Artist Yolanda Chetwynd

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Artist's Statement

The wandering nature of my Jewish heritage and my husband’s displaced Hindu family, who relocated to India during the 1947 partitioning, have resonated both in my life and in my paintings. My style and subject matter about displaced people, community and everyday activities, that are important in establishing roots, reflect this truth. I visited India many times, returning to communities, renewing friendships and subject matter for painting. All the watercolors are from life, whereas the oil and acrylic painting are done in my studio.

Having spent the last thirty years painting and teaching, I now realize that all I ever wanted to do was be in my studio and paint. With the practice of painting I can combine my many passions and interests into a single image. I am now fascinated by the thought of recreating Rembrandt’s studio into miniature models so that I can paint from them. I know that Rembrandt had about fifty students at a time. All crammed into his house in Amsterdam.

I can imagine Rembrandt in my mind's eye, setting up models in a little milieu.

I see him using large sheets of polished metal for reflecting the images of models and students so that they were multiplied into huge crowds as in the crucifixion drawings and etchings. I can imagine Rembrandt, peering this way and that way, drawing what he saw, and making changes in his drawings as he thought of them. My paintings are my homage to Rembrandt’s drawings. I have tried to stay true to Rembrandt‘s emotional message of the interconnectedness of each person’s life story to another’s. His subtle use of gestures, his tender and kind touch, making the figures he draws universal.  All my artwork has focused on Mankind’s endurance to make order out of everyday life. Integrating form and content at every level I can imagine in my paintings through multiple layers of paints. I endeavor to strike a balance between the abstract form and the figurative elements, giving the people and animals in my art their own space. Allowing ambivalent meaning to slip somewhere between the brush marks. I hope that my paintings flex the viewer's mind and feed the soul.

Multiple media