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Meet Meghan Weeks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meghan Weeks.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t making art. Growing up, I wanted to be a professional animator and created a cast of animal characters that filled dozens of sketchbooks. When I discovered oil painting at age 11, however, I set off on the path that would lead me to where I am now as a landscape artist. I peddled my early work — that’s probably the best verb for it at that point — to a few galleries around that time, with absolutely no concept of fear, which could probably be attributed to the fact that I was very young and equally naive. A gallerist in Nantucket gave me a chance, and I soon joined the Artists Association of Nantucket at age 14.

I entered Yale for college as a prospective Art and Physics double major. The combination of love for both art and science led me to a place somewhere in between the two as an Architecture major. It was involvement with the Yale Center for British Art, however, that made me gravitate towards museum work, and I moved to London to undertake an MA in Curating at the Courtauld Institute of Art. An artist residency later brought me to a tiny village in Scotland, where I had my first full-time stint as a landscape painter between museum jobs.

Since graduate school, I’ve been fortunate to work in a curatorial and outreach capacity for a number of wonderful museums and institutions in the UK and US. The common thread throughout, of course, has been painting, which has filled out the other part of my working life. I paint mostly on-site — or “en plein air” — and bring pieces back to the studio to refine them. Being part of strong artist communities between Nantucket and Boston and participating in several workshops and critiques with artists that I admire reminds me that I am — and will be — always learning in this awesome discipline of painting.

I ultimately want to give back to the source of my inspiration in the landscape and am working on several paintings that will serve as partial or full donations to environmental charities.

Please tell us about your art.
I definitely turned some heads — and not in a receptive way — when I walked into my first class as a prospective art major in undergrad and said that I wanted to be a representational landscape painter.

I paint in oils and on varying scales, starting most of my work on site, or “en plein air.” I love the challenges of working in the landscape (natural, rural, or urban) and get so much more information outside than I ever could from a photographic reference. If I’m able to return to a site session after session with steady light conditions, I will; otherwise, I end up refining a lot of the work in the studio.

“Representational landscape painter” might not sound edgy, but I don’t think that seeking to convey your experience of a place through painting what you see before you lacks concept. I can’t walk down the street and not see something — even something as simplistic as two planes of color intersecting on a shadowed sidewalk — that I want to paint on the spot.

I want to share the experience of a place — really intensive, committed looking and understanding — with people who see my paintings. I love when someone can look at a painting and get an instant read on the temperature or atmosphere or the innate feeling of place in which it was made, even if they haven’t been there. That place doesn’t have to be immediately beautiful; in fact, some of the most interesting spots in which I’ve set up and painted on site are mundane but hold a lot of potential in their natural design and the way that the light plays there.

I think landscape painting can be commemorative and transportive; I want to bring people to a time, to a place, and to a sense of being through paint.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
I am lucky to work in a studio building in SoWA that is full of other artists and have gotten to know some great neighbors there.

That said, making art can be a solitary pursuit. I spend most of my time making art alone. I recently started to link up with other plein air painters, however, and it is actually wonderful to share a location (and all of the questions from passersby) with other artists who have their own interpretation of a place.

I’ve made some wonderful and lasting artist friends through taking workshops, too… It’s a great way to learn from the best and connect with like-minded people, who link up with other artist communities. Speaking of artist communities, I would definitely recommend joining an artists association, which can bring both exhibition opportunities and lasting relationships with others working across media.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work is available at Robert Foster Fine Art (Nantucket) (http://robertfosterfineart.com/), at the Artists Association of Nantucket (https://www.nantucketarts.org/), and at my studio in SoWA (http://www.sowaartists.com/), where we have monthly open studios.

They can see updates on Facebook or Instagram and visit my website.

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