River Valley Co-op (330 N King Street , Northampton, MA 01060, Northampton MA)
A Western Massachusetts resident as well as Smith College and UMass alum, Newland's works draw upon rural habitats and Buddhist philosophy. Her artistic style is inspired by the paintings of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Jean-Édouard Vuillard among others. In this series, she takes a fresh look at images and ideas that have occupied her painting practice for nearly fifty years with delightful results!
Some months ago, before I began this series of paintings, I decided to take a serious look at some of the work I'd made over the last fifty years. I have photographs of most of my work, but for this exercise I sorted through paintings and drawings that had managed to survive my many moves from Massachusetts to New York and New Jersey, to Texas and back again. Why had I saved these paintings in particular? What might I be able to figure out by taking a fresh look?
I noticed repeating patterns and threads influenced by favorite painters such as Vuillard and Guston. I noticed some dead ends and unfinished business. Sky, trees, and animals dominated, with more sky in some periods (Texas) and more trees in others (Massachusetts). In many landscapes cultural influences seeped through the trees. In others, personal upheavals tinted the sky. Most of all, though, I was intrigued to remember how easily several drawings and paintings had come into existence and how hard I'd struggled with others. What was that all about?
Many artists talk about emotional roadblocks, negative voices, or self doubt—obstacles that get in the way of their work—and it's been a comfort to know I'm not alone. Lately, I'd even imagined my own particular negative voices probably meant well—trying to keep me on the straight and narrow, safely following their guidelines. But I wondered what might happen if I just asked them to leave.
Surprisingly, they shuffled off without protest. At first, having become accustomed to all that din, the quiet was unsettling.The blank canvasses stared at me. But then the paint started to flow and images that I remembered from past projects showed up again to get reinvented. Unfettered, I had a wonderful time.