Hush of Sunset

“Hush of Sunset” by Casey Chalem Anderson 36 x 48 inches oil/canvas

The question lingers in the air: Must art jostle us to resonate deeply?  I’ve thought about this since I was a student in the Art Practice program at the University of California, Berkeley. The university professors prodded students to dive into the underbelly of life. But for me, the spark to create art begins with the sensation of being uplifted by beauty. My paintings are a deliberate pause, a space carved out for the mind to wander and for priorities to align. The paintings hold space for personal contemplation.

My canvases offer a sanctuary in a world bristling with the barbs of daily anxieties, where the relentless barrage of the news can leave us feeling battered. Each painting serves as a counterbalance, a place to recenter yourself. Studies now prove that bringing the elements of Nature into your home can actually lower your cortisol levels and reduce your tension. If my paintings can have that effect, I’ve done my job.

My most recent piece is part of the “36 Views of Towd Point” project. It’s a visual respite at 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, large enough to fill your peripheral vision and dominate your attention. It is an invitation into the stillness. Here, the interplay of shadow and light is a metaphor for how we look at life. The deep burgundy of the distant hills and man-made architecture and the green grasses laced with violet aren’t just darks; they’re the backdrop that makes the light meaningful.

Of course, you can’t completely put your head in the sand and ignore challenges. The difficulties we see in our world and the blackish darks in my paintings speak to the essence of our lives. There is value in the unexpected detours and the direction gleaned from the play of dark against light. This is how we navigate the uncharted waters of our existence, not recoiling from discomfort but leaning into it and recognizing the beauty in it.

We are all different at the beach; it changes us in the best ways. Beauty can stir the soul as surely as the most challenging conceptual artwork and light up your spirit, too.

Until next time,



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