Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Casey Chalem Anderson on Beach Life & More

Casey Chalem Anderson's "Merging Waves," used as the cover of the August 14, 2020 issue
Casey Chalem Anderson's "Merging Waves," used as the cover of the August 14, 2020 issue

Dan’s Papers regular Casey Chalem Anderson talks about her process, bringing her work to life and being inspired by the beach.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
The inspiration for this painting is an expression of how much I love watching the waves at the beach. The ocean is erratic, you never know what you are going to get. The waves surprise and pelt the sand as they come in, even when the surface is flat and green bottle glassy. Other days it roars rough and grey with wild unpredictable breaks and bursts.

But I’ve always found the beach was the place I could go to figure out anything that needed my attention. At the beach I can tune in, quiet down inside and see life more clearly.

Talk about your art style. 
I’m a traditional oil painter with a contemporary sensibility. My compositions, brushstrokes and choice of colors are influenced by the art of this modern era. I always use the highest quality paints so that my oil paintings will last beautifully for hundreds of years.

In my paintings the horizon line automatically creates stability. The soft melt of brushstroke between the sky and the sea allows the eye to stretch out to infinity just as it does at the beach. I use gorgeous colors that lift emotions. I’ve been employing inventive ways of using the paint by experimenting with unusual brushes and rags to create the sensation of energy we feel at the ocean. A painting that resonates with you will remind you of the salty smell, the crashing sound and the wild power of the ocean. You will feel it in your bones.

Casey Chalem Anderson and a selection of her paintings, Photo: Nick Daba
Casey Chalem Anderson and a selection of her paintings, Photo: Nick Daba

Tell us about your artistic process.
On my most inspired days, I wake up, put on my sneakers and head down to my studio in my nightgown with a cup of coffee in hand. I put on my apron and get to work before the emails, phone calls and usual distractions of life. I’ll start laying out the main shapes of the composition with thinly diluted paint, drawing with the point of the brush. Then I begin mixing color combinations on the palette and testing them on the canvas. I can lose control at this point because I’m in a frenzy to get it to work. I paint like this for a few hours, and then I’m exhausted and the day hasn’t even begun. I love it!

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
It’s hard to imagine me being anything else. I fell in love with painting at the High School of Art and Design in NYC, and then went on to major in Studio Art at the University of California, Berkeley. A university education in art led me to respect the pursuit of the artist.

What inspires you the most?
There is no denying that living by the sea has had a huge impact on my paintings. I changed from being a figurative painter to a landscape painter. As a former native New Yorker accustomed to streets crammed with people, the natural beauty and salty waters of the Hamptons feels so good. My job is to translate into paint how the time of day, the shift in tides, the changing level of humidity, even the moon cycle affects the colors of the sky and water.

See more of Casey Chalem Anderson’s work at caseyart.com, in the East Hampton Artists Alliance’s Virtual Show at aaeh-virtual.org and at the Reboli Center in Stony Brook.

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