Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

Posts tagged “Catskills

News, Pictures, and a big Save-the-Date as we Launch into 2018

Hello all, happy oncoming 2018! I have quite a lot to report in this year-end update, both from 2017 and about events on the schedule so far for the coming year.

Atlas Project

Many folks have asked me to send out a save-the-date for my Atlas/Hudson River Valley show opening on Match 31 at the Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham New York. I’ll do a separate email soon so that it’s easy to find in the inbox, but here on my blog I can talk about the exhibition in more detail.

This will be the first full-size installation of one of my Atlas Project-themed exhibitions. Later themes might be Atlas/Cape Cod or Atlas/Forms of Water, but I an delighted to be launching this within my own Hudson River Valley/Catskills, both as the theme and the locale of the show. Included will be monoprints, mixed media/collages, and pastels along with the oils, and the Site Map that explains it all.

 

Downriver, 24″x24″, oil on linen.

The Site Map is an integral part of an Atlas Project installation, a map of the show itself which includes tiny monoprints of all of the oil paintings in the show overlaid on a collaged map of the Hudson River Valley. It includes numbered map tacks that show the locales of the scenes depicted; river towns and bridges and a key to the map and the show.

This map will have to be finished and photographed at the last minute, when I am sure of exactly which oil paintings are going into the show.

A side panel is Mapping Memory/Wildlife of Particular Interest that includes lino-monoprints and some text of my associated personal memories. Three panel extensions coming asymmetrically off the right side and top and bottom of the main map include a collage/lino/mono of the upper Hudson, the source of the river in the Adirondaks; another of Hudson Canyon, which continues out to sea from New York Harbor for 400 miles; and a third comprised of short discussion and collage/prints of three local trees endangered by climate change.

 

Hudson Canyon collage in progress, mixed papers (including hand-dyed rice papers) on map on board.

 

New Blog Post

In current news, I have recently published a blog post on the intersecting themes of teaching, independent studio practice, and group dynamic for the artist:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/teaching-creating-community-and-fostering-independence/

I welcome any comments on the post!

Many Things Nantucket

In January I will again be part of an exchange between artists of Woodstock and Nantucket, this time to take place at the Woodstock School of Art. We will be working together for three days in the graphics studio; doing a few studio visits and looking at the historical connection between the two arts colonies;  eating and schmoozing. (What could be better?)

Part I of this exchange took place in September at the Artists Association of Nantucket with a show of the four Woodstock-area artists seen below, who had all taught and/or done a residency there:

 

 

The plan was for the four of us to show up for a closing reception and artist’s talk on September 23rd, and my plan was to to do a tour of the Cape and Islands with my husband, starting in Provincetown, checking in with and delivering to or picking up from my three galleries in the area.

Just as we were coming onto the Cape Tropical Storm Jose was approaching the area, causing concern over the Cape bridges closing as well as cancelled ferries. From Provincetown we saw some amazing sights during the storm, particularly the surf from the high dunes on Longnook Beach.

We had a ferry reservation to continue on to Martha’s Vineyard, and from there I had another res for the fast ferry to Nantucket a day later.

Three of the four artists did manage to get on Cape, or in my case, to Martha’s Vineyard, and then reschedule ferries to arrive for our reception at the AAN. We suffered a rocky crossing and then enjoyed a lovely evening of spirited discussion and camaraderie.

I also arrived in time to pay a visit to my new gallery on Nantucket, Thomas Henry Gallery. I am looking forward to painting some large, open seascape and marsh imagery for the 2018 season there:

http://thomashenrygallery.com/Christie_Scheele.html

 

My residency at the Artists Association of Nantucket in February was one of the highlights of 2017 for me, beautifully intensive and key in advancing the rubric for my Atlas Project:

 

Summer Dune, 9″x24″, oil on linen.

The below was my second prototype for a site map for a grouping of Atlas Project work. From here I was able to take what works best (the monotype thumbnails of paintings that I had done) and change things that I didn’t (particularly the text) for the next map, for Atlas/Hudson River Valley. I would also love to return to Nantucket for a more fleshed-out exploration of of the theme.

 

Site Map with lino map of Nantucket; monotype thumbnails; tracings; writing and letterpress.

 

Fall Studio Demonstrations

 

This fall I did three second-Saturday demo/open studios, starting in October. During the first I worked on  small oil-on-paper pieces, like this:

Study/Headlights, oil on primed paper, 5″x12″.

The below I developed during the November demo, which had the theme of working large in oil. I had a nice group who I can only describe as riveted, watching for about two and a half hours while I painted and explained. Then the mood shifted to jolly when I called for a break and lively conversation ensued over a glass of wine.

The slightly textured surface of this piece is something I love to do every so often, allowing a little more of the underpainting to show through, creating a subtle vibration.

