,, whose imagery evolves from within the process of developing each canvas (and whose shows I have also recently seen) has set me thinking. I plan a blog post on this discussion, coming up next.
Then, I may not be able to resist jumping into the issue of prices and how crazy the art market is. Discussing an artist whose work brings some of the highest prices of any living artist in the same breath as three mid-level artists makes it hard to avoid that particular elephant in the room.
What is the realtionship between quality and price in the art market? Why do these four artists have such different price points?
Shandaken Art Studio Tour July 20-21
Save-the-date for the Shandaken Studio Tour, when it is my pleasure to arrange and open up my studio to new folks doing the tour, my collectors, fellow artists, and friends. This is a busy weekend for me, though oddly grouped sometimes (last year about half the people who came by seemed to be there just after 2pm on Sunday!). Here are a few of the pieces that I plan on showing.
“Rare Summer Silence”, 20″x30″.
“Mountain Vista/Max Patch”, 24″x48″.
“Unreservedly Summer”, 10″X30″.
Favorite Pieces at my Galleries
Within the past month six of my galleries have either received new work or been delivered the whole grouping that they will show for the season. I have chosen a favorite piece from each location to show you below—I hope you get a chance to visit these wonderful galleries!
“Ongoingness of Summer”, 3 panels of 24″X30″/ea., at Gold Gallery in Boston.
“Cranberry Bog in Reds”, 48″x24″, Van Ward Gallery, Ogunquit, ME.
“Spring Light”, 36″X36″, Chace-Randall Gallery, Andes, NY.
“Sundrenched Saltmarsh”, 20″x16″, Julie Heller Gallery, Provincetown, MA.
“Oak Bluffs Morning Fog”, 3 panels of 14″x18″/ea., Dragonfly Gallery, Oak Bluffs, MA.
“Overlook Summit View”, 24″X48″, Albert Shahinian Fine Art, Rhinebeck, NY.
An Invitational Show in Newburgh
“Particularity of Place”, 36″x36″, one of three pieces of mine included in the show.
A Few Recent Sales
“Trove: From the Road”, 16 paintings of 3″X5″/ea., 22″X28″ framed. This sale was quite a story, involving a trip to Chicago where it hung perfectly on a particular wall, then back to my studio where it was almost shipped off to my Boston gallery; then the intervention of a purchase as a generous gift so that it ended up back in Chicago in its perfect spot. There were several co-conspiritors on this one!
“Mutable Sky”, 20″x40″, to a lovely home in Woodstock.
Upcoming painting workshops
Landscape and Mood, the Woodstock School of Art, June 24-26. http://woodstockschoolofart.org/
Landscape and Mood, The Provincetown Artists Association and Museum, September 16-19 (this will be on their website soon). http://www.paam.org/mspaam.html
June 11, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, atmospheric landscapes, Cape Cod paintings, career artist, color field, cranberry bog, Dragonfly Gallery, Ellsworth Kelly, Gold Gallery Boston, Hudson River paintings, Maine Galleries, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalism, minimalist landscape, moody landscape, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown Artists Association, road paintings, summer paintings, t, Thompson Giroux Gallery, Van Ward Gallery, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery | Leave a comment
Cloud over Castle Deel, 30″X36″.
The winter abundance in my studio is heading out for various points East, West, and North. Not only am I hard at work during the colder months, but also usually have work in the studio that comes back from my seasonal galleries in the Northeast. Then, in the spring begins the exodus, to both buyers and galleries.
All busy career artists find that sometimes work needs to move around to a few galleries before it sells. Some galleries like to keep a piece they like—and have gotten a good response to—indefinitely, while others, especially those that close down during the off-season, prefer to have all new work each year. This is typically a combination of brand new work and some pieces that have previously been in other galleries.
One galleriest who I have been showing with for many years is in the former category, feeling a devotion to certain pieces such that he wants to keep them until they sell, whether that happens in a day or a decade. “Art is not meat—it does not go bad”, he has been known to say, if someone questions the date on a piece.
There is a good deal of randomness in why a piece sells sooner or later. With my work, there are a number of variables. Size, format, palette, and locale of imagery are among them. Who stops by which gallery when, with what size wall in mind…or with an open mind? What is their budget? Do they have strong color preferences? Are they buying the piece that slays them, or a locale that they are fond of? Are they looking for a gift, trying hard to get it right?
Some of my work that I consider more accessible—often a little brighter—appeals to a broader spectrum and so has a larger pool of possible buyers. The moodier work draws from a smaller pool, but often so forcefully that they feel that they must have the piece. So, which one is more likely to sell?
Lucky for me, my studio process allows for a number of concurrent explorations, making it easy for me to ignore all such considerations while working. This is key for any artist.
Mists off the River, 12″X36″.
In recent news, I did a pop-up show in Chicago in early March, partnering with the Asher-Neiman Gallery, which included the work of Jill Ricci (see work on the gallery website, http://asherneimangallery.com/ ).
