Pandemic inspires Cheuvront for ‘The Great American Paint In’

Posted 7/9/20

Scottsdale artist Casey Cheuvront, who describes herself as “too young for Medicare and too old for carpools,” joins five other Arizona artists for The Great American Paint In.

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Pandemic inspires Cheuvront for ‘The Great American Paint In’

Posted

Scottsdale artist Casey Cheuvront, who describes herself as “too young for Medicare and too old for carpools,” joins five other Arizona artists for The Great American Paint In.

She is among artists worldwide to showcase artwork depicting the global pandemic at The Great American Paint In, which documents “works of hope America’s greatest artists have produced during their COVID-19 isolation and as the country begins to reopen,” according to a press release on the growing juried collection available for viewing at thegreatpaint-in.com.

The Great American Paint In captures the “unique moment in history” through art pieces made of any form, medium or size to convey the emotions and viewpoints of artists worldwide. Collectors can purchase works from the website. Art work and related stories are being accepted for the project.

Artists can fill out a form at thegreatpaint-in.com/submissions, the release said, adding that a panel of judges will review each application and the organizers will collect the works in a tabletop art history book upon the completion of the project.

“Huge supporters of the arts,” The Great American Paint In is the project of Bill and Mary Weinaug, art collectors and owners of Gallery CERO, which is an art gallery under development at their riverside property north of Orlando, Florida, the release said.

“Seeing the pieces these artists are producing during this time of isolation is incredible. Each piece we add to the collection is a new facet in the story of this pandemic. That’s what we hope to document,” said Mr. Weinaug in a prepared statement.

“Art has come out of some of the darkest times in human history, acting as a beacon of hope. The 2020 pandemic is no different,” said Ms. Cheuvront, whose life is just as detailed as her artwork.

Her creativity is noted in vivid responses to the Independent as she shared lots of intricate details about herself like how she can marry people, has been suspended in the air at least a couple of thousand feet up; has been more than 100 feet underwater; a skier who was good in the snow but “hilariously bad” in water; and a mountain biker; had food stolen by bears from a Forest Service cable in the backwoods of Yosemite.

“I’ll be teaching, Lord willing, in Yosemite next September at the Art and Nature Center. Maybe a small show. My fondest dream is to spend more time in the Sierras again, and in Sedona. Please, Lord, let those days come soon,” added Ms. Cheuvront, painting a vivid picture of herself below.

What I do for a profession: I paint and teach. I used to make functional pottery, but the juice was no longer worth the squeeze. In the age of easy acquisition, people have a hard time understanding why they should pay $25 for a hand-made mug when they can get one at Target for $3.

Age: Sneaking up on my Golden Years, which I think should be called the creaky years or maybe the cranky years, at 63.

Where I live: In the gorgeous - if fire-prone - foothills of the Rio Verde, at the end of a dirt road. We bring our water in by truck and are surrounded by horse farms and big acre+ lots. And some really killer views.

Where are you originally from if not an Arizona native? Cleveland - the humid, green mid-West. However, I spent my youth in California when it really was “the” place to be for outdoor enthusiasts.

When and why I moved here: I stumbled upon Arizona when I drove down from Salt Lake City to attend a west coast swing dance convention. I remember passing my first stand of Saguaros and feeling - no other way to say it, corny as it is - as if I had come home. Something in the surreal landscape just spoke to me. Later, I met a dancer who wanted to relocate to Tucson, and the game was afoot. Have been here ever since; the only other place I can imagine living is California. But it’s so crowded now. Not at all the California of my youth.

What I like most about living here: Wide open spaces, monsoons, horses next door, saguaros, endless skies, sunshine, the wide variety of biomes to paint (desert to pines), Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff, and they have some pretty good margaritas ...

Activities/clubs/organizations involved in: Juried member of Oil Painters of America, and of the Sedona Arts Center, the Sonoran Art League, Arizona Plein Air Painters...Those really interested might take a peep at my website under “About” - I am sure the entire readership doesn’t want to see the whole weary list here!

Favorite charity/volunteer activity and why it deserves support from others? I love Sedona, hope to retire there, or near there, and support the Sedona Arts Center, a 501(c)3. The staff there are simply beyond price, the work showcased is stellar, they give back to the community in huge, healthy doses, providing a place for residents and visitors to learn to love and become more proficient in the arts. They provide many workshops, host plein air events, support causes near and dear to my heart. I will be in this year’s Plein Air Festival, in honor of the Year of the Woman.

There is such an atmosphere of kindness and caring, and such an...I don’t know, a sense of deeply embedded respect of and love for the arts in that Center. It’s a community treasure, and visitors from all over the world get to benefit from it. Because of its location, there are many, many paintings and items extolling Arizona’s natural beauty. I like to think people who purchase or visit there go home with an enhanced respect and love for the environment here - which is what my work is all about.

My No. 1 suggestion to new residents looking to get involved in their community: Well, truly, it depends on what you want to do. There are endless opportunities to help and contribute - having worked at and with 501(c)3s over the years, I can tell you there are never enough volunteers, no matter where you go.

What one thing would you like to see changed in Scottsdale? Expansion. I would like to see more conservation - we have so few green places near town. Wouldn’t it be nice to have small parks, or community gardens, even, scattered here and there?

My family makeup: My darling husband, John; his three gorgeous kids; our almost-2 grandson; and our soon-to-be-here granddaughter.

People who inspire me: My husband for his incredibly astute ability for reinvention, his intelligence, his killer humor, his ethics, his kindness (no pressure, honey...) Artistically? Matt Smith, Bill Cramer, and Gretchen Lopez are local rockstars who I have worked with or admired.

Dave Santillanes. Alan Wolton (I am privileged to own one of his works) and Ken Willingham of Horseshoe Pottery in June Lake. Classics --- all the masters of course --- Wyeth. Sorolla. Sargent. Pretty much all the Impressionists. Parrish for those skies. And currently, I find I am deeply impressed by a young woman I recently learned to call friend, Kirby Plessas, not for her artistic ability (though she has that), but for her willingness to reach out and create a sense of community through her tech talent.

My advice to today’s youth: Find what you are good at as early as you possibly can. Get as much training in that area as early as you possibly can from the best people you can. This does not mean you have to go to college (especially if you are interested in the arts). Get a “duh” job for now and pay your dues. Be prepared to pay your dues.

Not all of you are prodigies, no matter what your mom says. But if you have a predilection and the will to work, best to use it sooner rather than later. If you can’t find an immediate connection (say to being a world-class portrait painter or manga artist) find a connection some other way - paint community murals, or children’s hospital walls, or find some other way to exercise the creative side of your brain.

Finally, it’s not all about you. Find a way to support your causes, your tribe, your message. Even if it’s just painting pretty pictures of rocks and trees and clouds. As someone recently said about me, all art doesn’t have to be disturbing. It can be uplifting, and useful. It can point the way not only to what we get wrong, but what we got right, and more, what we should aspire to. And while you’re at it, try not to spread things - hate, negativity, fear, viruses... you know. Stuff you wouldn’t want yourself. Think of the old Golden Rule. Be kind.

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