 

Reflected Suns, 32″x48″, to be included in my spring Atlas/Hudson River Valley show.

Here is a link to the video created by the Woodstock School of Art from a painting demonstration that I did there a few summers back:

https://woodstockschoolofart.org/author/christie-scheele/

For the last demo, in December, I worked in pastel, completing both of these during the two afternoons:

 

Oak Bluffs/Lights/Fog, 10″x10″, pastel on paper.

 

Trailing Fields, 6″x22″, pastel on paper.

 

Other Highlights from 2017

I had a successful show last winter/spring with my gallery of 20 years, Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck. It is such a pleasure to work with Albert and Joanna, who are also friends and neighbors in our Hudson Valley arts community.

Hill Beyond Hill, 3 panels of 24″x20″/ea., sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art

Here is a link to my post on the show, updated to label pieces that sold later in the year, as well as those that went during the show (the others are, of course, still available):

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/gallerystudio-a-symbiosis-solo-show-with-albert-shahinian-fine-art/

___  _______________________  ___

In April I went to Florida to do a large painting for my friends Karen and Len:

 

Working in the pool enclosure, enjoying the April warmth and humidity. Last touches.

___  _______________________  ___

During my third year with Louisa Gould Gallery and my 18th or so showing on the Vineyard, we had the kind of year that the artist really looks for. I had some relaxing off-season visits that gave us more time to connect. The crazy Cape and Islands tour in September with Hurricane Jose was followed by several days of sun/fog/sun/fog, rolling in and out, that had even islanders exclaiming. This started as I was leaving Nantucket on the ferry, included a wild rainbow at sea, and continued into the next day while I photographed favorite and new locales on MV and Chappy with my husband. There will be paintings to follow!

This piece, which I delivered to LGG the next month, was of a moment just after the fog cleared.

Big Sky over Sengekontacket, 44″x68″.

In 2017 Louisa and I sold work big, medium, and small and in a range of palettes and formats. When this happens, I feel truly appreciated and at home in the gallery. The below are a few that found new homes since my last post.

Gleaming Sunset, 24″x24″.

 

Whispering Marsh, 12″x36″. sold by Louisa Gould Gallery.

 

Older Favorites Find New Homes

In the past several months I have been delighted to see a number of pieces that, despite generating admiration, have lingered too long in gallery or studio leave my walls for others:

 

Winter Light, 24″x30″, from my December demo/open studio; a view of the Jersey Turnpike with the gorgeous, polluted light of a winter afternoon.

 

Height of Summer, 36″x48″, from my September demo/open studio; a romantic piece with unusual color that has received much attention.

 

Mountain Fields, 20″x24″pastel on paper, a subtle-bright interpretation, sold by Albert Shahinan Fine Art.

___  ______________________  ___

The Luminous Landscape at Albert Shahinian Fine Art continues through the month of January, closing with a last reception on January 27th. I have several pieces in the show and many more in inventory, accessible for viewing. I look forward to the reception, which is also a 20th-year anniversary party, an opportunity to enjoy the warmth of our arts community during the winter months.

http://www.shahinianfineart.com/ChristieScheele.html

En Masse, the dynamic small works show at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY,  continues to January 7th. They have been generating anticipation for my spring show with the many small works they have of mine seeded throughout the gallery, as well as larger pieces in inventory. One of my last sales of 2017 was Blue Tidal Pool, one of my favorite paintings from the past decade:

BlueTidal Pool, 20″X24″, sold by Thompson Giroux Gallery.

___  ____________________________  ___

I have a new workshop at the Woodstock School of Art, rescheduled for March 3rd-4th. The theme, somewhat more descriptive than my workshops that emphasize formal elements, is for students to create a suite of paintings of the four seasons.

Many representational painters explore a zone on the spectrum of realism, on one end, and very abstracted imagery, on the other. I have often emphasized the abstract in my teaching, feeling that the go-to for landscape painters early on is to try to copy everything they see within a scene. So my approach is to encourage students to think instead about the needs of the painting, inventing an image that is not a copy but a new reality.

In the past year I have been closely examining my connection to place through my Atlas Project. The theme of this new workshop, more descriptive than abstract, may have emerged from these musings. That said, students will be focusing their attention, with my help, on all of those formal elements in order to create compelling, personal paintings.

https://woodstockschoolofart.org/course/form-color-narrative-landscape-painting-seasons/

___  ____________________________  ___

 

I look forward to a focused, productive year ahead. We have much work to do on the national level, and also need our creative retreats more than ever. I hope you enjoy yours, and am filled with gratitude that you have supported mine. ♥

 

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Available Work/Studio/Works on Paper

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, most notably Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY; JSO ART Associates in Westport CT, and Megan Peter Fine Art in Redbank, NJ.

