Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

Posts tagged “tidal creek

Spring 2019

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

 

Surging Swell, 48″x48″.

 

Menemsha Summer, 36″x66″.

 

Chillmark View, 40″x40″.

 

Summer Marsh with Junipers, 40″x40″.

 

Seaview Dusk, 18″x24″.

 

Setting Sun, 12″x12″.

 

For more, you can go to the gallery website:

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

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

 

Mutable Blues, 24″x36″.

 

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

Here are a few of the student-executed exercises.

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

 

These are all done by different students.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

A few of these stories:

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

 

Engaging Greens, 36″x66″.

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

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

 

County Mayo in Summer, 10″x30″.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

The living room with artwork installed for the party.

 

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

 

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

 

Sundrenched Saltmarsh, 20″x16″.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Arts & Culture Packages

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Harbor with Shifting Light, 18″x24″.

 

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

 

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

 

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Shape and Mood: 2 Paintings so Alike and so Different

In representational art, the formal aspects of a painting can contribute to a narrative or mood just as readily as the descriptive. This is a theme that I discuss often in workshops, talks, and here on my blog. I recently finished two paintings of the same locale and time of year—same day, in fact—using a very similar palette that illustrate this point well.

In fact, the difference between them really boils down to the mood that the shapes create.

In “Lingering”, below, the overall feel of the piece is warm and welcoming, despite the weather depicted being overcast. Putting ourselves in the scene, the misty/drizzly day creates a sheen and depth to colors in the marshes and a sense of intimacy—privacy, almost— within the landscape. On these sorts of days there are fewer people about; the air is thick and embracing; vistas tend to be limited. There is a boundary of trees at the horizon, enclosing the space.

"Lingering", 10"x10".

“Lingering”, 10″x10″.

On the formal side, the eye is led into the piece by the wide open shape of the tidal pool at the bottom left, and then is invited to move around by the directionality of soft edges and dispersed accumulations of detail. Variations of color within the areas of orange marsh grasses encourage the eye to linger. Sky and water are a mauve, relating to the coolest of the reds in the marsh.

I would describe “Lingering” as warm; friendly; intimate. And descriptive, for sure.

In the second piece, the color is the same but the feel is much bolder. Now we have a highly structured piece with assertive directionality. The eye is swept into the image by the strong zig-zag created by the edges of the marsh and moves back to a open area with minimal detail along the horizon. The detail that does exist is necessary to balance the composition, keeping the eye moving within the painting rather than being swept off to the right by the strong edges of the tidal creek.

"Edge of Discovery", 18"x24".

“Edge of Discovery”, 18″x24″.

The description of  “Edge of Discovery” could include abstract; expansive; dynamic. Movement within structure.

As I was working on these pieces–about a month apart—I decided independently with each that the image needed some interest in the marsh as it went back in space. To create this, I added the back tidal pools in both cases, and then the evolving paintings clicked into place.

Even here, with a similar solution to a common problem, the feel of these pools is quite different. In “Lingering” there is quite a bit of detail to the two glimpses of white, while in “Edge of Discovery”  the bit of water is minimal, austere (and right in the middle!), jibing with the overall reductive composition.

So, when we talk about mood in a landscape painting, we are discussing two things. One is the mood of the moment captured—how would it feel like to be there? The other is the feeling that the lines, shapes, and surface of the painting create for the viewer.

Color relates to both. It reflects the seasons; light; locale; and time of day of the views that we see around us. It also is inherently linked to mood and personal preference.

Kandinsky in his 1910 “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” posits that abstract elements have emotive power in their own right. In comparing these two paintings, it becomes clear how the shapes with their edges and directionality and the overall composition that they create impact the mood projected.

Unlike with color, many people are not consciously aware that these particular formal aspects are actively contributing to their experience of a representational painting. It is up to the artist to be adept at exploring the endless possibilities of these pictoral tools as the painting is being shaped, narrowing the gap between a good painting and an excellent one and finding variation in feel from piece to piece.


Collectors Comment

I asked some of the folks who bought paintings from me last summer to comment on why they decided upon the piece(es) that they selected. I will let these collectors be the voice of this post, and share my own thoughts about acquiring original art when I do a post on my modest but lovely collection of art by friends whose work I love.

About these pieces and others that found homes over the summer, I will say that I am delighted with the variety of work that was selected.

 

 

“The best part of living with my very evocative Blue Night painting is the way its flavor and its mood changes during the course of the day as the light moves around it. Sometimes I feel as if I have bought not one painting but five or fifteen for all that it has to say. I loved it from the moment I saw it because it generated both peacefulness and seriousness, simplicity and power. It is a small but very strong painting and I have hung it where it catches my eye as I move through my home. The blue calls for my attention when I walk into the room where it hangs. I like that because for a fleeting instant I am reminded of beauty contained, of nature and its rewards. It takes me out of myself and the whirring in my brain.”

 

 

 

 

“This most recent piece that I bought from Christie, “Gleaming Sky” leapt out at me the same way the 27 other pieces that I own did. You’d think by now there is something specific that brings me back to her work time and time again. But that’s just it – there ISNT anything in particular that grabs me – it ALL does. At this point Christie could even pick out ahead of time which of her pieces I will love and add to my “Must Buy” list and which pieces I will enjoy, but aren’t quite my style. That is a gift that she has considering we have already established there isn’t really a consistent pattern to my selections. This particular one I chose for a new bathroom in my house in Woodstock.”

 

 

 

 

“And when you are looking at the painting, and have the windows open listening to the stream, for a second you can actually imagine that the magnificent sound is coming directly from the canvas…It is those kind of intangibles that will keep my collection going for many years.”

 

“(I actually can’t wait to hang your piece … there is a spot on one of my bedroom walls yearning for it.) I remember being so refreshed by this little piece of life — usually, it’s the mist and its depth, the textures in the wetness that I adore in your work. But, the laundry is so fresh! And the textures of the wood and fabric raveling delicately remind me of the depth of the mist. And! … the sun! On the line and in the sunset. I also remember that red/orange warmth. It already had my name on it…”

 

“I am drawn to Christie’s work by the way she captures the sense of depth and magic in her landscapes. The paintings allow me to bring something of what I love of the Catskills into my home.” (Piece #1 of four.}

{Another vertical, this one a pastel, piece #2.}

 

“When I first saw “River Sunset in 3,” it stopped me in my tracks. The deep orange of the sunset, the mystery of the reflection in the water, strikes a chord deep within me.”

 

{August Tidal Creek, 36″X72″, piece #4 acquired by the above collector last summer.}

 

“What attracts me to her pieces are her use of light and color and shading. You get the feeling of the image without any distinct lines or definition of space, it registers because of the mood the use of shading and lighting creates. The paintings are soft and warm and comforting, even if it’s a painting of what looks to be a rainy night on a dark road. You still feel safe and warm in the painting.”

 

“The box seemed an enigma to me—I was attracted to the warm palette within the warm wooden box. I loved the compositional arrangement within the independent compartments. The piece has an architectural tone to it, yet in a painterly way.”

 

“In my south facing dining room I have an east window, where the sun rises, and a west window where the sun sets.  Above each of these windows I positioned two 14X38 Christie Scheele paintings.  One landscape pictures calm, yet vibrant day light…  “

 

“…and the other landscape shows a warm golden evening light at dusk. I really enjoy how these two paintings interact with each other and complement the space and natural light in my dining area …allowing me to enjoy the mystery of daybreak and dusk at anytime.”