I was featured in the Artist Spotlight at Anne Neilson Fine Art

Hello and Happy Thursday, all! A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by my gallery, Anne Neilson Fine Art for a feature on their blog. So happy to share this with you!

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: SALLY VEACH

IMG_6901.jpg

We are so excited to be representing Sally Veach, a new artist to Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery! She is a fellow mountain dweller from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and has truly been a joy to get to know.

She’s a passionate, innovative artist who expresses herself, her thoughts, ideas and inspirations not only in her words written here, but also in her expressionistic paintings. Her work is especially meaningful as her Barns of Shenandoah series depicts “the tragedy of historic barns and the fact that they are slowly returning to nature”.

The preservation that occurs by making these paintings is the essence of the artists surroundings; the beauty, color and energy that occurs within nature. Her depictions thrill the viewer with the way air and earth come together to move nature, and also allow it to reclaim. Barns come from trees that belong to the soil, and in turn barns rest upon that soil, that ultimately takes back what is theirs.

Read on to learn more about Sally Veach: as an artist, her likes and her life!

Hometown: Chatham, NJ

Currently Living: Woodstock, VA

IMG_4953.jpg

When did you start your career in art?

Phase one of my art career started as a teenager when I began to complete commissions, earned a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University, and continued in the graphic arts for a few years after graduation.  Phase two began about five years ago, when I reconnected with my artist identity and started my current, fine art practice in painting.

How long have you known you wanted to be an artist? 

I knew I “was” an artist from about age 11.  There was no question in my mind about “wanting to be”!  About five years ago, I then made a decision that I “wanted to be” an artist!  Sometimes it’s a strange, topsy-turvy world.

Describe your aesthetic in three words:

Gestural, Expressive, Colorism

Describe your artistic process and preparation.

My artistic process begins with the intense observation of, and inspiration from the natural landscape surrounding my home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The amazing of colors, energy, and atmospheric perspective of our natural world get quickly recorded with my cell phone camera. There are thousands of photos available to rekindle my memories.  I don’t refer to the photos for reference but use them to jog my memory of what was interesting about the scenes. This almost always has to do with color.  So, when I begin a painting, the colors and a basic idea of compositional design serve as the beginning structure.  From there the work takes a course of its own, and I enter a spontaneous period of adding and subtracting elements until I can see a pathway developing.  I’ll continue down that path until there are no more unresolved aspects of the composition, and the painting communicates what I am trying to express.

IMG_5820.jpg

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

My favorite piece currently is “Solstice 2”.  I love this painting because it most successfully communicates the colors, gestural expression, and style of working that I am anxious to continue exploring. I feel it is the most “me”!

  Solstice 2  by Sally Veach, currently available at ANFA Gallery

Solstice 2 by Sally Veach, currently available at ANFA Gallery

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

I am inspired and influenced by the work of Eric Aho, a contemporary, abstract landscape painter from Vermont.  I also love the work of Cy Twombly.  I believe it is the gestural, fresh expression inherent in Twombly’s work that is so intriguing to me. He also practiced right down the valley from me in Lexington, VA.  Personally, I am inspired by my mother who is just now retiring from professional life at the age of 92.  At my age of 56, I hope I have that many more years to grow and develop as an artist!

  Headwaters  by Eric Aho

Headwaters by Eric Aho

What challenges do you think exist in the world of fine art?

There is a conflict between the personal expression of an artist and the business of selling the work.

How do you approach/overcome them?

I resolve that conflict by recognizing that the final step in art is communicating with the world by sharing your work with others.  For patrons, the act of collecting art is a wonderful, built-in step that completes the process of being an artist.  But the first order of business is producing pure, authentic work.  The two realms have a symbiotic relationship, but I am careful to focus on exploring my personal interests and inspirations first. If an artist does not keep this priority, then the work becomes contrived and shallow, and by default less compelling to the collector.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?

