Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

Posts tagged “painting demonstration

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/

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

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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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As 2016 Rolls into 2017…

 This is a time when we celebrate the start of a fresh new year, looking outward at loved ones and community for warmth, stimulation, and support. It is likewise a time of introspection, as we examine the  creative and life-of-the-mind pursuits, often solitary, that give the deepest meaning to our lives. 
 
Looking back at my art-related projects of 2016, a recent one was my blog post “Paintings of Infinite Worth”, in which I discuss four beloved paintings from last century.  Analyzing artwork is always stimulating and fun for me, and if I love the work, deeply felt. I feel lucky that I get to practice this skill while teaching; looking at artists’ work in mentoring meetings; in public talks —such as I did at the Provincetown Artists Association and Museum in September—and here on my blog.
It has been quite some time since I have done this with one of my own pieces, so I have selected “Calm Crossing”, painted last spring for my Martha’s Vineyard gallery, to deconstruct.
calmcrossing

Calm Crossing, 32″x68″, oil on linen (at Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven, MA).

 I wanted this piece to convey the feeling of openness and welcome that the view of Martha’s Vineyard and the Sound have from the deck of the ferry, making it a more specific narrative than many of my paintings. I actually started with the cloud and color, testing as I went along—how turquoise and bright can I make this while still retaining the feel of the north Atlantic? Going quite literal and descriptive for a moment, the flatter the water the more it reflects the sky. So, how flat can the Sound between Cape Cod and MV actually be?
I have seen it pretty calm (the occasions when Jack always says, “See, our little boat would be fine to do this crossing on a day like today!”), so ultimately I felt free to just follow my own nose in regard to color and reflection.
Considering the relationship of the shapes, bits of the cloud come off the bottom center, angling towards the island, itself a low wedge shape. To the right, another wisp sits over the break in the land shape, but not so low as to feel that it is pressing down. As that cloud moves off to the right, below it a reflection of almost the same color moves diagonally left and down, so that the two shapes create a sideways V of surface tension that opens toward the center of the painting.
This kind of play in a scene that is otherwise a banded horizontal composition is what holds the surface together and keeps the eye happily circulating. Likewise, all of the subtle variations along the edge of the cloudbank, softer at the top,  invite the viewer to linger.
The context of the formal part of this discussion is that, with minimalism, there are few of the distractions that busy details create, so everything that is there must hold up to intense scrutiny. This also, then, connects to my analysis of the Rothko and the Frankenthaler in the Paintings of Infinite Worth post.
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In late summer and early autumn I spent some time simplifying, rearranging, and painting my studio. Since I started out by getting rid of two large pieces of furniture that stored multiple things, I was spurred to action by the resulting piles of stuff. Sifting through old files—show postcards; letters; consignment sheets from galleries long gone; grant applications—I found myself in an unexpectedly intense emotional state.
I am still trying to put my finger on this stew of emotion. It did not include nostalgia, interestingly, or even pride, but did produce a sense of…wonder? The files were evidence of the accretion created by so very much effort over many years, including a good number of things that I had forgotten about or forgotten the details of.
That such a number of seemingly random tidbits added up to something quite substantial —my life’s work—made me feel as if I am sitting atop this huge pile of career events; relationships; and hard work, and that all of that is now supporting me. It also strikes me now how this would be true of so many people of a certain age, especially those working in arenas where both work and success are largely self-generated. Further, as an avid reader of literary fiction, I can see that this is the stuff that novelists work with—details that end up coalescing into life narrative.
The most moving piece of paper that I found was a letter from my old friend Joan D’Arcy, a gifted arts writer who passed away some years ago. This letter was written shortly after her husband died, at which time I had given her a small painting.
Interestingly, in a  twist to this story, a few years later Joan told me how much her husband had loved this piece, her memory apparently having been reshaped by a conflation of events on the timeline. I never corrected her.
letterfromjoan
“…shames the obvious.” Such a gorgeous turn of phrase.
Sorting through my studio, I also took a good look at the few that are left of these pastel-on-primed-paper pieces from 1992, done during a period when the serene feel was not working for me. I remember vividly doing these, our small twins (finally!!!) asleep in the late evening.
Jagged Peaks, 20"x24".