It was held in the beautiful Lincoln Park home of family friends. (See my blog post on how these home shows work, https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/open-studio-house-party/ ) Our hosts threw a lovely party, very well attended , with excellent food, wine, art (of course!), and conversation enjoyed by all.
Winter Brilliance and a small Affinity in the living room.
Changed Integrity in the second floor stairwell.
Rivergimplse and Extravagant Sky in the dining room.
Lightening Storm, one of the pieces that sold in Chicago. This one going gave me a pang!
“October Saltmarsh”, 24″X48″, looked so perfect where we hung it that it ended up staying.
I am happy to again be showing at the Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY, with seven pieces included in a show titled “Slow Down Make Space”. Below are a few pieces that are in the show.
Spinning Clouds, 20″x40″.
Sunset Roofline, 24″x30″.
I am newly represented this year by Van Ward Gallery in Ogunquit, Maine. They, along with Dragonfly Gallery in MV and Chace-Randall in Andes, NY, are opening for the season the weekend of May 11, each with a fresh collection of my work. Final picks have not yet been made, but here are some new paintings that will be off to these galleries, as well as to the Julie Heller Gallery in Provincetown.
Seaview Mists, 12″X12″, another in my Oak Bluffs morning fog series. Off to Dragonfly Gallery on the Vineyard soon!
Continuing Progression, 24″x48″.
Sandflats in Red/Purple, 11″X14″. Since folks who have not experienced extreme tidal flats have trouble making sense of these images, this piece will most likely land at Julie Heller Gallery in Provincetown.
I taught two workshops in March, a two-day painting workshop at the Woodstock School of Art and a Mentoring Seminar in my studio with six artists from NJ, Louisiana, Westchester, and our area, working with their diverse styles and aspirations to further both work and career.
“Sandflats with Seagrass”, oil on beach-weathered fiberglass, 4″x18″.
Coming up, that I know of? The Shandaken Art Studio Tour, July 20-21, always a busy weekend for me, by which time I will have created new abundance in my studio. A painting workshop at the Woodstock School of Art June 24-26; another at the Provincetown Artists Association September 9-12; and a Mentoring workshop May 5th, also at the PAAM. Gold Gallery in Boston needs a new infusion of larger pieces, so I am about to embark on another big triptych. I will be bringing new work to them at the same time I deliver to the Vineyard and Cape Cod, the first week in May.
So…stay tuned, keep in touch, and happy spring!
March 31, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: atmospheric landscapes, beach combing, busy artist, career artist, Chace-Randall Gallery, Choose from the most used tags Albert Shahinian Fine Art art art collecting Asher Nieman Gallery atmospheric landscapes Barneche Designs Cape Cod paintings Catskills Chichester christie scheele color , Deel Castle, Dragonfly Gallery, Gold Gallery Boston, Ireland, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalist landscapes, moody landscape, Mountain paintings, pastels, pop-up show, Provincetown Artists Association, Shandaken Art Studio Tour, Shore galleries, sunsets, weather, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery | Leave a comment
Is making art work?
This question has come up several times lately in discussion with artists, often as a question put to them by another party.
What immediately comes to mind for me is to reject the notion that conflates work with suffering. Of course, there are all kinds of work, and some is grueling, but work and misery are not the same thing.
Here is a definition of work (as a verb).
Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil, productive or operative activity.
Making art is, without question, a productive activity that accomplishes something. Creating an object from materials, often formless (such as paint or clay), where no object existed before is a kind of magic. The process of creation often grounds the artist and thus sends positive energy out into the world, and the object itself can have emotive, soothing, and/or thought-provoking impact on its audience.
But is that work?
What if the artist is making an object that has a market, and that hours must be spent at this work (hmmm) to make a living?
Is the difference between making art that is work and making art that is pleasure that the first generates income and the latter does not?
I seem to be coming up with more questions than answers, but I will say that for myself making art is both work and play. It differs from a job in a few ways—-that I don’t get paid until I make a sale: and that I have to please myself first with what I paint, rather than pleasing a boss (though in the end, if what pleases me does not do so for others, I will not be able to sell anything).
Other things that often (but not always) apply to a job—-stressful, boring, repetitive—exist much less in my work day than with most jobs. And some attributes of work that would apply to all of us are that it requires discipline; builds skills, and can, over the years, be hard on the body.
If making art were not hugely satisfying, certainly no one would choose the uncertainty of being an artist as their livelihood. So I will venture to say that making art is both more stimulating and more soothing than other work, in different degrees for different artists.
Clearly, however, I find that I cannot even discuss this topic without applying the word work to artmaking, especially for the career artist. If you reread the above, you can see that I would have had to jump through hoops to avoid it, and the discussion has ended up being more about the kind of work.
I put the question to a handful of my wise artists friends, asking for a short commentary, and am including their thoughts, unedited.
“I am going to respond quickly before I have a chance to edit myself, and to all of you, in the hopes that we can all share our ideas.
