I work in the tradition of representational modernism. I've always been committed to this beautiful work which reached its height of achievement in mid-century with Bonnard and Hopper, and has been continued into the present day by James Weeks, Richard Diebenkorn, William Bailey, and Stanley Lewis. In this tradition, painting aspires to poetry: a fully realized world constructed from abstract elements – which always discloses itself as paint. There will be strangeness – strangeness as being, strangeness as beauty arisen from contact with a different kind of consciousness than our own, with motion, depth, openness, rhythm, and emotional color.
I am dazzled with the feeling of light and the mystery of ordinary things that call up fleeting and treasured memories of my childhood.
My paintings of houses begin with a walk in my neighborhood. I find—a bicycle in the weeds, a signpost, a bright pink house with a mermaid over the door. I set myself up on the street, beginning with charcoal drawings and then pastels. Then, in my studio, I use the information for the big paintings and work back and forth revising the drawings, making endless revisions of the paintings. This can go on for years until each painting is a visual poem: a beautiful, mysterious process that unfolds over time.
I’ve been a painter all my life. Creating the illusion of space and light with paint is what thrilled me from the beginning, and it is what thrills me now.
After Cooper Union Art School in New York, I moved to Durham, North Carolina, where I raised 4 kids and taught art at Duke University. I drew, painted, exhibited and sold my work nationally and internationally.
I taught painting and drawing at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, where I developed a curriculum that weaves color theory and composition into the practice of painting. With my radio partner, I have a bi-weekly show: Art as Experience, on WOWD LP FM. We have produced over 100 podcasts, giving context and thought-provoking ideas arising from museum exhibits, movies, articles and books.
Since we are both artists and teachers we have a unique perspective, different from critics and art historians – and we have more fun.
I work in my studio at my home in Takoma Park, Maryland, trying to keep the demands of life down to a minimum so that I can continue painting until I can’t lift the brush.
Copyright © 2021 Sheila Blake - All Rights Reserved.