fine and functional art
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                                                 Deirdre Schanen
St. Charles, IL
Deirdre Schanen grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in the small town of Port
Washington, Wisconsin.
The midwestern and lakeside surroundings of her early years influence most of her

Ms. Schanen moved to New Jersey in 1979 and lived there for 23 years. She received her
Masters of Art
during this period. Deirdre has also studied with Ronnie Landfield at the Art Student's
League of New York.

Deirdre states,  “Although art has always been an important part of my life, it was not until I
was older
that I was able to address my passion for it. I began painting seriously and attended school,
ultimately receiving my Masters of Art degree.

“In the summer I spend many of my early morning hours sitting quietly, gazing at Lake
I try to burn its mercurial beauty into me.  My paintings are about the color, the silence and
the space
I have felt at these dawns. They reflect my childhood on the shores of Lake Michigan while
exploring the tension of the lake’s serene vastness with the complex confusion of rocks and
detritus washed up upon its shores.

“My canvases are not planned but develop while I work on them. I never know how or where
they will end
but know that, ultimately, they will contain my experiences. I begin with pencil or ink markings
paint drips. I continue to add layer after layer of glaze, paint and markings. The
underpainting is as
important to me as the final layer of paint. I perform a dance with my canvas through these
spontaneous interactions. I never know where it will lead me or when my dance will be
Artists’ Colony Alumni Exhibit in San José

By Katherine Roff
Special to The Tico Times |

                                                                “Poetries of the poor” by Diedre Schanen.
                                                                 Courtesy of Deirdre Schanen

Understanding the world that surrounds us, and our place in it, is a difficult task. Articulating and recreating the emotions
attached to this effort is truly a daunting challenge. Yet this is exactly what three former participants of the Julia and David
White Artists' Colony in Ciudad Colón, southwest of San José, have each independently achieved. Presenting their
impressions of the world around us and human interaction with our surrounding environment, Kathi Packer, André Paradis
and Deirdre Schanen are displaying their work in a collective exhibit entitled “Costa Rica Inspirations” at San José's National
Gallery through the end of the month.

National Gallery Director Dunia Molina told The Tico Times she is thrilled to be able to present the three artists' work.

“Most artists from the colony are operating at a very high level of art,” she said.

U.S. artist Deirdre Schanen's abstract paintings portray her own experiences in Costa Rica in an exquisite collaboration of
colors and reflections.

“Last year, while living at the colony in Ciudad Colón, I took long walks through the countryside,” she recalled. “On those
daily walks I filled my heart and sketchbook with images of the local people and towns. I painted these memories of Costa
Rica onto canvas panels after I returned to my home studio in Illinois.”

“ Costa Rica captured my heart the very first day; it's all about the light, the intense colors and that wonderful breeze,”
Schanen added. “I spent my days watching the sunrise and the birds from a small hilltop at the colony … walking the
beautiful, dusty roads and visiting Ciudad Colón and surrounding towns. I just sat and drew the people and the environment.”

Schanen's work comes from her immediate emotions, literally developing in spontaneous expressions. She never plans her
work, instead allowing each brushstroke to “dictate the next.”

“I did not know how my experiences (in Costa Rica ) would be expressed in my finished paintings, because my paintings are
not planned but developed while I work on them,” she confessed.

The result is brilliant surges of color and emotion.

“I like to have a conversation with the canvas,” Schanen explained. “Some of my work will have up to 15 layers of paint. I just
keep building, aware of the colors that come through.”

Schanen, 62, grew up on Lake Michigan in the United States, and the lake's distortion of images is reflected in much of her
early work. She continued that transformation of shapes and colors in her work from Costa Rica.

The National Gallery is housed within the Children's Museum in downtown San José, at the north end of Calle 4. Hours are
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Click on images to enlarge
A Slip of a Thing
One Mitred
Some More
Untitled Nether
Sucker Brook 1
Sucker Brook 12
Certain Readings
Beneath the
Just Once
Fragments 5
Humming While One Sleeps
Fragments 9
A Scrawny Cry
Everyone Has Gone
One Syllable

Excerpt from a recent article in the Tico Times, Costa Rica
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