Jagged Peaks, 10″x24″.

 

Brown Shoreline, 24"x20".

Brown Shoreline, 24″x20″.

 

Birdseye Shoreline,

Birdseye Shoreline, 10″x24″.

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Last summer I did, on a very hot July day, a demo at the Woodstock School of Art. It is hard to complete a sentence while working on a painting to start with—so much focus is on the progress of the piece—and on top of that the editing of a short video tends to break things up. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the result and hope that you enjoy watching.
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A new exploration for me this past fall has been working with monotype, a printmaking process wherein you work directly on a plate to create one-of-a-kind images. An experienced painter can often move fairly quickly along the learning curve with monotypes, so I have had great pleasure in the process and am happy with many of my results.
M/Dark Road, monotype and pastel.

Dark Road,  monotype and pastel, 10″x8″.

 

Monotype, Wave #3, 8"x10".

Monotype, Wave #3, 8″x10″.

 

Monotype, Fall Marsh, 8"x10".

Monotype, Fall Marsh, 8″x10″.

Additional images can be viewed at:

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

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 The development of the actual paintings always (naturally!) comes first on my list of what I love to do most. These pieces are among my own top picks from 2016, often because I remember certain challenges in the process of creation that led to a satisfying result.
Layers of Meaning, 30"x24", oil on linen.

Layers of Meaning, 30″x24″, oil on linen.

 

Glistening Greys, 10"X10", oil on linen.

Glistening Greys, 10″X10″, oil on linen.

 

"Lingering", 10"x10".

“Lingering”, 10″x10″, oil on linen (sold by Julie Heller Gallery).

 

Winter in Blue/White, 12"x12", oil on linen (at Albert Shahinian Fine Art).

Winter in Blue/White, 12″x12″, oil on linen (at Albert Shahinian Fine Art).

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I am very pleased to have new representation at Gallery 901 in Santa Fe, NM. Please check out the gallery if you are in town:

http://www.gallery901.org/christie-scheele/

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A number of my pieces have been gifted from one spouse to the other for the holidays. In the case of Trove/Atmospherics,  the story leading up to the surprise gift from a dear friend to her wife has twists and turns that have gone on for years (even though the piece dates only to winter of 2015):
Trove:Atmospherics, 35 panels of 3"x5"/ea., 30"x48" overall.

Trove:Atmospherics, 35 panels of 3″x5″/ea., 30″x48″ overall.

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I have just added some newly returned work to my data-base, and taken off the aforementioned holiday gifts. If you are looking for a large painting, this is a rare moment to peruse the many choices:

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

Since I sold the piece in October that was on my large living room wall, I have had the pleasure of replacing it, temporarily at least, with this favorite that I recently had returned to me:

 

"Rolling Cloud", 44"x68".

“Rolling Cloud”, 44″x68″.

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Looking ahead, my thoughts are on the project I am developing for my residency in Nantucket in Feb.-March. This will involve an expanded and more experiential exploration of place, using drawing, printmaking, painting, writing…and who knows what else? Memory will be a theme.

Also coming up this winter, a special show/sale starting in early February at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY. More on this in a few weeks.

Finally, for those of you who do the drive from Kingston, NY up Route #28 to your home or weekend place, or if you just want to listen to a very well-produced culture/history/arts audio tour of the Catskills, check  out this piece by neighbor and friend Brett Barry of Silver Hollow Audio (who Catskills/HV/Berkshires folks will know from the segments that he does on WAMC). My bit is about half-way into it, but with Brett’s interview prompts that created the individual discussions followed by skillful editing, the whole piece is beautifully interwoven and well worth listening to.

http://drive28.com/

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I am wishing us,  individually and collectively, a year of truth-seeking and compassion; of finding community; and exploring our deepest joys.


