Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Gia Schifano Reflects on Summer

The September 18, 2020 issue of Dan's Papers, featuring art by Gia Schifano
The September 18, 2020 issue of Dan's Papers, featuring art by Gia Schifano

There’s nothing like a new day dawning on the East End. Celebrated Dan’s Papers cover contributor Gia Schifano talks about a Hamptons sunrise, reflects on the summer and looks forward to fall.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
This piece was done from a photo taken by a friend who lives on the beach in Sagaponack. I was so inspired by the colors in the landscape. The photo itself was a painting just waiting to happen—the brightness of the sunlight just rising into the blue sky and lighting up the clouds while just glimmering over the sand and beach grass brought with it a palette of color that couldn’t be ignored.

What makes the East End sunrise special?
The East End sky, whether morning or night, is unlike any other place on Long Island. The wide open spaces made up of beaches, farmlands and villages created without tall buildings help to keep the view vast, free of obstruction. The morning has become my favorite time—when it’s still quiet, the breeze is light, the water has barely a ripple and the sky has this dusty pink and light yellow glow at the horizon, just before the blue begins. The moon is still visible and the sun is rising, greeting me as I walk my dog on the beach. I find the pink in the sky to be mesmerizing. Anyone who is lucky enough to experience a Hamptons sunrise or sunset can’t help but feel a spiritual connection to nature.

Gia Schifano
Gia Schifano, Photo: Barbara Lassen

What does a sunrise mean to you?
The sunrise is a symbol of hope and new beginnings. It reminds us that each day is a chance to have a new start. The sunrise is a true gift from the universe. No matter how I slept, whatever may be running through my head all night, it is there every day to bring me peace, give me a chance to reflect and get my attitude in check, while I take it all in. This year, for all of us, we are experiencing events that can consume us and take the wind out of our sails. Without stopping to embrace the beauty of the world, we can find ourselves deep in a hole of despair. Nature and the promise of a sunrise is a constant that is so uplifting it has the ability to bring light back into the soul. It reminds us that there is gratitude, peace and joy living in each and every one of us.

It’s finally fall! Tell us about your East End summer.
Like so many of us, because of the COVID lockdown, my East End summer got off to a late start. My house is seasonal, so I couldn’t get in there and get all the summer prep work out of the way until we were into June. Thankfully, none of my family were infected, and it allowed me to spend quality time with my adult children, which is not something in our individual rat races that we get to do often. The summer was all about family and good friends. We spent the summer at the house on the cove with giant pool floats, some boating, taking it slow and enjoying the outdoors. I love cruising around in my kayak in the morning, taking reference photos for future paintings. Farm to table had a whole new meaning as we avoided the big supermarkets and shopped mostly at the local farms. When it seemed safe to do so, I enjoyed wonderful dinners out with good friends at the outside garden at the Bridgehampton Inn. I highly recommend it. I have to say that as much as I enjoy smaller nights out, it was sad that Dan’s Papers couldn’t have all their summer events. They are always a blast!

With the galleries closed and the artists’ calls limited, the usual art season this summer was a little slower for me than usual. B.J. Spoke gallery in Huntington, where I’m a member artist, was closed. The last art reception I attended was at the Reboli Center in Stony Brook, celebrating Dan’s Papers cover artists. The world shut down shortly after and so did the exhibit. Thankfully that was extended for a month after they were able to open. Guild Hall’s member exhibit was stifled as well, but they also extended their exhibit when things lightened up. I participated in their Clothesline Art Sale, which was both virtual and live this year. I really missed being able to participate in artists receptions where you can talk to art lovers. Thankfully, in July, artist Jackie Fuchs invited me to join in an outdoor exhibit that she put together at Estia’s Little Kitchen. It was so wonderful to be able to meet people again and talk about my work, that’s what really gets your creativity flowing. This summer, I also participated in the Frontline Hero’s Project sponsored by the East End Arts. Artists volunteered to do a painting, portrait or landscape, from a photo submitted by a local hospital worker as a thank you for all they do. I am so grateful the art world is beginning to get back on track.

As the cooler weather approaches, what are you looking forward to on the East End?
The fall is such a beautiful time to spend out East. The summer certainly is the main event in the Hamptons, but the fall brings its own beauty and small town activities. I love the crispness in the air and watching the trees change around the cove. I think some of the best sunsets come in October. I love apple picking and pumpkin picking at The Milk Pail in Bridgehampton, checking out the farm stands on the North Fork and just enjoying sweater weather on the East End after a long hot summer—so refreshing.

See more of Gia Schifano’s work at B.J. Spoke Gallery in Huntington, Mills Pond Gallery in St. James and at giaschifano.com.

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