As part of connecting with the artistic community, past and present, I've been making efforts to meet up with fellow artists. It's important to not only network, but develop relationships with artists you admire in order to gain feedback, new perspective on your work, and camaraderie. Being an artist is often a lonely endeavor and though I like to paint and work privately, I feed off personal interactions. This is something I miss about running my gallery in Newton.
Since closing the gallery, these personal interactions and connections are frequently very difficult to make happen now between family obligations and my teaching schedule. I've had to cancel numerous studio visits with artists due to changes in my schedule with sick kids, my husband's travel schedule or my own work deadlines.
Last month, with not much notice and schedules miraculously aligning, I visited West Orange artist, Sarah Canfield's studio. She and I have bumped into one another on numerous occasions and have been in a few local shows together. I admire and respect both her work and her dedication. Sarah is not only a remarkable artist, but also a dedicated volunteer for Studio Montclair and the West Orange Arts Council. Her studio is on the first floor of her bright and airy split level home. It's not a gigantic studio, but she's able to do some pretty big things in such a small space!
She comes from a photorealist oil painting tradition, but with a technological bent, creating almost hyperrealistic abstractions from electronic / computer elements, even "freezing time" as she describes in her artist statement by depicting circuit boards that have literally been frozen in her freezer! Despite the amount of detail and precision in the works, the scale and alteration of the subject matter distorts and becomes something almost organic. It is the tension between the "timeless and transient" that drives Sarah's work.
She recently has been taking a break from painting and experimenting with new multimedia and multidimensional works. I had the privilege of seeing them in progress and learning about her ideas, concepts, and processes. We spoke for a few hours about art-making, involvement in local arts organizations, studio practices, teaching and the balance of making art in a home studio.
Hopefully we'll get to see the results of her newest works soon; she's very protective of them due to their shift in direction, so I won't be sharing any pics. In the meantime, you can explore her portfolio at sarahcanfield.com. Hope to bump into you soon Sarah!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post with an exciting announcement!
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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