Professionally, my biggest accomplishment is being offered an eight month show at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia, which is tentatively planned for 2019.  This show will feature my series, Barns of Shenandoah,and is about the endangered, historic barns of Shenandoah County, VA. I have partnered with our local historical society and we are forming a group focused on raising awareness of and preserving the historic barns of Shenandoah County, VA.  I love that I have found a great way to contribute to my community through donating a portion of all barn-related paintings to the historical society.

Ironically, my art practice is probably also my biggest, personal accomplishment.  It was difficult to “face the demons” when reconnecting to the identity of an artist, and to believe that I was worthy to attempt a career in art took a lot of positive self-talk.  It goes to show, dream big and persist!

 Photo by Hekyung Parkbarr

Photo by Hekyung Parkbarr

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

I love to paint in my studio, which is in a room above the garage in our home.  It has become a refuge, a place belonging just to me.  It is often messy but I know where everything is!

 
IMG_5205.jpg
 

A random fact about you:

I’m kind of a contradiction. I love to play golf but sing opera.  I love to learn nerdy facts but love to get glammed up for a night out too.

Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?

My favorite place to vacation is the ocean, or any large body of water. My dream trip would be a cozy cottage on a private stretch of natural beach.  Even though I love the mountains, my vacation would be to the beach.

What are you currently reading?

21 Answers for 21st Century Questions by Yuval Noah Harari

yuval.jpg

What are you currently listening to?

Jolene by Ray Lamontagne

Ray  Lamontagne.jpg

What would you be doing if you were not an artist?

Drowning in my sorrows.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

My two grown children and my husband of 30 years.

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Not sure, except that it would have to be someone who never has self-doubt and was free from existential anxiety, lol.  But probably, that person does not exist!

Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

My all-time favorite artist is Eric Aho. I’d have to say that my favorite emerging artist is William McClure, who is also represented by Anne Neilson Fine Art.

   Painting XVII   by William McClure  Currently available at  ANFA Gallery

Painting XVII by William McClure

Currently available at ANFA Gallery

Dream commission?

My dream commission would be monumental painting for a large public space or office building. But I’d have to find a bigger studio first!

What do you want your audience to know about your work?

I want my audience to know that every time I paint, I am channeling the beauty and awe of nature through a filter of the anxiety of modern life–the human condition, you could say.  My message is:  Look Up, Remember to Notice Beauty, Remember to Find Joy.  Nature is a poultice for all that ails us and is free for all.

IMG_3860.jpg

What makes your work unique?

I believe my work is unique in that I use traditional concepts of landscape color theory and composition combined with an abstract expressionist method.  My paintings are landscapes, but very much on the verge of pure abstraction, and I strive to make every mark free with the energy of my body and not contrived or controlled.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years:

Within the next five years, I would like to achieve a level of confidence in my painting expression to the point where each foray onto the canvas is an act of joy free from self-doubt. And I would like to be part of the conversation in the larger art world.

  And She Rises  by Sally Veach, currently available at ANFA Gallery

And She Rises by Sally Veach, currently available at ANFA Gallery

 Come visit us at ANFA Gallery to view some of Sally Veach’s available works, and check out https://www.sallyveach.com to learn even more about this wonderful woman and look at her entire breathe of work!

 



 

Two July Shows in Harrisonburg and Woodstock, VA

Next month, the last two shows that are scheduled for 2018 will be held:  Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg, VA and Muse Vineyards in Woodstock, VA.  Both shows will feature my Barns of Shenandoah series, of which 20% of my proceeds will be donated to the Shenandoah County Historical Society's barn preservation program!  At Larkin Arts, a small selection of 2017 landscapes will also be exhibited. Each show has been carefully curated to exhibit a cohesive selection of my paintings. Attend both for a robust experience of my work. Here is the information on the shows:

 

"Sally Veach, Barns of Shenandoah & More"

Larkin Arts, Wine-Riner Galleries

July 6-28, 2018

61 Court Square, Harrisonburg, VA  22801

Opening Reception Friday, July 6, 5-8 PM

 