Pastels:

 

Harbor with Soft Light, 13″x20″, (framed with mat and glass).

 

SeptDawn

September Dawn, 10″x28″, framed.

 

Turquoise Sky/White Cloud, 20"x20".

Turquoise Sky/White Cloud, 20″x20″.

 

Gleam on Turquoise Sky,

Gleam on Turquoise Sky, 6.5″x30″ overall.

 

Saltmarsh in Greens, 10"X20"

Saltmarsh in Greens, 10″X16″.

 

reachingcloud

Reaching Cloud, 5″x18″.

 

Summer Farm Fields,

Summer Farm Fields, 6″x12″.

 

 

Hillside in Oranges,

Hillside in Oranges, 6.5″x16″.

 

Magic Hour in the Mountains, 8″x10″, framed.

 

gleamongreysea

Gleam over Grey Sea, 14″x14″.

 

Long Storm Cloud, 8″x28″, framed.

 

Shore with Greens,

Shore with Greens, 11″x18″, framed.

 

Soft Greens,

Soft Greens, 5″x14″.

 

Triptych in Red/Black, 3 panels of

Triptych in Red/Black, 3 panels of 7″x13″.

 

redsandbar

Red Sandbar, 19″x26″.

 

 

Rusty Crane,

Rusty Crane, 15″x21″.

 

River Lighthouse,

River Lighthouse, 15″x21″.

 

 

Red Sun, 12"X18", $1,400 (uf).

Red Sun, 11″X18″.

 

“Gleam over Tuckernuck”,  7″x11″.

 

 

MOuntain Fall

M0untain Fall, 6″x16″.

 

Mountain Trio, 6.5x13.5.

Mountain Trio, 6.5×13.5.

 

 

Bright Fields, 22"x30".

Bright Fields, 22″x30″.

 

 

Moody Mountain Sky, 12"X13", $1,200 (uf).

Moody Mountain Sky, 12″X13″.

 

 

Warm Light, 9"X20", $1,200 (uf).

Warm Light, 9″X20″.

 

Mists over Fields, 5"x8.5".

Mists over Fields, 5″x8.5″.

 

 

Green Hills, 15"X18".

Green Hills, 15″X18″.

 

Oil on paper:

Green Waves, 5"x28.5".

Green Waves, 5″x28.5″, framed.  (See the post below for a description of the genesis of this piece and the larger version in oil.)

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/the-evolution-of-a-new-concept/

 

 

Lavender Mists, oil on paper on board.

Lavender Mists, oil on paper on board, 8.5’x40″.

 

To see the blog post on my smallest oil-on-paper pieces showing currently available works along with a discussion of their genesis, click on the link below:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/small-studies-in-oil-on-primed-paper/

 

Mixed Media/Collage (Of paper and other things, on board):

 

Atlas/HV Collage, 2 panels of 16″x8″/ea.

 

AtlasHVCollage

Atlas/Hudson River Collage, 18″x14″.

 

Cloud, 6"x6".

Cloud, 6″x6″.

 

Wetlands, 6"x6".

Wetlands, 6″x6″.

 

mmcity

City, 6″x6″.

 

 

mmtree

Trees, 6″x6″.

 

Mixed Media/Collage/Toolbox, 4 panels of 5"x5"/ea.

Mixed Media/Collage/Toolbox, 4 panels of 5″x5″/ea.

 

Waterways, 6"x4".

Waterways, 6″x4″.

 

Waterways/Arial, 5"x5".

Waterways/Arial, 5″x5″.

 

Mixed Media/Vintage Box, 4 panels of 3.5"x2.5".

Mixed Media/Vintage Box, 4 panels of 3.5″x2.5″.

 

Monotypes (these are all 8″x10″ or 10″x8″):

Five prints

 

 

MCreeks#2

 

MCreeks#3

 

M/Dark Road, monotype and pastel.

M/Dark Road, monotype and pastel.

 

Monotype Sunset over Tidal Flats, 8″x10″.

 

M/Mountain Travel.

M/Mountain Travel.

 

M/Dawn Road.                                                       M/Dawn Road, monotype with touch of pastel.

 

 

 

 

M/Waterspouts with Walking Rain.

M/Waterspouts with Walking Rain.

 

M/Mountain Stream.

M/Mountain Stream.

 

 

MGreen Marsh

 

Inlet

M/Inlet

 

M/Wave1

M/Wave1

 

 

mwave3

MWave 3

 

 

MWhite Field #2, monotype and pastel.

 

mfallmarsh1

MFallMarsh1

 

 

mfallmarsh3

MFallMarsh3

 

 

MFallField#1

MFallHillside#1

 

MFallHillside#2

MFallHillside#2

 

 

 


Multiple Panel Paintings

The Grid.

Those caps are not an accident.

