A Greenwich Village native who splits her time between Sag Harbor and Manhattan, Casey Chalem Anderson creates paintings of, and inspired by, the Hamptons’ natural landscape. Her new works steer away from literal realism, settling on geometric and minimal forms while her abstract pieces cull from her many years as a landscape painter and rely on memory of the seaside. Anderson also helped create Plein Air Peconic, an independent artist group that works with the Peconic Land Trust to protect the land and water essential to her paintings. She helps produce the group’s annual art exhibitions and coordinates outings at conserved sites.
What was your inspiration for this piece a specific place?
This is in Sag Harbor looking toward North Haven. In the far distance of the painting you see a hint of a calm Noyac Bay. What I find so captivating is this second waterway of tranquil water surrounded by spring-green marsh grass. It’s the vivid color combination of blue and green that dazzled me. I painted it large (4’ x 4’) so the sensation is parallel to being engulfed in nature.
You do both realist and abstract paintings. Which do you prefer? How is the process different?
Both my abstract and realist works flow from the same source, the seashore. At the ocean we can unite with ourselves so powerfully. The quality of colors, the salty air, the humidity and the sound all remind us of our place in the cosmos.
My personal palette of oil colors consists only of colors I love. I use them whether the painting is abstract or representational. I create paintings to remind you of your own connection to the sea.
You split your time between Sag Harbor and Manhattan, but most of your work seems to be based on vistas out East. Do you paint urban landscapes?
Experiencing the rich culture of the city is essential to who I am as a painter. I’m grateful that the city is close but I never paint cityscapes. When I’m in the city, I’m still secretly dreaming of the beach and longing for it. The abstracts I paint are an expression of that.
Where are your favorite spots to paint in the East End?
One of my favorites is Towd Point Road, where I first fell in love with the Hamptons. I was in college in California when my dad bought a modest cottage right on the water there. I knew instantly that this was my place to be. I love the calm flatness of the horizon line, and how the sky and water are separated by a fine line of white sand.
One of my favorite ocean beaches is Dune Beach in Southampton. It’s a preserved site where a wooden walkway leads you to the water through mounds of pristine white sand dunes. The shapes of our crashing Atlantic waves are endlessly fascinating no matter what beach you are on.
You use oils for most of your paintings. How does a nature scene painted with oils differ from one created using other media?
Oil paint has a sensuous rich quality that is so seductive. I just don’t feel that about acrylics, although I have tried. I also like to draw on paper with pen and ink, some of these sketchbook drawings will be included in my next show.
Besides your website, are there other places where our readers can find your work?
I have an important show running from June 24–July 13 at Ille Arts (171 Main Street, Amagansett) with Fairfield Porter and Neil Welliver. These are two very well-known American realist painters that I am honored to show with.
Anthropologie, Artfully Walls and a few other reputable companies carry prints of my paintings.
To see more of Casey Chalem Anderson’s artwork and to find where it will be featured, visit caseyart.com.