I have been struggling with this word “work” associated with my art making for a very long time. I remember, years ago when I was in my twenties, I worked for lawyers on a part-time schedule. When I left to go make art, the lawyers used to smile and say “you’re off to play!” I bristled every time I heard that because I was struggling in the process of learning the craft of my medium for art, ceramics. It took me many years to become facile in my craft so I could see my art making as play. Even today, I have a lot of physical labor, repetitive tasks, and losses due to factors beyond my control, in my art making that cause me to think of it as work, and sometimes question whether I am crazy to be doing this work at all.
I think of my art as my life partner. I also have a non art job, which I love, which I am married to. I have the formal relationships with my job that keep me from abandoning it when it gets hard to do. My art is easy to abandon as I have no formal ties to it (galleries, patrons etc.) like you do Christie. I am now in a bit of a fallow period. I have had these in the past and worried if I would ever return to my art. Of course I do, eventually, because I miss the relationship. I miss all the hard work, and I even miss the failures, because generally they spark my mind to go in new directions. So, yes I think it is good work because it stimulates me. I don’t, fortunately for me, define this work based on whether I earn a living at it or I’d drive myself crazy. I am old enough now to understand that I have to make art alongside my paying job. They feed off of each other. I need them both to be the kind of person I want to be. Hopefully, I will replace the job with something else when I retire, but it will not be art. I can’t make art all the time. My body and mind can’t take it.
So, although I think I got off topic a bit, I think I can now say to those lawyers, “Yes, I am off to play to make my art work!” ;-}”
“Without the work there are only ideas. For me to make a painting takes great work. And then, more work.”
“I am away teaching so I will l answer quickly and intuitively. The answer is yes!!
That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun, full of play and exciting but it is challenging, frustrating and just plain hard at times.
There are those moments in the studio when i just feel that i am in the right place doing what I am suppose to be doing..then it isn’t work!!
“John- I really like what you wrote: Without the work there are only ideas.
I have 2 brothers who were both gifted with a fair amount of natural talent but neither of them pursued their talents. They have also expressed a bit of envy of my abilities. I point out to them that I work- and work hard- at my art and that they always gave up when the first attempt to express themselves artistically didn’t yield the result they wanted.
Do I enjoy doing the work? Yes!! With every fiber of my being. I love getting myself into a tough artistic corner and finding the way out. I exercise my art muscles as often as I can.
July 24, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: bodies of work, career artist, diligence in making art, discipline in painting, hardworking artist, John Wellington, Lisa Pressman, Loren Scherbak, painting and hard work, Polly Law, work and art, working artist | 5 Comments
I have long been interested in writing a column in this vein, and so will answer a question every now and then here on my blog. I welcome questions for future posts.
Q. I have finally been able to place my work in a good private gallery in my area. Some things are laid out in the contract (when I will be notified of a sale and paid; how we split the sale; what percentage the gallery can discount the work; and so on), but I understand from conversing with other artists that there are a number of other points of consideration that are just understood. Could you discuss what my ethical obligations are, and what I can do to help make this a successful relationship?
Congratulations! You are now, as an artist, represented, entering into a complex yet potentially fruitful relationship that can build your reputation, confidence, and sales record.
There are two parts to your question, so I will discuss the ethical obligations first.
The issue of studio sales is very important. If we begin from the understanding that your gallery needs to make sales to survive—something that you want as well—it follows that they need to be included on any sales that result from having your work in their gallery.
Collectors who have discovered you at your gallery will come to you directly for several different reasons, and with artists’ websites displaying work and contact info, this is now made very easy.
Some buyers will approach the artist because they expect a deal, assuming that the artist will charge them a price that discounts the gallery commission. This is strictly a no-no (though sometimes suggested in complete innocence), unless, maybe, it is your sister who is asking. Once an artist has any gallery representation and/or track record of sales, prices need to be consistent for any show, gallery, or studio sale, and can move up across the board as a sales record is built.
There are several reasons for this. First, if someone has purchased your work for X, they don’t want to see or hear of a same-size piece being offered or sold for less than X. Second, if you attract buyers to your studio by undercutting your gallery, the gallery really has no reason to keep you aboard. A collector who has bought work at half price from your studio will never buy anything from your gallery. So, if the gallery is working hard trying to advance your career and your pocketbook, and you essentially hoard collectors and steal sales from them, what is in it for them?
Studio sales, therefore, to anyone, need to be done at full retail price or whatever discount might be acceptable at your gallery.
The second reason folks come directly to the artist is that they want to see work in addition to what’s at the gallery. Some will ask the gallery to arrange a studio visit or snag a piece that is on the artist’s website, but others will contact the artist directly with the idea of going to the source. They sometimes (not understanding the relevance) neglect to tell the artist how they discovered the work.
When anyone contacts you from out of the blue, it is important to find out how they became acquainted with your work, something that you would want to do for your own information anyway. Sometimes this takes some gentle pressing, maybe even after they have arrived to look at work. If they did indeed find you through your gallery, it’s best to work into the conversation that the gallery will be looped in. I have found that folks have often absorbed many artists’ complaints about galleries and their commissions so I usually express my sincere gratitude to my gallery, as well as pointing out that without those commissions, they will not be in business. It is a professional and reciprocal relationship, but often folks just haven’t looked at it in that light. If pressed (for example, they will sometimes promise to keep a discounted price a secret!), I will point out that I have agreed to these conditions with my gallery, and would therefore be lying to them if I broke that agreement.