If you were in a BFA program in the late 70’s, as I was, conversation turned frequently to the various methods of exploring the ubiquitous grid by our hero-artists, from Sol LeWitt to Chuck Close. Two great loves of mine in this pantheon were, and still are, Agnes Martin and Louise Nevelson, both of whom used grid imagery in the most moving way possible.

What are the associations with the grid that hold our attention? Order, containment, rhythm, vibration, line and edge, surface and depth…and then all of the artistic possibilities of using it as a framework to break out of.

Agnes Martin, for example, applied the lines on her paintings by hand. It is the subtle variation in those lines that betray the meditative moments of their creation. In the  lithograph below the lines were clearly ruled, but there is all kinds of lovely variation in the surface. (Basic tenant of minimalism—reduce the amount of information in the piece and what is left becomes supremely, gorgeously important.)

Agnes Martin, Trumpet, 1967.

Agnes Martin, Trumpet, 1967.

Agnes

Agnes Martin, Untitled, litho, 1998.

 

Louise Nevelson, often worked with  constructions of irregular boxes painted black or white, asymmetrical sculptures creating an off-hand sort of grid; and other times adhered to a more organized grid, as in “Ancient Secrets”, both below.

Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1968.

Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1968.

Louise Nevelson, Ancient Secrets, 1964.

Louise Nevelson, Ancient Secrets, 1964.

 

Mark Rothko, my biggest influence ever, worked with a very reduced grid, just a few rectangles—the epitome of less-is-more. There is a remarkable amount of emotion in these canvases, and they allow the viewer to bring personal experience to the moment of contemplation. This is another aspect of minimalism— open, non-specific imagery invites the viewer to interact rather than being told exactly what to think or feel.

Mark Rothko, 1960

Mark Rothko, No. 7, 1960.

 

  Like all of my classmates, I ate it all up, exploring the grid myself in my earnest art-student manner. After I got over the most derivative phase, I used architectural plans as a basis for a series and a few years later did several abstract triptychs while attending the Royal Academy in Madrid.

When I was looking to bring my exploration of the landscape into new terrain back in the late 1990’s, I circled back to my longstanding affection for the grid and pondered multiple panel imagery. Thinking, at that point, from the outside, I could only see two possibilities, and they seemed a little bit obvious—either dividing one image into multiple panels (an illusion of window panes) or joining several related images into one piece.

This was, kind of blissfully, pre-internet, so I had no idea if/what other landscape painters were doing in this arena. I decided just to jump in and see what evolved. (I still tend to leap before I look at what others have done when exploring a concept that is new to me. It keeps it fresher.)

Below is a recent example of one of these options, and, as so often happens, once immersed in the process I found it anything but ho-hum.

Triptych in Reds

“Triptych in Reds”, 3 panels of 24″x24″/ea., 2013, an example of one image spread over 3 panels with each framed individually.

I have explored the divided field imagery repeatedly over the years, and just now understand that it, too, is loosely grid-based. We’ re seeing it in perspective, which creates the slanting diagonal lines that I love so much.

Returning to my comment about minimalism, I am including the triptych below because I feel that it illustrates well my version of of less-is-more.

One of my handful of favorite paintings ever. The divided frame serves to remind that  this is a painting, so that you can be both in the moment of the wave and enjoying the abstraction of the piece..

“Exuberant Wave”, panels are 30″x30″/ea., 2010, framed in one frame with dividers. (Private Collection.)

 

“River in 5” is an example of one image in five parts, exploring the more extreme horizontal. In single image multiple-panel pieces the subject wants to be quite simple, so often I begin with the size and format and then look for imagery to suit. The landscape that I choose generally has a strong horizon and often other elements that visually link the panels.

I am frequently asked if each panel should be able to stand alone as an individual piece. My answer is that this is not something I look for—often one panel might need to be quieter to serve the composition as a whole. In the piece below, the far left would not work on its own; in the wave piece above the right hand panel would be too static as a single. “Triptych in Reds”, in contrast, is comprised of panels that would each stand alone quite nicely…but it just so-happened that way.

River in 5, 5 panels of 10"x10"/ea.

River in 5, 5 panels of 10″x10″/ea. (Private Collection.)

 

The piece below explores the other option, three separate images. In this case they are of the same stretch of road minutes or seconds apart and so are tightly linked. This also creates a film strip feel, though without a progression that moves the action from point A to point B. Each of these panels would most definitely function well as a single piece, something that I do look for in multi-image pieces.

"Rainy Road/Fireflies", 3 panels of 12"x12"/ea. (sold)

“Rainy Road/Fireflies”, 3 panels of 12″x12″/ea.,2008. (Private Collection.)

 

Starting around 2000 I did a series of four “Samplers”, named after the quilt style, 16 square 5″x5″‘s in pastel. I debated doing them individually and then moving them around until I liked the order, but decided that I liked the integrity and challenge of figuring out the order as I went along and then committing to it. Thus, these  were each done on a single sheet of paper.

