by Mimi Clark
It was a no brainer for Phyllis Chase the first time she ventured eight miles up the County Road to Adamant whether or not she would stay. As a painter of beauty and light, she found her home of over 35 years now and has been painting her surroundings ever since.
As the Adamant Music School’s featured artist this season, she will display her work in Waterside Hall alongside the music, giving additional meaning to both. The exhibition is open to the public in conjunction with the School’s Summer Concert Series, during master classes, and mornings when students practice.
An outdoor “plein air,” painter, she prefers the full spectrum of non-stop changing light to the fixed artificial set up of a studio and photographic dependency. Ironically, her interiors are what have made her name. The same sense of light and space of the great outdoors Chase reinterprets for the indoors. Her love of interior spaces is evident in that many are designed to lack a human subject, the empty love seat in the library, empty chairs with a glass of wine, softly inviting one to escape the craziness of the world and to enter her color-imbued spaces.
“You can’t depend on materialism to nurture your soul,” Chase exclaims as two small unidentifiable snakes slithered through her garage across where her feet had just been. “I’m so thrilled to be a painter in this lifetime because it’s a privilege; there are so many things to see; I love the close observation.” For Chase, it’s the thrill of observation and focus, the color and light, the “rods and cones” in our eyes that give her spiritual joy and a sense of privilege.
Chase works with oils on panels. She premixes her paints and places them in the freezer initially to help them set. The plein air and the mixing are the main ingredients for her to allow serendipity to happen, a focus and formula that opens up the way for magic to happen too.
“Trying to crack the code, as a painter,” she explains, “you have to realize you can’t get everything in one image. On site, I can watch the light of day pass for six or seven hours and some magic happens. The subtleties of changing natural light and color are their own reward. A camera can only catch one moment.”
Naturally, she hopes some visitors will be inspired to bring one of her paintings home. “No purchase is so rewarding over time. If you love it initially, over time that enjoyment will only increase.”
Phyllis Chase’s paintings will be on display July 1st through August 22 at the Adamant Music School.