If they want to purchase a piece, you can refer them to the gallery to pay, but if they want to do the sale through you, you will gracefully accept, and work it out with your gallery later. Sales from the studio usually require a somewhat smaller commission to the gallery (unless the dealer brings the collector over personally), often 40%. On other occasions, where the artist has worked extensively with the buyer (sending jpegs of work, a studio visit, perhaps a delivery) the gallery commission might be as low as 25%. This needs to be worked out with your gallery with transparency all around, though the buyer doesn’t need to be bothered with these details, as you are charging them the same price regardless.
Exclusivity agreements are another point of ethical conduct. If they are not outlined in your contract (that you will show exclusively with them within a certain radius) then common sense and good communications apply. You really don’t want to show down the block, and the gallery should be notified of any shows, especially those that are nearby. They are, again, representing you, and so should be kept apprised of career developments and not be left to be informed of your activities by some other artist or collector who wanders into the gallery.
Even if you have an exclusivity clause in your contract, it is always worth asking your gallery for an exception under certain circumstances. These might be a group show mounted by a national organization of which you are a member; a museum show; or a town-wide artists studio tour.
If you have multiple galleries, even if you have left ample turf geographically for each gallery, they will inevitably end up stepping on each other’s toes via the internet. Many galleries will work with a split commission if one gallery has the piece and another the client. Sometimes a collector will call or email inquires all over the place and get everyone sending out jpegs of available work (often getting them from the artist), and the artist is usually the one to figure it out when it’s all the same person. When confronted with the confusion that the internet can cause (which is, of course, far outweighed by the benfits), keep the lines of communication open and try to maintain a sense of humor.
This creates a good segue to the next part of the question, which has to do with steps that you can take to create a successful relationship with your gallery.
Taking work back from your gallery can make for a touchy situation. Most galleries specify in their contract how long they expect consigned work to stay in the gallery. Many try to be flexible if the artist has pressing needs—-a show going up in a museum, for example—and sometimes the gallery is just ready to let a piece go back to the artist. What is frowned upon is when the artist snags a piece to sell elsewhere and does not share with the gallery (though this does happen, especially when there is no contract or the stated duration has expired); when an artist cleans out the inventory of one gallery to show in another: or takes a piece that the gallery has a nibble on. The ideal policy is just to leave work until the gallery is ready to give it up.
It behooves the artist to send collectors to the gallery. I always argue that while with a studio sale the artists makes more money, a sale through the gallery will have much more ripple effect, leading to future sales. The galleriest will not fail to notice that you sent a client, beginning a bond of loyalty; they can speak of the sale or point to the red dot with prospective collectors; and you have shown your willingness to share, helping them keep their doors open. This is likely to be remembered when they are deciding on their show schedule, or selecting artists to bring to the next art fair.
One good time to refer folks is when someone not affiliated with another of your galleries approaches you about a purchase. You can give them the two options—come to my studio or visit my nearby gallery. I have noticed that some folks really prefer to work through a gallery, while others love to deal with the artist. In a relationship of trust, you and your dealer can refer folks back and forth as appropriate.
Artists who are easy to deal with and show understanding of the collaborative nature of the relationship tend to have more solid and long-lasting tenures. Several of my galleriests have explained this very clearly to me—while choosing from all of the talent that is out there, they would prefer, as a quality-of-life choice, to work with artist who are also responsive and can keep an even keel while working through the occasional conflict or stressful situation.
Otherwise…show up when possible, respond promptly to requests for work or jpegs or your resume (or anything), check in occasionally to express interest, forward gallery evites to your own list, mention your gallery on Facebook—all common sense attentions. Also, speak well of your gallery to others, ask questions when you aren’t sure; don’t be a pest; and (barring any unethical conduct on their part) stay the course—it takes time to build a solid relationship and a collector base for your work.
A possible topic for future discussion— What you can expect from your gallery? What are their obligations? (Let me know if this interests you!)
Albert, me and artist David Eddy at our duo show at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck last year.