Sampler #4, 16 5" panels on black pastel paper,

Sampler #4, 16 5″ panels on black pastel paper, the last Sampler completed. (Privaye Collection.)

There were questions of composition (both within each small piece and for the piece as a whole), color (which in landscape painting is related to season, locale, and time of day), directionality, and type of imagery (manmade objects? more detail or more open?). Simple things like placement of a horizon line had to be carefully considered to create variety and enhance the whole.

From 2009 to 2011 I did a series of  five vertical triptychs in a wide black frame that I titled “Colorcode”, related color being the unifying factor. I have a few more of these frames, so I may pick this format back up again.

Colorcode, 3 panels of 3"x5", vertical arrangement of 3 images united by color.

Colorcode #2,  3 panels of 3″x5″, vertical arrangement of 3 images united by color and composition. (Private collection.)

 

In 2002 I created the Cyclone Sampler, 37 tiny pieces in a vintage tintype box. Below the image is an excerpt from notes that I made about the piece when it was acquired by the Tyler Museum of Art in east Texas in 2009.

Cyclone Sampler

Cyclone Sampler, 21.5″x10.5″. (Museum Collection.)

“The Cyclone Sampler reflects a synthesis of my interests in the landscape as narrative, the listening aspect of working with vintage, distressed objects/frames, and the postmodern use of the grid and serial imagery.

The result of my investigations, these multiple-image pieces are about a sense of contained energy (unlike my single-image landscapes, which most often have a feel of expansive energy), the telling of multiple stories, and the rhythm of the grid.

The narrative in my landscapes is ever-present, though often second to abstract concerns. The image of the cyclone fascinates me on a very formal level—the shapes are varied and gorgeous, with the complex, soft, scumbled edges that I love, and often have unusually juxtaposed colors. The story that they tell is equally riveting — nature at its most intense, both deadly and awe-inspiring. The Cyclone Sampler projects the feeling of energy tightly controlled within the grid, since the images are tiny, but the energy of the twister that they depict is vast. The final decision I needed to make while assembling the piece was to leave some sections empty; after trying it out with all of the spots filled, it became clear that to avoid seeming like a dry and busy cataloguing of twisters, the empty sections were essential to give space and emphasis to the 41 that I chose to include.” 

In 2007 I did a larger piece in oil that is similar to my Sampler series, made possible by a lucky find with a frame that came with dividers for 35 images. The finish on the frame has tones of red, so each piece in it has at least some red, and a number of them quite a lot of it.

Like the Cyclone Sampler, I found that it was becoming too busy, but I knew that with this presentation I couldn’t leave compartments open. I opted to include six very minimalist images using only black and red, inviting the viewer in by creating depth and encouraging the eye to travel around the piece.

"Trove", 30"X48" overall.

“Trove”, 35 3″x5″ paintings, 30″X48″ overall. (Private Collection.)

I found a smaller version of the same frame, and did 16 images with a road theme. Using fewer panels allowed the detail in the many manmade objects to create a rhythm of alternating focal points that doesn’t feel overly busy.

Trove #2: From the Road, 16 panels of 3"x5"/ea.

Trove #2: From the Road, 16 panels of 3″x5″/ea, 2010.. (Private Collection.)

I am currently working on one last version of Trove, this with a weather theme, which I will exhibit in my solo show at Gold Gallery, February 18-March 21, 2015.

Final Trove in progress.

Final Trove in progress a few weeks ago in my studio.

 

A vintage box or tray that has several compartments always provides an enticing challenge for a multi-panel piece, even more so because no two are alike.  My choice of imagery follows the same idea of strong horizontal or vertical elements to link that panels, and also needs to visually mesh perfectly with that vehicle (for more on this, see my earlier post: https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/vintage-boxes-slates-and-siftersthe-occasional-found-object/).

Winter in 6,

Winter in 6, 2013. (Private Collection.)

 

"Smoke in Four",  a distressed, compartmentalized box that was a lucky find. (Sold by ANG)

“Smoke in Four”, 2007. (Private Collection.)

 

Recently I did a commissioned piece in two trays from a vintage  fishing tackle box. Many of the  images are from places of significance for the couple, and I worked with a combination of diptychs and single panel pieces, which created an interesting challenge while finalizing placement. The view of Opus 40 on the upper right was the only panel that didn’t get moved around repeatedly in the process.

Commissioned piece in two trays, 2014.

Commissioned piece in two trays, 2014.

 

 With multi-image paintings, concept and execution are both complex. They generally are thematic, and I always find that these pieces are a wonderful balance to the more open minimalism that I normally work with.

