Even though she has called the Cape her home for more than 35 years, artist Sydney Hale still finds constant inspiration within its vast scenery. “My work is mostly impressionistic landscapes,” she notes. “I love getting out of my comfort zone, but my true passion remains landscapes.”
Her love of art blossomed in her earliest years, “As a kid, I found it was something I could do in solitude. I just developed a love for painting that evolved from there.”
Knowing she wanted to pursue art, Hale ended up at the University of Connecticut as a painting major. “Those years were a really influential time for me and being the 70s, abstract art was most popular,” she shares. “I loved Franz Kline and was also facinated by color theory. Joseph Albers taught the importance of color relationships, something i utilize in all of my work today.”
After receiving a B.F.A, Hale found herself struggling with self-doubt. “I felt I didn’t get enough traditional instruction and felt unprepared to make a future in art,” she explains. Fortunate enough to take on some commission work, Hale had a large piece in a well known restaurant. “I happened to meet a couple of corporate pilots sitting next to my work, and as we talked they found out I had gotten my flying license back in high school,” says Hale. As they talked aviation, they saw a sparkle in her eye showcasing her love of aviation, sharing with her that it was really opening up for women, making it a viable direction for her if she so choose, so she changed her momentum to becoming an airline pilot.
“I was always a loner going back to when I was a little girl, so while I was traveling to all of these wonderful places alone, painting and photography were my companion,” she shares. Hale kept thinking that one day she was really going to be able to paint more, but as life happened and children were born, she had very little time, “I was raising kids and was away for traveling a lot, so when I was home, I was in mom mode,” she explains.
Once her children started to go off to college, Hale got back into art by taking some classes, “The first person I took an art class with was Rosalie Nadeau, the most gracious and wonderful teacher,” she says. “Soon after I set up my studio, rediscovering myself as an artist, I felt strongly about studying impressionist work.”
After discovering the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, she began studying with their talented teachers who became her biggest influence in the direction of impressionist work. She found herself inspired by the color and light that is emphasized in the Cape School teachings handed down from Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche.
“I paint mostly plein air,” says Hale. “I find working with a palette knife maintains my ability to stay loose and keep my colors pure. I begin my painting with gestures of color spots seeing how the initial impression of each color relate. My hope, as I complete my painting, is that the viewer will see what inspired me about the scenery and feel the atmophere of the moment, witnessing the beauty of light in nature throughout.”
Most recently, Hale has ventured out of her comfort zone, “I really missed flying and the scenery you get at those high altitudes, so I’ve started my Flight Level Series,” she says. A little more abstracted, they are created by Hale on bigger boards and canvases to capture the views starting at 18,000 feet. “I miss flying but painting these large pieces inspired from photos and memories has been very special for me. It’s somewhat reminiscent of my earliest work, and in some ways feels like I’m coming full circle as an artist.”