April 6, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: being represented by a gallery, career artist, ethics in artist-gallery relationship, exclusivity agreements between artist and gallery, gallery contracts, gallery sales, good relations with your gallery, relationship between artist and gallery, studio sales | 2 Comments
Several times a year, I am approached by a collector who wants a particular kind of image in a size/format that I don’t have available, and so a commissioned piece is the route to go. I recently finished two and am about to start another, so being currently on my mind, I thought I would discuss the process. In many cases, the collectors have work of mine and/or have known me personally for some time, but in others, it all goes through a designer or gallery, and I don’t have direct contact with the buyer. The pastel sketch (really a small, complete version of the image), mentioned below, can sometimes be eliminated if all concerned are very clear on the imagery desired. The description that I share with galleries and collectors is copied below. I have developed a process for creating a commissioned artwork that has so far worked out very well for all concerned, and goes as follows: The collector finds a piece or several related pieces among the photos of my completed work (either sold or in the wrong size) that they like. They then determine the size of the piece that they want, and whether they would prefer an oil or a pastel. I give them a price quote for that size and medium, and then we discuss the imagery that they are drawn to, and how it would relate to the format of the piece that they want (horizontal, square, or vertical). The new piece can have color similar to one of my finished pieces and the landforms of another, and could be the same scene as a square one, but in horizontal, and so on. One thing that I won’t do is exactly duplicate an already executed piece in the same format and medium. Once I feel clear on what I’ll be doing, I do a small pastel, to scale, of the scene that has been worked out. (I will keep this pastel and frame and sell it afterwards, as it is done on spec and not included in the price.) After the collector has approved the sketch, I will need a deposit for half of the price of the piece, and then I will begin work on the large finished painting or pastel. It usually takes me 2-3 weeks to complete the big piece, depending on what else I have going on. Final payment is due upon delivery, and I will handle framing in my usual way, or the client can use his/her own framer if they prefer. Of course, I can only do commissioned pieces within the range of my own style.
A Recent Straightforward Commission
I recently completed this vertical piece of the sun behind a cloud creating a reflected gleam as the water hits the sand at bay’s edge.
Gleam at Shore’s Edge, 48″X24″.
A designer in NYC who I have worked with for years, thought that it was the perfect image for clients who have bought my work over the years and were re-doing their dining room—except that it was too narrow. Therefore, I painted the below, with many small differences in addition to format.
Shoreline Gleam, 48″X36″.
It was great fun to look at both pieces in the end and observe which things I liked better about which piece, and also what elements and affects are simply different.
An Early Corporate Commission
Years ago JSO ART Associates commissioned a piece from me for the first-class lounge at Kennedy Airport for American Airways.
The pastel triptych was based on a version of the pastel below, an image I have explored a number of times in different ways.
“Evening Calm”, pastel on paper, 22″X28″. (Private collection.)
The finished piece, pre-digital camera for me, has been moved (from a building since torn down), but still graces the wall of an AA hospitality lounge at JFK . (I love it when my art has history!)
I also did these two commissions for JSO within e few years of the AA one, both based on earlier pieces of mine, yet quite different upon completion.
A Complex Commission
A couple who already owned a handful of pieces of mine saw “Contrasting Shapes” online and wanted to purchase it. Upon finding out that it was sold, they decided to commission a piece of their own reservoir view.
Contrasting Shapes, 24″X72″. (Private collection.)
After a great deal of back and forth, many photographs of their nearby view, and lots of discussion (all very pleasant, as they are lovely people—always a plus!), we decided on a triptych (for length and interest) that emphasized the folds of the mountains. We also cleared out a few trees (virtually!) to be able to see more water. I did a few pencil sketches to firm up what was going to be in the painting (like the notch on the left) and to get the shape of the water right. Then I did the pastel, 6″X18″ (which I appear not to have a jpeg of).
Painting the final piece involved a great deal of detailed decision-making, since the collectors had been studying and admiring this view for years and were interested in accuracy. Often, when I paint, various details get omitted or changed to serve my vision of the whole, but in this case I had to do both—capture each mountain accurately, while also satisfying my own need for simplicity. The monochromatic palette was a big part of the solution to this duality of intent.
“Catskill Embrace”, titled by the collectors, three panels of 24″X30″/ea.
A Recent Commission and Two from Many Years ago
A couple from Washington, DC (also consistently delightful to work with) commissioned their first piece of mine about ten years ago. Having a longstanding affection for the Catskills, they wanted a 24″X48″ painting of the Esopus, our local stream, at dusk. First I did the pastel version, to scale, below.
“Mountain Stream”, pastel on paper, 12″X24″. (Private collection.)
The final version is below (excuse the bad jpegs of some of these older pieces—I did not really understand the process with my first digital camera).
“Esopus Eve”, 24″X48″, the first commission.
And in place, in their beautiful new house.
A year or two later, they decided that they wanted an image of their own town. After seeing a few pictures of their (then) home, I pitched the idea of a vertical, to fit between two windows in their living room.
The second piece in their collection, “Monument”.
They were recently interested in acquiring a new painting (number six, by now). They had looked over a number of pieces of mine online, loving two that were not the right size for the wall that they had in mind. The husband contacted me, and together we decided on a commissioned piece that would combine elements of the two that they had liked, which would arrive as a surprise for his wife.
Serene Summer Cloudwatch, 24″X48″.
The new cloud painting in their living room.
Another Straightforward Commission
A decorator that I have worked with for years had a client who liked “Winter Brilliance”, below, but needed something smaller and more horizontal. They also decided on a pastel.
Winter Brilliance, 40″X50″.
Since the new piece mostly involved a shift in format, we skipped the pastel phase. Of course, there are plenty of other differences between the two pieces in color, shape and details.