Start downtown Harrisonburg's First Friday art crawl at Larkin Arts, where my work will be exhibited in both of Larkin Arts' galleries.  Enjoy music and cider by Old Hill.  One gallery will be devoted to Barns of Shenandoah: Returning to Nature series, and one gallery will be devoted to a selection of landscapes from 2017.  Below is an example of a painting from the Barns of Shenandoah: Returning to Nature series, and a 2017 landscape painting in the show:

   Returning to Nature    ,   Acrylic on Canvas, 24" X 24"

Returning to NatureAcrylic on Canvas, 24" X 24"

   Cloud Seven  , Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas, 34" X 40"

Cloud Seven, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas, 34" X 40"

 

"Sally Veach at Muse Vineyards"

July 6-29, 2018

16 Serendipity Lane, Woodstock, VA  22664

Opening Reception Sunday, July 8, 3-5 PM

 

Come enjoy original art, Muse Vineyards' award-winning wines, and spectacular scenery! Exhibited at Muse will be paintings from the original Barns of Shenandoah series plus two paintings from the new Barns of Shenandoah: Resurrection series.  Below is an example of paintings from the two series:

   The Gathering Storm  , Oil on Canvas, 36" X 48"

The Gathering Storm, Oil on Canvas, 36" X 48"

    Resurrection 2  , Oil on Canvas, 36" X 36"


Resurrection 2, Oil on Canvas, 36" X 36"

It's been a very busy year, with so many developments and lots of painting!  Since January I've created 26 paintings and sold 17!  I've had five solo shows!  I was able to donate over $1600 to help save Shenandoah County's barns, and am working with the Shenandoah County Historical Society to develop a robust barn preservation program!  I am having conversations with galleries and a museum, too!

There is even more exciting news on the horizon so STAY TUNED!  And above all, please accept my sincere gratitude for supporting me throughout this journey that started back in 2012, with a silly blog about getting back to an artistic life.  Art is central to my core now.  It seems The Art Life (Such As It Is)--now defunct blog--should be changed to simply The Art Life, because I'm living it!  :-)

Looking forward to many more years of ART.  And hope to see you in July!

With Gratitude,

Sally

Barns of Shenandoah Project and Preservation Efforts a Success!

 We made the list of the eleven most endangered places in Virginia!

We made the list of the eleven most endangered places in Virginia!

Preservation VA Brochure.jpg

Hello All!

It's time for an update on what is going on with my Barns of Shenandoah project and work with the Shenandoah County Historical Society.  First off, there have been sales from two shows and direct from my studio, which made it possible to present two checks to the Shenandoah County Historical Society's Barn Program for a total of $1,657.10!  So far, eleven paintings have sold, and the amount donated represents 20% of my proceeds.  So a big thank you to all who have supported me and this effort to raise awareness and funds to support the barns of Shenandoah County!

The other excellent news is we got the nomination for one of Virginia's Most Endangered Places from Preservation Virginia, the oldest statewide preservation organization in the country! It was hard to keep this news a secret for a couple weeks. Finally, on Tuesday, May 8, the exciting day came, and representatives from Preservation Virginia traveled here to make one of two on-site announcements of the list of ten nominated places.  We are so grateful to this venerable organization from shining a light on our historic barns!  This event should be a great shove to get the boulder rolling towards eventual fundraising and hopefully real assistance for barn owners.  

It has been gratifying to possibly make a lasting difference in the future, cultural landscape of our valley home.  The Shenandoah Valley is so unique in regards to barn architecture and number of surviving, historic barns.  We estimate there may be over 1000 traditional barns still standing, dating from the late 1700's up to the 1950's.  Many, many barns date to right after the Civil War, making them around 150 years old.  And we are finding more and more log barns in out of the way places, and also covered by siding, than we thought existed.  Chances are good that a log barn will be at least 200 years old, and a handful are considered or documented as from pre-revolutionary war years!

I am asking folks to consider this question:  Is the continued existence of old barns in Shenandoah County is important to you?  The barns of Shenandoah County are a symbol of our cultural heritage:  hard work, independence, and enterprise.  They contribute to the unique, visual identity of our rural landscape, an intangible yet powerful testimony to the families that lived and died while establishing Shenandoah County.  They also speak to "from whence we came", through the unique Swiss and Germanic architecture that exists only here and areas in Pennsylvania where the early settlers first lived. 

