Wendy Schwartz has lived and worked along the marshes at the southern end of Tomales Bay and Point Reyes Peninsula since 1983. Many of her oil paintings depict remote landscapes, the open road, sometimes include structures or telephone poles, now and then a figure, the occasional ominous sky, and often, the play of light and shadow on whitewashed surfaces.
I am drawn to a spare but emotionally powerful landscape– long fields, shadows, tidelands, the edge of a town, its back alleys, a simple shed or cottage, the not-quite empty room, or places that appear no longer lived in but suggest a past story. The western landscape possesses a certain majestic solitude that I try to capture in my paintings.
My paintings are created both “en plein air” and in the studio, The larger paintings are made in the studio using my own photos. These serve as a departure point for content and composition, by piecing together, rearranging, and sketching as needed. I include only enough detail to strengthen the painting. Once begun, the painting takes on a life of its own. I try to focus on light and form and composition, and welcome whatever lucky surprises might occur. I strive for a sense of authenticity; the painting has to feel true, free of artifice. In referring to a particular painting, people sometimes ask me “where is that?” My answer: the place depicted may really exist, or it may not. What is most interesting to me is the integrity of the painting and the relationship between it and the viewer.
After studying art at Boston University, I came west. But it wasn’t until I settled in a magnificent natural setting that I began to paint in earnest. On most days, from the studio window I can see cows grazing the hills. It may not be today’s subject, but it is a constant sustenance. I am grateful every day for the painting life I am fortunate to experience here on the marshes of Tomales Bay, despite the winter “king” tides that, on occasion, rise into the studio.
In addition to gallery presence, Wendy participates annually in “Ranches and Rolling Hills,” the Marin Agricultural Land Trust’s benefit landscape show and sale; and the Bolinas Museum’s “Miniatures” show. Works are in private and corporate collections in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and the permanent collection of the Bolinas Museum and the Crocker Art Museum.