November Golds, 22″X48″.
A Commission for my Biggest Collector
The collector who now has 37 pieces of mine (and has a wonderfully decisive and generous nature) between her apartment in NYC and her weekend place in the Catskills wanted a large piece, either urban or road/headlights, for above the couch in her apartment (you can see that wall in my blog post, Open Studio and House Party). She liked the vertical piece below, so we decided on a horizontal triptych with a similar sky.
“Travel at Sunset”, 20″X10″.
The pastel triptych.
“Sunset on the Road”, 3 panels of 5″/ea. (Private collection.)
And below, an installation shot of the finished piece.
“Sunset Travel”, each panel 20″X20″.
A Change in Palette
During one of the shows that I had with Art Forms Gallery in Redbank, NJ before they closed several years ago, someone very much liked the postcard piece, “Autumn Seaside” which was already sold.
“Autumn Seaside”, 30″X48″. (Private collection.)
He was interested in a similar piece, a bit more horizontal, that had more greens in it, so I did a pastel like the above, working more greens into the areas that already have them.
THEN, it turned out that the collector wanted serious greens—as in a summer palette, so I did the pastel, below.
“Gladness”, pastel on paper, 12″X24″. (Private collection.)
Finally, the finished piece.
“Summer Seaside”, 24″X48″.
It might look as if these commissioned pieces are a major part of my work (and there are quite a few more than these), but the examples I have discussed have been done over many years. Only once did I find the process difficult at a certain point, and understood that the collector was seeing me as a style and pair of hands to execute her vision. After that I became more careful to be clear that I make the necessary aesthetic decisions as I am painting, after the initial discussion has taken place—which most people assume, anyway.
I quite enjoy doing these collaborative pieces every so often, always making sure that the image that I am painting is something I would be interested in doing anyway.
Afterwards, I am happy to be back in my studio making choices in my usual fashion, following only the interior logic of my longstanding process.
March 10, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: art collecting, career artist, Catskills creeks, commissioned artwork, commissioned painting, corporate art collections, custom artwork, oil painting, seascapes, triptych | 1 Comment
I am co-curating a show at my gallery in Rhinebeck, using this blog post as an ongoing site for information about the show. I am a participating artist in “15” as well.
Keep checking back for additional news, press, and photos. We have selected outstanding work from these stellar artists, and expect this exhibition to be a bright light in our late winter.
How do the light-infused geometric abstractions of Heather Hutchison exhibit in the same show with Lenny Kislin’s antique assemblages? How does Bernard Gerson’s mysterious photograph of two faces connect to Yale Epstein’s luminously rendered mixed media paintings? 15: Artists of Ulster County looks at just this exploration.
15 will be at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck from February 18 to April 22, 2012. It brings back and expands on the show that exhibited at Brooklyn Artists Gym Gallery last May, 2011. This time around, curators Christie Scheele and Peter Wallace have added artists and pieces. As they selected the paintings, photographs, drawings, prints and sculptures, they discovered something exciting:
“When we first invited artists to participate in our show last year, we were going for eclectic, and did not anticipate the complex connections that emerged between the artists. What we found was that we had uncovered a kind of Ven diagram of artistic endeavor in the Hudson Valley. Each artist was having a hidden conversation with at least three others in the group. It was like a creative game of ‘telephone,’ where the end does resemble the beginning in delightful ways.”
From Polly M. Law’s edgy, doll-like figures to Chris Hawkins iconic children’s worlds, from Kim Alderman’s smoke-fired ceramic totems to Meredith Rosier’s densely atmospheric drawings, there is a journey to this show with a point of entry for any viewer. The fifteen artists in this exhibition represent, with the highest level of achievement and creative edge, the same wide range of artistic expression that is available in the entire region.
“When I commence upon the exploration of marks and their subsequent densities, I am investigating containment and dispersal. Density arrives from the layering of pigments pushed through metal screening, coarse or delicate fabrics and handmade stencils as I employ unexpected hand tools in order to interlock my materials. I utilize sawdust, dirt, rust, smoke, fireplace ash, pastel, gouache, ink, graphite, pencil and conte crayon. I intend to seam tiers of pigment to one another until the density contradicts the notion that paper lies beneath. Deliberately working within a restrained palette, I aim for an intimation of phosphorescence from my pigments and a dialogue between the indeterminate and the exactitude of my forms.”
Polly M. Law
“I make paper dolls with deep personal issues. I use humble materials but elevate them with my attention to color, form, costume, expression and gesture. I sometimes incorporate materials scavenged from the natural world. Sometimes I incorporate my deep love of language in the form of type and visual/verbal puns.”
“I’m always known for psychological high motion figures reacting in an environment such as beach or restaurant, but I have also drawn and painted from life for 4 decades. Continually practicing the formal elements strengthens the artist’s work exponentially.
Paint and its manipulative faculties is as fascinating as studying from life::: here is volume and paint, all smooshed into one!”
“Still Life Pedestal #2″, Oil on canvas, 20″X30”.
