As we slide into the final two months of our renovations and have to pay for moving expenses, floor coverings (probably sea grass in most places), and transition from construction to permanent financing, the last thing we needed was another expense. And I haven’t even mentioned the deferred maintenance on the car finally, and unavoidably, caught up with us. So what do we do? We buy a painting.

When I met John he was a huge fan of the abstract expressionist artist Jon Schueler (1916-1992), a member or the New York School of painters who swirled with the likes of Rothko. Through his cousin in New York, John was friends with the artist’s wife Magda (she is too lively to be thought of as a widow). Our first Thanksgiving together was spent in Greenwich Village where I not only met Magda, but got to see three or four really amazing Schuelers that belonged to his cousins. On a subsequent trip to New York, John got a chance to pick out his very own Schueler painting, albeit a small one. About 10″ x 12″. It was painted in 1979 and is called “Galeforce: Waiting”. It’s a subtly beautiful study of the sky and ocean off the coast of Mallaig, Scotland, presumably while there was some weather happening. It has had pride of place in the four different bedrooms we have occupied in the past decade. In all cases it has been interesting to see the various moods it takes on in the changing, indirect light, that filters into our mostly north-facing rooms. No doubt, almost like the changing moods of the skies over Mallaig.

When we moved into our house in 2010, we realized that our small, art collection was really a small-art collection. With one exception, we really didn’t have anything of a big enough size to hold it’s own on even a modestly, big wall. Most of what we had was picked up here there, often while traveling, and, while enjoyable, didn’t really give us much to work with. We needed something bigger.

Then, a few weeks ago, John came across a Schueler up for auction and we decided it was too good to pass up. It was from the late 70s/early 80s which is the period of Schueler’s work John likes most. At 24″ x 36″ it was a size that could comfortably fill a real wall, and it was buried in an auction catalog with a bunch of frou-frou antiques and fussy figurative painting so we thought we could actually have a chance of winning it. Which we did. Similar to our existing Schueler, it is called “Waiting” and it is beautiful. The title seems particularly apt given that we have been waiting so long to start and now complete our house project, not to mention that we will still need to do a bit more waiting before we can go back to New York to pick out another one.

Our mish-mash of enjoyable, but small art.
A few earlier, bolder Schuelers.
A Yellow Sun (1958)
National Galleries of Scotland
Snow Cloud Over the Sound of Sleat, New York 1959

(Cross posted at Lucy’s Forever Home)

4 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. relishreads.com November 1, 2014 / 8:24 am

    How lovely. I loved the mood of the painting even before you said it was the Mallaig sky and now I love it even more :) I have so many friends who don't have prints and paintings in their homes and I always think it's bonkers. You can always do it on the cheap. My home could never be its own without my pictures. I spent some money on this a couple of years ago: http://www.renanozturk.com/#a=0&at=0&mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=1&p=1. A depiction of a mountain range in Pakistan for my other half, who;s a climber. It adorns one wall of our living room and I've never regretted saving up for it :)


  2. Audrey November 2, 2014 / 9:25 am

    It's beautiful (and so is your house…I've been enjoying your posts on the renovation!) My small art collection is even smaller (one real painting!)


  3. Sarah Faragher November 7, 2014 / 2:06 pm

    I hadn't heard of him or his work until I came across “The Sound of Sleat: A Painter's Life” a few years ago. I love reading memoirs, diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts written by painters and so I took a chance on this book. And loved it (I mean, certain parts are tough to take, but he was fully committed to painting). Love your 'Waiting' painting, too. So evocative. And thanks for showing the back – always interesting to see what's behind the scenes, as it were.


  4. columnist December 5, 2014 / 3:32 am

    I had not heard of him, I regret to say, but I do like the work you show, including the aptly named “Waiting”, which ironically has ephemeral qualities. Good luck with the moving in.


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