 Finally, my Affinity Series, oil on linen with frayed/distressed edges on board overlaid with graphite gridding—about which I will write a separate post another day—can be expressed in the diptych and triptych format as well. In this series I have incorporated gridding into the image itself.

Affinity/Duo/Palms, 2 paintings of 16"x8"/ea.

Affinity/Duo/Palms, 2 paintings of 16″x8″/ea.

 

Recently, I had a vision for a different type of multiple image piece, now almost finished (and also headed for my Boston show). But that, too, I’ll describe in another blog post—exploring how a new idea is conceived and executed.

 I choose to do a multiple panel painting for several reasons. Most importantly, I like variety in the studio, so today’s choice of format, color, and type of imagery is likely to be different from the piece I just finished. That is also why I feel the need to come up with new series from time to time (see my post on this subject:  https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/staying-fresh/).

And then there is the reference to the grid, an association that is interwoven through my own history as an artist and is, much like with food, my
“comfort art”.


So much happening! Summer Season 2014.

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.

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2657&action=edit

With the largest painting in this show,

With the largest painting in this show, “Interwoven Stories”.

10411313_10154195613425249_5583564957244891807_n

Host Tom Lavazzi pouring wine…and tons of nice conversation passing around.

Owner/driector Zoe Randall and I in front of the [postcard piece, "Turquoise Light".

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:

http://www.buttersgallery.com/Artist-Detail.cfm?ArtistsID=486&sr=1&ppage=6

eastwest143

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:

http://www.edgewatergallery-vt.com/scheele-christie.html

"Hill beyond Hill, 3 panels of 24"x20"/ea.

“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".

“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".

“Lifting Rain, 20″x60”.

"Summer Sunset/Tidal Creek", 36"x12".

“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".

“Endless Sky”, 36″x72″.

Some spring sales:

"Bridge Crossing in Violets", 12"X12". (Sold by Butters Gallery.)

“Bridge Crossing in Violets”, 12″X12″. (Sold by Butters Gallery.)

 

Sunset River Expanse", 20"x62". (Sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art.)

Sunset River Expanse”, 20″x62″. (Sold by Albert Shahinian Fine Art.)

 

"Approach," oil on vintage blackboard, 11"x13.5". (Sold by Chace-Randall Gallery.)

“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.


“Mutable/Immutable”: Solo Show at Chace-Randall Gallery

mu·ta·ble
ˈmyo͞otəbəl/
adjective

1.
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.

im·mu·ta·ble
iˈmyo͞otəbəl/
adjective

1.
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", $6,500.

“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.

“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.

MountainRoad:Fireflies

“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".

“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".

“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.

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.

“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", Cooper Lake in summer blue/greens.

“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".

“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.

“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".

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".

“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:FlatlandsDrive, 18"x18".

“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/Stepping Out”, 8″X8″. (Sold)

"Affinity?Storm at Sea", 8"x8".

“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". A perfect example of the right angles and straight lines of the NYC foreground meshing with the soft diagonals of the sky.

“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", (Courtesy Chace-Randall Gallery).

“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”, 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.

August Newsletter

At the height of this most lovely summer, things are going beautifully both inside and outside of the studio. I am currently busy replenishing my galleries, with recent deliveries to Chace-Randall in Andes and Albert Shahinian in Rhinebeck, and plans for another one to Gold Gallery in Boston.

During summer, I leave my studio door open and listen to the sound of the creek behind it, using my yard as an extended studio. I wish we could start all over again at the beginning of June…but plan on fully savoring what remains.

"Rare Summer Silence", 20"x30".

“Rare Summer Silence”, 20″x30″.

I recently published a blog post on creating an abstract painting, using three exhibitions that I attended in May-June as the basis for my discussion. I sent this out to my list of artists, but not to my whole list, so be sure and take a look if you think you would be interested. Collectors and friends have sometimes commented on how much they would like some sort of  art historical/art appreciation primer. This discussion would serve that purpose in regard to the formal elements of constructing a painting (any painting, not just an abstract one).

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/three-abstract-artists-ellsworth-kelly-jenny-nelson-and-melinda-stickney-gibson/

The Shandaken Art Studio Tour was busy again this year, with the added bonus for me of my two 21-year-olds participating. We had nearly 100 people coming through, with good conversation, sales, and follow-up, as well. Below, “Rainy Road/Metal Box”, one of the last pieces that I finished before the Tour, was acquired by a friend.

Rainy Road/Metal Box, 4.5"x9".

Rainy Road/Metal Box,4.5″x9″, sold at the Shandaken Art Studio Tour.

Checking out my "Affinity/Waterspout" with a visitor.

Checking out my “Affinity/Waterspout” with a visitor.

