Ed Chesnovitch’s life-changing moment came not with a bang, but with the soft murmur of a heart engulfed in nostalgia and grief. Until a few years ago, Chesnovitch, an East Sandwich painter, was working in Manhattan as an art director for such business titans as Macy’s, Revlon, and Lord & Taylor. Commuting from the Pennsylvania Poconos and visiting Cape Cod in summer, he had a productive, happy life. Then his mother died.
“It was one of those changes in life, where you have to decide what’s important,” Chesnovitch says. One of the revelations was how much he loved the Cape. So two years ago, he left the Poconos and moved to Sandwich, where he has found the natural world he had been craving. His house, perched on Scorton Creek, opens onto a tidal stream with constantly shifting water. “It’s ever changing,” Chesnovitch says. “I had to live somewhere where I could step outside the door and paint.”
Chesnovitch’s pastels are powerful compositions of the natural world, enticing viewers to enter the canvas’s deeper dimensions. Break Through shows a low, dark sky creeping across the canvas over a burst of sun setting over the marsh. Incandescence, with streaks of light igniting a brilliantly painted sky, is also part of Chesnovitch’s “Sky Series.” In all his work, it seems that something important is happening just below the surface. For Chesnovitch, it might be pure emotion in the guise of beautiful nature.
“Sky is the most emotional part of the landscape for me,” says Chesnovitch. “I’m attracted to a feel of open space.” The power of his skies lies in his talent for taking color and light and turning it into an energy caught at fleeting moments. “I try to capture atmospheric conditions and the envelope of light,” he says.
Today Chesnovitch paints prolifically, often working on 20 paintings at a time, his spirit pulling him from one to another when instinct calls. (He still does creative design as a consultant.)
A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Chesnovitch studied at The Art Students League in New York City and the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown. He is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. Constantly enriching his mind—and emotions—is nature in its many forms, just outside the door. As Chesnovitch says, “I’m a student of art always. There’s always something to learn.”
Ed Chesnovitch’s art may be seen at the Left Bank Gallery at 8 Cove Road in Orleans and 3 West Main Street in Wellfleet (leftbankgallery.com); Dragonfly Fine Arts Gallery at 91 Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard (mvdragonfly.com); and at chesnovitch.com.