Statement

My paintings are intuitive responses to the myriad forces that shape my life—emotions that translate into color, visual memories of forms and color relationships found in the landscape, and personal stories from my past. I have painted consistently since childhood, starting with oils, and am currently painting with acrylics as well, which enables me to create multiple layers rapidly without muddying my palette. The work process is one of constant experiment and change— building layers of color, form and image on the canvas revealing the underlying pentimento. My paintings are not planned, they are discovered, an evolution that is exciting and invigorating.

 

 

In high school we went on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I was completely taken with Manet’s subtle palette, the technique of the impressionists, and the line work of Picasso. I also remember being in awe of a painting of a cheetah recalling the detail of fur and my teacher remarking that it was technically masterfull and given time most painters could accomplish that. Then he took me to a VanGogh and said “now this is emotion in paint. This is genius!” I didn’t get it that day but would understand it so well later on.

I moved to Manhattan and a friend and teacher at Copper Union suggested that I take class with a painter who went to Yale and was teaching at Hunter College. My teacher (wish I could remember his name) would tell me to go to various galleries and exhibitions and copy different artists, an exercise I found immensely exciting. He asked why I chose art and I said that I thought it chose me, that it had always been there. I then went on to study at the Art Students League and years later Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

It wasn’t a straight path. Very few artists can support themselves on their art alone. I had many jobs and a few business- some successful. I would continue to paint part time in my living room. In 1974 a Parisian gallery owner saw some of my gouche and pen paintings and offered me a show in Paris. I was terrified and ran away thinking “ I can’t do this, I’m not ready, I don’t have enough work! I eventually would leave all my businesses behind- they were money generating activities, nothing more- not my passion.

In 1981 I marry and in 1985 moved to Tewksbury New Jersey with my husband and two very young sons and painted as much as a mother of two could. I was painting urban scenes and roof tops and was told if I wanted to sell my work in the country that I needed to PAINT THE COUNTRY. And so began my landscape and farm animal period. In 1992 I received a national ward from The Artists Magazine for a painting of a white hen. I was commissioned to do several portraits of children of prominent local families but never cared for the pressure of capturing the likeness’ of loved ones- animal or human.

In 1988 I was given a show at the Riverside Gallery that would sell out. I entered local competitions and won lots of ribbons. I started teaching an after school program at my sons middle school and taught adults at a studio not far from home. Then around 1994 I began exploring abstraction. None of my clients understood or liked the new direction. I was represented by the Spanierman Gallery in NYC at the time and Ira (founder and director didn’t much care for them either.

For any artist the ultimate challenge is expressing what is inside. With just feelings, memories, emotions and no material reference to copy or be inspired by the blank white canvas becomes an INFINITE abyss of possibility. VERY VERY SCARY AND EXCITING. I jumped off the cliff and haven’t hit the ground yet.

Maureen Chatfield

 

Art Students League, NY

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

Fashion Institute of Technology, NY

Hunter College, NY

Studied with Jean Buckly, Ron Lent, Robert Saxton, Stuart Shils.