These two pastels sold at the Tour to the same couple. Buying pastels unframed is a really nice way to go, since then the collectors can pick frame and mat that look good both on the piece and in their chosen spot. I accompanied them the weekend after the Tour to my fabulous framer, Geoffrey Rogers (since 1990!) to assist in picking out just the right presentation.

"Downriver", 15"x28".

“Downriver”, 15″x28″.

Skyline with Sunset,

Skyline with Sunset, 21″x8″.

Since this is the season when many of my galleries are in full swing, there have been a nice number of sales, each with their own story. As I started putting this post together, there emerged a series of short vignettes about these  acquisitions, so I am running with that. Below, a handful of pieces sold recently and some accompanying stories. (This is one of the reasons that I like to stay in close touch with my galleries—to collect all of this information on what goes on and to impart to them observations of my own. It can also be helpful to share current news from one venue to the next, since they are too busy in their galleries to get much chance to exchange notes.)

Seaview Morning Mists, 12"X12", $1,400, 2013. (DFG)

“Seaview Morning Mists”, 12″X12″, 2013, sold through Dragonfly Gallery.

A fellow fell in love with the below piece in Andes, promising to bring his wife the next weekend.

Mists off the River, 12"X36", $2,600. (CRG)

“Mists off the River”, 12″X36″.

Fortunately, he also liked other work of mine in the gallery, including “Evening Headlights”, since his wife was smitten with it, and they decided that this piece was the one.

Couples work this out in differing ways. Sometimes they feel they need to agree 100% on each acquisition. Other times they take turns selecting the particular piece, but do need to agree on the artist.

Evening Headlights, 10"X30".

“Evening Headlights”, 10″X30″, sold through Chace-Randall Gallery.

I finally managed to get one of my larger Affinities to my Boston gallery and it was the very next thing that they sold. This piece was admired last summer in my studio by another artist as “the darkest landscape I have ever laid eyes on”. (And it WAS meant as a complement!)

Affinity/Seagleams, 12"X48", $3,800.

“Affinity/Seagleams”, 12″X48″, sold through Gold Gallery.

“Still Waters”, below, was finished last week and sold within a few days. I had a lovely time painting it, feeling mesmerized by the fog. It is going to a collector who has long wanted a large piece of mine.

"Still Waters", 20"x60", studio sale/Albert Shahinian Fine Art.

“Still Waters”, 20″x60″, studio sale/Albert Shahinian Fine Art.

Both this triptych and the even larger one sold by Gold Gallery last fall from my solo show there went to first-time buyers. That is quite a leap!

Ongoingness of Summer, 3 panels of 24"X30"/ea., $9,000. (GG)

Ongoingness of Summer, 3 panels of 24″X30″/ea., sold by Gold Gallery.

“Crossing at Dusk” was recently purchased by clients of my Andes, NY gallery. Interested at first in the above “Mists off the River”,  as they weighed their options they discovered a piece on my Boston gallery’s website, and this ended up being their final choice. They knew to work through the original gallery, though, and the sale was a co-broke between the two venues.

Crossing at Dusk, 24"X48", (TGG).

Crossing at Dusk, 24″X48″, sold by Chace-Randall Gallery/Gold Gallery.

A couple visited my studio looking for an over-the-couch sized piece with subtle color. After checking out some possibilities here, they headed over to Albert Shahinan Fine Art to look at a particular piece there. While perusing their ample holdings of my work, they fell in love with this smaller piece, below. So, following their heart (instead of sticking to a strict purpose) they left with “When Autumn Glows Softly”, leaving the larger spot to be worked out in the near future, most likely with a commissioned piece.

When Autumn Glowed Softly, 24"x30", sold through Albert Shahinian Fine Art.

“When Autumn Glowed Softly”, 18″x24″, sold through Albert Shahinian Fine Art.

They were no sooner home than they had it up and sent me a jpeg of the piece installed. So nice!

When Autumn Glowed hanging.

“When Autumn Glowed” hanging.

Two workshops are coming up, at the Provincetown Artists Association and Museum September 16-19, and the Woodstock School of Art October 18-20th  I am planning a different sort of workshop for next year that dials in on issues of composition and color with a series of exercises on primed paper. This should be great with beginners, and also a big help for experienced painters in better understanding decision-making about the formal elements of painting.

I will be scheduling a 1-day intake seminar for mentoring for career support in September or October—see link below for more info. Let me know if you are interested!

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/mentoring-for-artists-for-career-and-work-support/

Happy August!

"Memory's Waters", 16"x20", Cooper Lake in summer blue/greens.

“Memory’s Waters”, 16″x20″, Cooper Lake in summer blue/greens.


The Marker Piece

I have been puzzling over what makes a piece a standout within my body of work. It is not a question of “better”, nor of “favorite”. There is consensus around these pieces, and the five I have selected (more in future posts!) have also withstood the test of time—they date from 1993 to 2008.

