We had the good fortune of connecting with Casey Cheuvront and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casey, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have wanted to do what I am doing for most of my life. I have always found a way to bring something creative into daily living; art, dance, music, cooking, crafts; but always subject to (sometimes grueling) full time work schedules. I am fortunate to now have the time and financial support to have transitioned into full time painting and teaching.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I paint in an impressionist manner, usually alla prima, often en plein air. I work mostly in oils, creating paintings of landscapes and wildlife of the Southwest and a few still lifes here and there. I have a portfolio of linework and intuitive abstracts as well (for those days when color and line is all I want to talk about) but landscape and wildlife painting in oils is where I spend most of my time. I reach for relationships – I want to build a sense of place, of feeling about the place, without getting too technically precise and while maintaining a painterly quality. Lately I have been enamored with color relationships, how changing color in a painting changes the emotive response. I like to paint “portraits” of the landscape – a single tree, or grouping of trees, a few rocks, a section of trail – not just vistas; I like the sense of immediacy and immersion it brings. I want my viewers/collectors to feel like they have a connection with that one small part of the world through my work. I want them to feel like they know it, and have been there, or could be there, mentally, emotionally, through the painting. I believe my work over the last 8 years or so is starting to pay dividends in personal and professional growth. I have been seriously engaged in online study, taking workshops, teaching and participating in live and online critique groups. Lately I have been fortunate to show in some new venues (Prescott and Sedona Plein Air invitationals, the Mountain Oyster Club Show), which have been challenging and rewarding. This has been a difficult year for many in the art world, and I feel fortunate to be selling and showing at all, let alone in these prestigious events and beautiful locations. Many art venues have moved online which provides its own set of challenges – from participation as a contributing artist to marketing one’s own work. I give all credit to the galleries and venues who are working so hard to continue to promote the arts. Bravo to all those hardy souls, and thank you. For those perhaps not quite as far along the art learning/personal development path, I can only share what has worked/is working for me; stay engaged, try new things, approach with an open mind. Lose your ego as soon as you can – it will make you more open to critiques and help you learn to be better at whatever form of art engages you – but find a balance between that and having your own voice. DO break the rules; but learn them first; then you can break them with all the confidence of a 4-year old in a Batman cape. Find artists whose work inspires you and follow them. I think it seeps in somehow. Read art history. Paint in different ways. Try different media. Then go back, and try the old ones again with your new learning. Find a local coach, mentor, or group that can support you and answer your questions, and pay for teaching if you can. And no, art is not easy – or, as Degas said, “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” In other words, the more you learn, the less you realize you know. Even Picasso said “All I want to know is this: What is color?” So, to all new painters, welcome to the rabbit hole. Enjoy the fall.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hmmm. Well, is it my also-a-painter best friend or my strictly-outdoorsy best friend or my primarily-a-foodie best friend? I would haul them up to Sedona – even if all 3 came at the same time there would be something for all of them. I’d take the foodie to Creekside or Hudson’s, send the die-hard hiker up Bear Mountain (4-point hiking!) and bring the painter along with me to some of my favorite “fishing holes”; Crescent Moon Ranch, and trailheads/trails with views of Cathedral rock, the Sail and Morning Glory Spire. If they had plenty of time, I would take them to the backcountry in Yosemite. But that’s another story, and may require llamas.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be able to do what I do without the support of my spouse – both financial and emotional. He’s always my biggest fan. But he does not pull punches when the work isn’t up to snuff. I am a member of several fine art organisations that offer ongoing support and tutelage – Oil Painters of America, the Sedona Arts Center, and Arizona Plein Air Painters, among others. I participate in several valuable Facebook groups and also follow many artists whose work I admire on Instagram, which provides a daily dose of virtual museum-worthy work. Instructors at workshops I have attended have been universally generous with their time and talents (Bill Cramer, Dave Santillanes, Casey Klahn, Stan Kurth). Fellow painters at shows and competitions have been universally kind and affiliative. Finally, and certainly not least, the ongoing support of close friends in the arts means the world. This covers everything from materials management to critiques of the work to marketing support. It is SO important to have a tribe you can trust. To meet friends who can offer that sort of disinterested critique and connection is precious. I truly think artists are some of the kindest people.