During this Covid pandemic, I have enjoyed walking in my local area of Vermont. I have been observing the change of seasons, the change of light, from Spring to Summer and now to Fall. Looking closely at what is near to home has inspired these recent paintings. They are a kind of meditation as well as a visual diary of my daily life during quarantine.
This time has made me realize just how fortunate we are to be living in rural Vermont, a place that is rich in history and rich in natural beauty. After having lived in Vermont for 50 years, I am looking at our state with new appreciation. I have tried to capture on canvas with paint, some of the scenes that have struck me from my walks and also from visiting friend’s gardens.
As a painter, light and color are the two main elements that attract me to an image or place, the way the light hits something, the shadows and highlights from the slant of the sun. I usually start a painting by drawing directly on the canvas with willow charcoal, to mark out the bigger shapes and the lights and darks. Then, I will use my paints and start with thin washes to mock in areas, and to assess the composition. I often move things around as I work. I build up layers of paint as I work. It is really a kind of dance. I make a mark here, and that mark requires another mark over there, and back and forth, and back and forth, until hopefully everything sort of sits comfortably.
I may start with an image from out there, but through the process of painting and re-working, the painting takes on a life of its own, and at that point the painting is directing the process and demanding its own direction. It has a life of its own, and I follow that life.
One of the things that I have been thinking about on my walks, is why we paint, what we paint, and how we paint. One of the things I realized is that we cannot paint like Fairfield Porter or Milton Avery or Jane Frielicher, or anyone else we might admire. We can only paint what we see, as it is filtered through our own life experiences. Our brush marks can only be ours, like our handwriting, it can only be uniquely ours, and that finally we can only be ourselves. That feels right to me, that acceptance of ourselves has an integrity and honesty, qualities that are needed now more than ever before. And I can feel comfortable accepting myself. If my work brings some color and warmth to someone, or helps to brighten up a room, then I am grateful and feel that my job is done.
“My work is inspired by the world around me, my life in the countryside of Putney, Vermont, and my time living in Mexico; a country of color and contrast.
I am always looking, looking, looking. It is most often color or a color relationship that moves me to try and capture the essence of my response to it. Sometimes I work from memory or a thumbnail sketch, but the starting point is always something out there that catches my eye and moves me to look closer.
Color is everything, weather I am working on a still life, a landscape, or a figure study. Color has its own magic and energy and that is what excites me to work. My paintings are sort of a visual diary of my life, capturing the places I have been and what I have felt there.”
Carol Keiser’s collection of acrylic paintings presented in “Anniversary!” at Canal Street Art Gallery represent a selection of work from both the artist’s travels and studies in Mexico and Italy.
Keiser’s work is driven by the study of color, color relationships and design. The artist is rooted in the traditions of Fauvism and Post-Impressionism, with many of Keiser’s paintings making eulogies to the likes of Matisse, Picasso, and Bonnard. Keiser’s still life’s with views of the landscape through an open window, and interior settings of particular arrangement seem to be nods to other artists such as Milton Avery and Nell Blaine.
With colors and narratives which demand attention, and subjects of cultural, provincial and art historical significance, Canal Street Art Gallery is pleased to present the work Carol Keiser.