I’m Lizzy Schule and I mainly paint portraiture, still lifes, and landscapes. I was honored to be invited to join this group of talented island artists. I’m excited that our collective efforts brought about this show, “Art of the Seasons.” Instead of writing an artist’s statement, I wanted to reflect on how I came to know the other women in the group: Katy Upson, Ruth Kirchmeier, Dale Julier, Wenonah Madison, Judi Schubert, and Liz Taft.
I’ve known Dale Julier since I was in the third grade. Dale is the mother of one of my closest childhood friends, Insley. Dale took the time to set up art projects for Insley and me and fostered an overall love of art making. I first met Liz Taft and Diana Rice around five years ago when I moved back to the Vineyard. On a whim, I decided to drop in on a figure drawing class at Featherstone Center for the Arts and it just so happened that Liz and Diana were in attendance. This chance encounter introduced me to Featherstone and initiated a series of introductions, connections, and reunions with all of the group members.
Eventually, Liz, Diana, and I wound up co-facilitating (with the help of others) a weekly figure drawing group. Around the same time, I applied to teach drawing and painting classes at Featherstone. Liz Taft had been teaching classes there for a while and had an established following. She’s always helped me as a fellow teacher and a painter. Liz gives the kind of straightforward, common-sense advice that quiets the mind of a chronic overthinker. Liz and I frequently sat in on each other’s winter classes. Diana attended both of our classes. I gravitated toward Diana because she had a “good eye,” the ability to concretely articulate complex concepts, and a very unconventional sense of humor.
Around the same time, I met Katy Upson and became reacquainted with Dale and Wenonah Madison. The type of community and camaraderie I found in teaching and attending classes with this group of artists added structure and inspiration to the long stretch of winter months on the island. I was so relieved to be a part of something and to be around creative thinkers who were helping one another, swapping pointers, exchanging art books, sharing art supplies, and lending a critical eye and encouragement when needed.
I first met Judi Schubert at Featherstone when a mutual friend, an organizer for Vineyard Independence Partnership, asked the two of us to co-teach an art class for the VIP members. I undoubtedly owe Featherstone Center for the Arts a huge debt of gratitude for introducing me to so many members of this group.
Lastly, I hadn’t met Ruth Kirchmeier prior to joining this group, however I’d been admiring her work long before we met. I can recall the first time I saw Ruth’s work about four years ago. A new acquaintance had invited me over and as she was showing me her impressive collection of art, I paused to study a woodcut. I lingered for some time before she remarked, “That’s Ruth Kirchmeier. She lives on the Vineyard. Do you know her?” “ I don’t,” I replied, “She’s good.” And so the circle is now complete. The seasons cycle round again, and it seems as if certain people reappear in our lives for good reason. Here we are—eight women who have come together through art.
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