Casco Bay Cottage
Oil on linen panel
30 x 24 in. (36 x 30 in. framed)
Available through the artist
Casco Bay Cottage is unique among the paintings in artist Jean Schwartz’ coastal series in that it does not depict a body of water. However, while not seen, it is sensed. The cottage’s lofty perch over the rocks suggests it’s view out to sea.
“I was on a painting trip to Maine with friends. Most of the week was overcast, rainy and foggy. Early one particular morning, I woke to find the sun was drenching everything in a golden light. I rushed to the dock with watercolors and camera to catch the light on the bay. As I turned to go back up the hill the cottage and its surroundings greeted me. I instantly knew it was what I wanted to paint!”
Viewing the painting, Andrei Kushnir, artist and owner of American Paintings Fine Art in Washington DC, says, “Jean’s painting, Casco Bay Cottage, provides a dramatic experience for the viewer. The eye is directed by rock formations that point toward the subject but the encounter is immediately tempered with lush verdure and a bath of soft, golden light. The resulting feeling, for me, is one of appreciation for the idea of a safe respite from nature’s harsher elements. The artist not only knows her subject intimately but, as in all of her work, constructs a vision that conveys multiple layers of meaning through a masterly use of her medium. Can one ask for more from a work of art?”
In addition to coastal scenes, Jean also paints landscapes and cityscapes and can often be found painting plein air at locations in DC or northern Virginia, particularly along the Potomac near her home. These small paintings either stand on their own or are used as references for larger studio paintings.
“Sometimes I go out painting with the goal of information gathering for something I have planned as a studio work. I am often surprised that what I set out to paint is abandoned when I am inspired by something entirely different in the moment.”
Jean majored in Fine Arts in college. Painting classes emphasized abstraction and experimentation with different mediums. “My college, Upsala College, was only 20 minutes from NYC and we were encouraged to visit galleries and museums in the city as often as our schedules allowed. It was an exciting and dynamic time to be a young painter but the basics, particularly composition were also instilled in us.”
In her representational work Jean still pays close attention to such training but light plays a stronger role. “It is always the light that first draws me to a scene, and it is what inspires me the most when painting. Light sets the mood, it defines form, it is what I find exciting to capture on canvas.”
Jean is a juried member of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, The Salmagundi Club, Oil Painters of America and is an elected fellow of American Artists Professional League. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in private and corporate collections in the U.S. and France.