We are losing barns constantly; they are slowly returning to nature.  Do we want this to happen?  If not, the problem needs to be addressed.  Please think about contributing to the Shenandoah County Historical Society's Barn Fund. We are looking for small, regular donations, legacy giving, and corporate philanthropy.  If everyone in Shenandoah County gave just $3 per year, that would mean one barn could be completely restored every year! (About $130,000. Of course, many barns would require much less than that to be stabilized for the next 75 years or so.) 

We are also looking for grant opportunities and qualified craftspeople to work on barns. And John Adamson of the Historical Society is currently working on a large scale survey.  His goal is to eventually document ALL of the barns in Shenandoah County.

Above all, please spread the word!  Let's decide what we want to do about our barns.

  • Please visit the Shenandoah County Historical Society's website and click on the barns brochure link (on the right hand side) for more information about the Barn Program. 
  • To make a donation, mail a check to Shenandoah County Historical Society, PO Box 506, Woodstock, VA  22664, and write "Barn Program" in the memo. 
  • To have your barn surveyed, please email John Adamson at adamsons@shentel.net or call 540-975-2240.
  • Please view my latest Barns of Shenandoah paintings below and photos from the announcement.

With Gratitude,

Sally

Returning to Nature 2 by Sally Veach, Oil on Canvas, 36" X 36"

 

20% of Proceeds Goes to Support Shenandoah County Barns!

The Shenandoah County Historical Society is a 501c3 Organization.

Donate to the Shenandoah County Historical Society

Resurrection 2 by Sally Veach, Oil on Canvas, 36" X 36"

Spring Rising by Sally Veach, Oil on Canvas, 36" X 36"

 I was asked to bring a painting to the announcement ceremony. This is   Returning to Nature 2.

I was asked to bring a painting to the announcement ceremony. This is Returning to Nature 2.

 Barbara Adamson, left and John Adamson, right, Introduce Justin Sarafin of Preservation Virginia at the VIrginia's Most Endangered Announcement in front of the barn at Woodstock's Fairview Park.  The town of Woodstock is considering converting the barn into an event space.  If you would like to see this happen, contact the  Woodstock Town Office . 

Barbara Adamson, left and John Adamson, right, Introduce Justin Sarafin of Preservation Virginia at the VIrginia's Most Endangered Announcement in front of the barn at Woodstock's Fairview Park.  The town of Woodstock is considering converting the barn into an event space.  If you would like to see this happen, contact the Woodstock Town Office

 Getting ready to present my check!

Getting ready to present my check!

 We had a pretty good crowd.

We had a pretty good crowd.

 John Adamson of the Shenandoah County Historical Society being interviewed by WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg, VA.  This is the barn at Fairview Park in Woodstock.

John Adamson of the Shenandoah County Historical Society being interviewed by WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg, VA.  This is the barn at Fairview Park in Woodstock.

 

"Barns of Shenandoah" Exhibition Opens Feburary 3!

 
  Obliteration  by Sally Veach

Obliteration by Sally Veach

Hello all!  

I'm so excited to finally finish up all my barn paintings and prepare them for display at the Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, MD!  The show runs from February 3-25, 2018, and the opening reception will be Saturday, February 3, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.  I will be giving an artist's talk during the reception when we'll discuss my paintings, their meanings, processes, and inspirations.  There will also be another artist showing work in an adjacent gallery, and visitors will be able to enjoy both openings and artist talks.

We'll also present the Shenandoah County Historical Society's newly-formed Shenandoah County Barn Programand talk about their goals and my vision for establishing a fund to support it. It is my greatest desire for the fund to one day be substantial enough to grant financial assistance to barn owners for maintenance and preservation of these beautiful but obsolete structures. I am trying everything I know how to make that a reality for us, the future residents of Shenandoah County, and those who find solace and rejuvenation by visiting!  While it is uncertain at this beginning stage, how extensive fundraising will be, at the very least any donations received will be used towards the Historical Society's barn preservation program.  So much depends on whether the public gets excited about the prospect of saving barns and wants to help!