Painting Demonstration

Painting Demonstration

In August I did a painting demonstration at my gallery in Rhinebeck, Albert Shahinian Fine Art. I am accustomed to doing these for my students, but a gallery setting posed different challenges.

Since I do not paint a piece in one sitting, I had to plan carefully to give an idea of the entire process. I paint over a dark ground, building up a silky, glowing surface with semi-transparent layers that need to dry in between.

For the demo, I brought in three pieces to work on. The first, Night Drive, had only one layer. The second and third, Iconic Cloud and High Peaks, were nearly finished, but needed some last work on the clouds to achieve the glow that I am after.

Photography by Mark Loete.

The finished "Night Drive", 16"X20".

I am not absolutely methodical with my palette, but I do like to mix it ahead of time with a number of subtle color options so that I can apply the first layer without stopping frequently to mix. Here, small amounts of color for a smallish painting.

Passing the painting with the dry first layer around so that folks could feel the tooth of the dark ground on the sides.

Explaining the process, continual in my studio, that I use to figure out what the painting needs next. One of the biggest pitfalls is to be so in love with a section or element of the painting that you fail to see that another area is not up to snuff. While many important decisions are made viscerally during the development of the painting, this is a stage that requires clear-headed analysis. In this piece, what I needed was fairly straightforward---more glow in the sky and in the lights, and some clarification of the car with the taillights.

Beginning to apply a second layer. The light colors need more layering than the dark and more saturated hues to create luminescence, especially in sky and water. Lights, spots of embedded color, usually have halos of warm color around them with white or almost white in the center. There as many different ways of shaping and blending a set of headlights as there are different kinds of clouds…these often take as much of my time as the whole rest of the painting.

The brush gets used upside down and sideways, to work into the edges that are blended and scumbled, creating my soft-focus surface.

Working…my solo show on the surrounding walls.

Working on the blacks---the blacker the better. Creating a haze of rich, saturated color---deep red in this piece-- along the edges of black shapes makes a lovely transition into the adjoining area.

Working, talking, artist taking notes in foreground. A final decision was how clear to make the streetlight poles—since this piece has a blurred photo-on-the-move look, I left them quite faint.

The final version of "Iconic Cloud", 20"X40".

The composition and shapes of “Iconic Cloud” had been worked out in my studio—I had tweaked and added variation to the shape and edges of the cloud for hours. Now, all I needed to do was add some whites to it to enhance contrast and luminosity.

The cloud, being the star here, requires lots of attention. It is not all white, but has many subtle variations of slightly mauve greys. Here, I am adding the last, whitest whites. The layering of semi-transparent paint and careful scumbling of the edges create the glow, so that the cloud does not look like a solid object stuck on the sky, instead clearly reading as embedded in it.

Sometimes I follow my reference fairly closely, and other times it serves more as inspiration. The foreground photo here illustrates that with “Iconic Cloud”, the latter was the case. I am often asked about working from photographic reference—plein-air painting being so popular these days. Since I love to capture fleeting moments–from a thunderstorm to headlights on a lonely road—I need a reference that fixes the image. My minimalist imagery also involves a great deal of editing, reducing detail, cropping, and rearranging, all of which are easier to do with a photo as a starting point. Finally, my process requires studio time, since it is accomplished over time.

The finished piece, "High Peaks", 20"X60".

Setting up for the final touches on “High Peaks”.

This image had a sky that was hard to capture---a grey-pink approaching thunderstorm look, slightly queasy while also kind of ethereal. The difficult part was going back and forth between the greyer spectrum (somewhat dreary) and the pinks (a tad sweet). It was, in the end, the whites highlights that brought it all together.

Answering questions…like, “How long does it take you to do a painting?” Answer: “Some seem to paint themselves, while others require seemingly endless problem-solving—and I never know at the beginning which way it will go.”

Explaining how important it is to create an elengant, dynamic composition. I prefer varied, interlocking shapes with reverse curves...

…lots of points or triangular forms, and diagonal lines. In a landscape, it is too easy to stick to a series of horizontal bands—but way more interesting to break these up with diagonals and verticals.

Any questions?

September 13, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment