Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

Posts tagged “sand flats

Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus: June Newsletter

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:

https://www.buttersgallery.com/Artist-Detail.cfm?ArtistsID=486&ppage=120

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:

https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/a-large-commission-art-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/

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:

 

Path, 48″x40″.

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!


Tidal Flats

“Sunset Contours”, 20″X20″, an intense moment when the setting sun coincides with the lowest tide, creating very black flats framing tidal pools.

Back on the Flats

Vacations, especially family ones, can be complex, and even when things go smoothly, it often takes a few days to relax.

On the tidal flats in Brewster on the Cape, it only takes me about three minutes into my first walk to melt into a blissed-out state, which is then repeated every time I set foot on the wet sand. From the beach entrance, it doesn’t look like much (where did all the water go?). Once you are striding across the sandflats, though, the effect is riveting. The shifting sky is vividly reflected in the tidal pools, so different from when the waves come in at high tide on the bay, and the constantly changing shapes of sandbars and tidal pools as I walk the mile or so out to the last bar are elegant and mesmerizing. The knowledge that I am walking on the bottom of the bay, that in a few hours the water on the sandbar that I tread will be over my head, intensifies the ephemeral wonder of the moment. My body in motion creates a stream of new shapes and colors, the movement of the tide alters the shapes of the tidal pools and sandbars, and the sky’s constant change is reflected in the pools. I move with purpose, as if I have a happy but important job to do.

Over the years, I become more and more fascinated with watching it in all its familiarity and constant transformation.

For a landscape painter, sense of place is always key. I often contend, though, that for the artist the painting needs to be more important than the place—that to even capture the place, any place, you need to keenly focus on the dynamics of color, composition, surface, and edges, while engaged in the process, and that mood will follow. The tidal flats experience transends this argument perfectly, though, providing the feel that I want to evoke both in my work and to experience while working—wide open, expansive, joy-infused serenity set in moments of crystalline focus—and this over a period of time, the body moving and engaged.

Moving from bliss to pictoral analysis, the shapes of the sandbars, tidal pools, and clouds over the flats lend themselves to the kind of color field painting that I love—essentially and yet barely a landscape. The interlocking shapes of the elements are sometimes subtle and others assertive; sometimes elegant and others odd, and like nothing else in the natural world.

Binary of mutually exclusive truths: the essence of sense of place and the purest abstraction.

“Blue Cloud” , 12″X12″, a storm rolling in over the flats.

“Blue Tidal Pool”, 20″X24″, all about the direction of the clouds.

Commanding Angles, 12″X24″, one of the quirkiest and most abstract pieces.

Evening Clouds, 12″X12″, the sky with two different types of clouds, the piece about angles and mood.

Sandflats with Cloudbank, 40″X50″, a color field painting, though the flats and sky really did look like that!

Vertical Sky over Tidal Pools, 36″X12″, the format seems counter-intuitive, but the slight tension created forces the eye back on the composition.