To kick off this effort I will donate 20% of proceeds from all Barns of Shenandoah paintings to the Shenandoah County Historical Society's barn program, led by Shenandoah County Historical Society board member, John Adamson.  For questions regarding the program, please contact either me at sally@sallyveach.com or John at adamsons@shentel.net. 

I would love to see you at this celebration of my finished body of work, the kick start to creating awareness of our barns' peril, and the possibility of doing something about it!  Frederick is also a great town with many creative restaurants, shops, and located in a beautiful part of the country. 

Hope to see you there!

With Gratitude,

Sally XOXO

PS. Oh, I also have published a catalog of the Barns paintings.  If you would like to purchase one you can do so here!

 

Shenandoah County Historic Barns Project

 One of the few remaining pre-civil war barns in Shenandoah County, VA.

One of the few remaining pre-civil war barns in Shenandoah County, VA.

With great excitement, I am announcing an ambitious project to raise awareness of the historic barns in our county, and perhaps raise funds to contribute to their preservation!

During my artistic journey, I have constantly been awed by the beautiful nature of Shenandoah County.  But recently it became evident that there was something man-made to be inspired by:  our historic and charming barns! 

Residents of a rural community often become desensitized to the unique, historical treasure that is right beneath our noses.  I know I was.  But recently, a fleeting interest led to an obsession, and I am now on a path to help save these barns.  I hope you will join me!

Along with friend and photographer, He-Kyung Park Barr, we are working to identify ten Shenandoah County barns of historical importance and visual charm. Then I will produce a large interpretative painting of each one, and He-Kyung hopes to create photographs of the barn's unique characteristics.  The next step is to have a major exhibition somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley.  

Along with this exhibition, I want to create an online campaign to provide funds for the preservation of historic and at-risk barns.  A portion of the sales from my paintings will be contributed to the fund. And we will ask for ongoing donations to perpetually fund the project. If this project is successful, owners of qualifying barns will be able to apply for grants to help preserve them for themselves, their community, and posterity! 

In my conversations with barn owners, I have heard more than once that many are just trying to find a way to keep their barns from falling down. Maintaining an historic barn is a daunting responsibility.  And It is an expensive task.  Most of the time, owners know the historical importance of their barns, but so often it is not practical to keep them maintained, and the decision has to be made whether to tear them down or not.

We hope we can help people NOT tear them down!  If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming involved with this project, please contact me at sally@sallyveach.com.  

This is just the beginning.  A spark creates an idea, and with added fuel, much can be accomplished!

Sometimes I go too far (or do I?)

The conundrum of discernment

 "Out of control" stage of  Ediburg Gap

"Out of control" stage of Ediburg Gap

With each painting, there are many stages.  It's a necessary consequence of an intuitive painting method. Often I don't like what happens during the process, but I don't know how (or don't want to) paint any other way for now. Having a road map is just too contrived, and where it may produce prettier paintings, mere pretty paintings is not what I want to accomplish!

Above is an "out of control" stage of my painting "Edinburg Gap".  Funny thing is, I really liked it when it happened! Enough to take a picture, crop it, and download it to my computer. But a version of a painting is an endangered species, at very high risk of becoming extinct.  And this version no longer exists.

What I wonder is, did I go too far or should I have had confidence that this wild version of "Edinburg Gap" was the one to savor and present to the world? The aim in my current work is to continually refine and define what I want to say as an artist: My particular expression. 

This is the duty of the artist.

Below are all of the stages that "Edinburg Gap" went through. It began auspiciously, got a little muddled, became clear, went crazy, and then was reined in. The reined in version is beautiful to me, but yes, it's safe. Safe is OK, but what about crazy?

 

 Stage One: Auspicious

Stage One: Auspicious

 Stage Two:  Muddled

Stage Two:  Muddled

 Stage Three: Out of Control

Stage Three: Out of Control

 Stage Four: Reined In and final version of "Edinburg Gap".

Stage Four: Reined In and final version of "Edinburg Gap".