Dan’s Papers favorite Casey Chalem Anderson is well-known for her beautiful oil paintings that capture the serenity of Hamptons waters, which she creates “for people who love the ocean and crave the calm and tranquility we feel by the sea.” In celebration of her 10th Dan’s Papers cover, Anderson discusses the story behind the piece, her greatest source of inspiration and more.
What is the story behind this week’s cover art, “Salt Marsh Triptych?”
Spring comes late and remains gray here in the Hamptons. But just when you can’t take it anymore, the lush green grasses of the salt marshes sprout and then we know summer is about to return. That’s when I made this painting. I’m thrilled when I see the colors come back—the golden green, pale sapphire water and tan sandy beach. Look out on the marsh and you are in a serene place. I had to paint it!
The salt marshes are the coastal protectors of our water quality and they stabilize our shoreline. During storms, just an acre of salt marsh can absorb up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater—equivalent to 2.25 olympic swimming pools. It’s the vital habitat of a wide variety of birds, shellfish, insects, fish, everything that makes the Hamptons so extraordinary.
What does your typical art creation process look like, and did it differ at all with this piece?
I use oil paint because that’s what I’m familiar with. There is a palette of colors I rely on that I’ve developed over years of painting. In every painting I do try to make a new color combination. There is always a discovery to be made, and new ways to explore making a painting.
This oil painting is two feet by six feet, and it’s a triptych—made in three wood panels. The width allows your peripheral vision to fill, bringing your attention back into the painting. When you have three sections (the Dan’s cover is the first panel), the eye is seduced to travel across the expanse, making natural pauses where one panel ends and the next begins.
What makes this artwork such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?
I’m celebrating my 10th Dan’s Papers cover. My paintings deliver an experience of the idyllic, timeless places of the Hamptons—the places we all love. The ocean waves, the tranquil waterways and the abundant flower fields bursting with color.
What has been your greatest source of inspiration during this period of the East End returning back to “normal?”
My greatest source of inspiration is nature and the sea; it feeds me every day. There is a bright red stop sign at the end of my block. Every day, no matter where I’m going or how late I’m running, I have to stop. Every day, I’m forced to slow down and stretch my eyes out to the horizon of the wide open bay. I see bait nets attached to jagged wooden poles jut out of the water, and an osprey soars overhead and lands in her nest. It’s incredible!
What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?
I love smearing colored paint across the canvas and figuring out what looks good. Sometimes I scrape, sometimes I jab, sometimes I just tickle the surface to get the effect I want. I love to paint, to spread it, to swirl it and coax it into place. Observing this place by the beach surprises me every day with something new that’s beautiful. The light of the sky is magical and always changing. The winds shift, the moon affects the tides, the tides disrupt the shoreline, everything is in flux, and I try to be aware of those changes.
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?
The cover painting, “Salt Marsh Triptych,” is at Romany Kramoris Gallery on Main Street in Sag Harbor. If you are strolling by, pop in. … I also maintain a working studio in Sag Harbor.
Now through September 26: Reboli Center for Art and History in the village of Stony Brook, Coming Home. I’m part of a three-person show with Lynn Mara and Joseph Reboli.
September 19 through October 31: The Hamptons Designer Showcase, which benefits Southampton Hospital, will feature my ocean painting in the room designed by Shannon Wiley of Sea Green Designs. On October 9, Sea Green Designs will host an open house to celebrate 21 years in business on the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend with many more of my paintings right in her Jobs Lane shop. Please join us!