“My 40 plus years of forming clay into functional and sculptural objects has given me an experience of relational consciousness: I form clay and clay forms me, I move clay and clay moves me. The skin of the earth and my skin are both breathing organs of perception and as such, we share dna and an emotional body, we share voice and imagination. This relationship is critical to my work as an artist and teacher, and the inspiration for my book MOON TIME: Receiving Images of Feminine Consciousness through Clay, Drawing, and Word.”
“For the past 23 years I’ve been following one particular line of inquiry; the use of natural light, captured and inflected, as my primary material. In that time, these works have gone gradually from being somewhat translucent and heavily constructed, to being nearly completely transparent, and appearing to float upon the wall.
In my pieces that are as much light sculpture as painting, the viewer is presented with the opportunity to directly experience the scientific truism that the only constant is change. Striving to maximize my medium’s literal transparency in order to attain the greatest self- illumination, natural light is as essential to me as any other material I employ; it literally animates my work with its ever-changing nature.”
“A variety of landscape imagery, color, and format expresses a range of my interests, allowing me to combine my contemporary art training with my love of the natural world in differing degrees from piece to piece, emphasizing in one a sense of place, and in another alternative concepts that refer to the process of making art. Common to them all is my use of minimalist compositions, with strong interlocking shapes, and the silky surfaces I achieve by layering delicate coats of paint, relating my work to other contemporary artists who use photographs for inspiration.
“In the winter months, I keep myself engaged with the landscape by making large format monotype collages.
Bouncing off of sweeping passages of etching ink with pastel and recycled prints has become a pretty standard
methodology in my studio, and I appreciate the time and space this work gives me to design a meaningful composition without
the time pressure of the setting sun.”
“Rather than copying subjects literally, I create my images with a more abstract quality and attempt to transform them into a vehicle of emotion and sensuality. In the landscapes and cityscapes, I use light, texture and movement, as a painter would, to achieve a softer impressionistic effect. In the portrait series, the theme I try to convey is not related to the individual person, but rather to something more universal in humanity.”
“I began making my most recent ceramic figures after 2003 when I heard the story of a young college student and peace activist Rachel Corrie who traveled to Gaza . While acting as a human shield to protect a local Palestinian’s home from demolition by the Israeli Defense Forces, she was crushed by a bulldozer, while the house remained intact. This event was seminal for me and from that moment on I vowed to be as candid and thoughtful in my work, as Rachel Corrie was brave and trusting in her actions.”
THE TRAVELER SERIES is about the personal journeys of women;
how we are in different ways, inadvertent, reluctant pilgrims. Chemical
sensitivities have necessitated inventing personal processes that excluded
accepted methods of working. I developed a process of alternating casein
paints, colored pencils and matt medium in successive layers – drawing back
into lino prints, watercolors, and computer fragments with archival pens and pencils.
Heads are sculpted with 20-30 layers of newspaper interspersed with assorted
resins & glues after which facial expressions are delicately built up in several layers
with archival pencils.This gives them a beingness, like silent partners to our growth
who understand our intricacies. In this way they are psychological portraits of who
we are and what we are trying to become.
“THE TRAVELER SERIES is about the personal journeys of women; how we are in different ways, inadvertent, reluctant pilgrims.
“Tamar Lost”, from the Good Girl series, mixed media, 32″X16″.
“My work begins with printing ink or paint applied and manipulated on Plexiglas until a
structure and/or image suggests itself. It is then mono-printed by hand onto paper, canvas
or panel, reversing the image and causing various accidents to occur. The underlying
structure I build in the first phase of each piece opens to new suggestions, which I then
pursue in paint; adding, subtracting and inflecting what survives until a cohesive whole is
“In my new paintings the dialogue is visceral manipulation of personal icons; the composites ape dream in the gardens of law and religion. Although the characters may be uncertain, they are incisive as villains against tampered knowledge. As the soils are tilled, in innocence they look for mercy in values and essentials.”
“These works came about by allowing gestural, calligraphic marks (as ” made up” language), to become integrated with elements of the art processes, and to take on the forms that seem appropriate. The completed images are a result of my attempt to leave a lot of openness to the emerging graphic directions, and the emotional implications of the works, as they were evolving. In this similar vein, the paintings are not to be ‘understood’ by the rational mind, but to be experienced as visual/emotional entities on their own terms. Yet inevitably, the viewer will add to the mix, their own personal reactive processes and perspective.”
“I have been selling unusual antiques since 1973. In the course of hunting for interesting objects to sell, I came across many pieces which were not so salable, but because of their forms, uniqueness, or rarity I was intrigued to the extent that I bought them anyway. I have saved these objects through the years with the intent of eventually finding a way to enable others to see what I saw in them.
In 1991, I began to physically join these forms into conceptual and narrative art objects that I felt utilized them to their best advantages. What you see here in these pieces is the fruit of my passion for these here-to-fore under-appreciated objects.”
“Mindless Vanity”, mixed media assemblage, 22.5″x27.5″x10″.