A major attribute that makes these paintings stand out is that they all push a particular direction to the furthest point along my spectrum. There are a number of avenues of exploration that have held my interest over the course of years, allowing for many subtle permutations along the way. These five paintings epitomize the categories that they represent—signposts, in their way, whether they came early or later .

Dark Castille, 42″x60″, 1992. (Private collection.)

My plan for this piece was to do a scene of Castille, complete with red soil and olive trees. (I much later did the image with additional detail as a pastel, which I also consider a marker piece, as discussed below.) This was all before I started working on the dark ground  that has long been part of my technique, so I created an underpainting with black oil to create the mass of the the large landform and used a light grey in the sky. I carefully scumbled the top line  to embed the tree shapes and hill into the sky.

When I returned to my studio ready to work back into the now dry first layer, I was struck by how powerful the piece was in just black and white, and so decided to find a way to honor that simplicity. Brushing a little thin almost white into the sky created a soft vibration there, and setting the piece on the floor, I added a wash of deep green, leaving the edges of the piece black.

This piece went so far in the direction of a totally abstract, minimalist color field painting that once it was finished, I felt thoroughly satisfied and never again felt the need to take another piece quite so far in that direction. With “Dark Castille”, I managed to wed landscape imagery with the open feel of  a Rothko.

Red Fields, 20″X24″, pastel on paper, 2005. (Private collection.)

“Red Fields”, hewing more closely to the original reference, pushes my palette in exactly the opposite direction as “Dark Castille”. It is not only one of my brightest pieces ever, but also has a larger range than most—quite bright blue in the sky. resounding reds, then into rusts and greens, both olive and sage. The matte surface of pastel on paper is ideal for creating a brighter and more inclusive palette that feels rich rather than jarring. Like the first version above, the treeline at the top of the hillside is the kind of focal point that I find absolutely delicious to paint. The detail and rich color in “Red Fields” makes me profoundly happy.

Rainy Road/Fireflies, 3 panels of 12″X12″/ea., 2008. (Private collection.)

“Fireflies” is simply the blurriest painting I have done to date. The softness captures the resonant beauty of a rainy summer day in the Catskills, tonalist greens and blues deepened by the low light. Since I have been doing paintings incorporating approaching headlights, I have been astounded at how different the points of light can be, depending on atmospherics. Here, they are oh-so-soft, and yet they buzz around the picture plane with a great deal of energy.

This effect is achieved because this triptych is, rather than one image divided into three panels, actually three different paintings. As I was working on them separately, I repeatedly brought them together to check on how they were interacting, establishing variation in placement of headlights, horizon, roadway, and other elements. The eye is thus invited to travel around laterally  between the panels, complimenting the implied movement of the headlights moving toward the viewer..

Divided Fields, 24″X72″, 2008. (Private collection.)

“Divided Fields” sparks two of my favorite discussions. One is about the summer palette of blue sky and green field or grass, and the other is about minimalism and color field painting.

This piece explores flatness and abstraction in a manner different from “Dark Castille” . The picture plane is divided up into long, horizontal wedges within the hillside, and the sky functions partly as one horizontal shape, and partly as clouds/blue sky. The upward direction of the clouds brings the eye back down to the horizon, while their diagonal directionality creates a rhythm  that helps the eye sweep along the expanse of the entire piece, almost like reading—left to right. The flatness is far from absolute, with lots of soft scumbling and hue variation to create vibration within the planes of color.

All of my pieces create mood, though I do not aim to create narrow, specific emotions so much as broad, subtle and complex resonance. Moody, tonalistic paintings are second nature to me, loving as I do weather and dense atmospherics.After some years of that exploration, however, I wanted to be able to also capture the sheer joy of a sunny summer day. The open, abstract nature of “Divided Fields” pairs strong blues and greens with the assertive lines of the field divisions to walk exactly the line that I am after—a duality of  delight in time/place/season along with the pure pleasure that planes of composed color can provide.

Dark Cloud, 40″x50″, 2006. (Private Collection.)

“Dark Cloud” also  has a reductive, color field affect, but departs from the pieces discussed so far in the dynamic of the cloud. There are only three shapes in the whole piece, including the negative space of the sky, and the cloud is the most assertive of them.

Clouds can be, and be painted, in countless ways. In this painting I pushed the cloud into the most dominant position of any piece that I have done, partly by creating just a single cloud, and partly by its size and color. I worked the subtle variations within and at the edges the way I do with any cloud, so that they are embedded in the sky rather than seeming to float on top of it. Yet, this cloud is clearly read as a shape that dialogues aggressively with the wedge of hillside below. The landform holds its own, in turn, by being totally black and having a tree lifting into the sky in such a way that the cloud seems halted by it. With this strong play of elements, “Dark Cloud” contains an edge of tension resulting from both narrative and formal elements.