Rosalind Robertson’s striking work was in our show at BAG, but when it came time to organize the new show, we were not able to contact her. So, we went ahead with the new artists and ended up with the number 15…announcements went out…studio visits arranged…blog assembled.
Happily, she called me several weeks back having returned to her Woodstock home, ready to pick up her career. Since we have come too far with our “15” to insert her retroactively into the PR, we are delighted to include her as a sort of grandfathered addition to the show. We will have work of hers at ASFA, two of which you can view below.
“103”, ink on paper with sea water, 30″X20″.
“Regarding these paintings, it is my policy to add nothing to what comes out of the water, except my signature, as a partner. And then to sit back and contemplate the meaning of the imagery.
1. First find an ocean
2. Research appropriate materials
3. Test materials
- Keep inks warm, avoid coagulation
- 300lb paper to withstand rough handling
- Drive 5 hours to nearest Ocean
- Find safe beach access
- Pour pigments onto paper and quickly
- Put on boots and walk into the water
“104”, ink on paper and sea water, 30″X20″.
Some Studio Shots from our Visits
Peter and Meredith in her studio.
Kate and Peter in her studio.
Leslie and Peter in her studio.
Heather and Christie in Heather’s studio.
Peter in Heather’s studio.
Show of 15 Ulster County artists in Rhinebeck
Posted by Paul Smart on February 17, 2012 in Art, Events
Tom Luciano, who lives outside Phoenicia and runs a top-shelf antiques shop in Hudson, came out of SUNY-Purchase’s Art program like a bolt a while back. I remember when he remade my garage into a studio for his work. Gradually, his paying work, marriage, parenthood and other matters crowded his attention – until he found a means of capturing the world around him digitally, on a daily basis, that combined meditation with creativity. Daily postings on Facebook reestablished a market for his work, which in turn prompted deeper explorations. Now, Luciano will be amongst a group of 15 Ulster County artists being brought together by regional gallery pioneer Albert Shahinian at his new pair of spaces in the middle of Rhinebeck.
Actually, “revived” is more the theme of this expansive exhibition, which first surfaced last May at the Brooklyn Artists’ Gym (BAG), when BAG founder and director Peter Wallace joined forces with Chichester-based painter Christie Scheele to create a New York City showcase for a cross-section of Ulster County’s mid- and late-career artists working in such diverse media as painting, printwork, photography, ceramics, assemblage and mixed media. Now, as Scheele brings her baby to her longstanding gallerist’s new haunts, with Kim Alderman, Leslie Bender, Yale Epstein, Bernard Gerson, Chris Hawkins, Heather Hutchison, Mark Kanter, Lenny Kislin, Polly M. Law, Tom Luciano, Kate McGloughlin, Meredith Rosier, Judy Sigunick and Anique Taylor in tow, along with Scheele’s singular work, it turns out that about half have shown with Shahinian before – either in Rhinebeck or at his earlier galleries in Poughkeepsie and Hudson.
“When we first invited artists to participate in our show last year, we were going for eclectic, and did not anticipate the complex connections that emerged between the artists. We found that we had uncovered a kind of Venn diagram of artistic endeavors in the Hudson Valley,” the curators have remarked on their creation and its new genesis. “15 looks to explore the layered relationships between the exhibit’s selections. How do the light-infused geometric abstractions of Heather Hutchison inhabit the same space with Lenny Kislin’s antique assemblages? How does Bernard Gerson’s mysterious photograph of two faces connect to Yale Epstein’s luminously rendered mixed-media paintings? From Polly M. Law’s edgy, doll-like figures to Chris Hawkins’ iconic children’s worlds, from Kim Alderman’s smoke-fired ceramic totems to Meredith Rosier’s densely atmospheric drawings, there is a journey to this show with a point of entry for any viewer.”
Me, I’m looking forward to seeing Kanter’s epic drawings in such a setting, as well as McGloughlin’s earthy prints and paintings and Sigunick’s witty, warm ceramics – and Luciano’s vividly thoughtful observations (and ruminations). Talk about that adage about getting away to appreciate what one has!
With an opening reception this Saturday evening, February 18 all over the center of Rhinebeck, we’re relishing the chance to catch up with so many favorite Ulster artists at once – and coming back while it all stays up past the Passover and Easter holidays, until April 22. The reception’s set to run from 5 to 7 p.m. at Albert Shahinian Fine Art’s Upstairs Galleries at 22 East Market Street, as well as the ASFA@ Prudential/Serls Prime Properties space at 6384 Mill Street (Route 9). Hours are Thursdays through Sundays. For further information, call (845) 876-7578 or visit http://www.shahinianfineart.com.
February 1, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, Anique Taylor, art collecting, Bernard Gerson, career artist, Chris Hawkins, curating shows, eclectic art, eclectic show, Heather Hitchison, Judy Sigunick, Kate McGloughlin, Kim Alderman, Lenny Kislin, Leslie Bender, Mark Kanter, Meredith Rosier, NY artists, Polly Law, Tom Luciano, ULster County, Yale Epstein | Leave a comment