Dietlind Vander Schaaf holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and an MA from the University of Southern Maine. Her work has been described as the transformation of “disparate objects into elegantly simple compositions of pattern and grace” (Artscope). She has exhibited nationally and was featured in the April 2016 Maine Home + Design magazine’s profile “One to Watch” on standout artists in Maine.
Vander Schaaf is a Core Instructor for R&F Handmade Paints and the former president of New England Wax. She is the recipient of grants from the Maine Arts Commission and International Encaustic Artists, a Tending Space Artist Fellowship from the Hemera Foundation, and the Juror’s Award in association with the 10th International Encaustic Conference. In addition, she is a 200 hr Kripalu yoga teacher working on her 500 hr certification.
"I create pieces that embody the dynamic interplay between chaos and order; that convey an emotional tone through texture and pattern; and that use mark making as a way to communicate what I find most lovely, haunting, and curious about the human condition. My work references teachings from Zen Buddhism, Christian mysticism, the poetic traditions, and contemplative practices including yoga and meditation. I am influenced by writings on meditation and quiet by Pico Iyer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, David Hinton, and Gordon Hessler, as well as the minimal work of artists Agnes Martin, Hiroyuki Hamada, and Zarina Hashmi.
The Japanese word jikan refers to the silence between two thoughts. In this vein, my work is an attempt to render temporary, fleeting moments of beauty, balance, and stillness visible. Some of my paintings rely on forms observable in the natural world, which I have distilled to geometric patterns and then further deconstructed. Others are responses to field studies involving physical experiences and sound recordings. I think of my work as inner landscapes that, when placed together in multiples, engage in a form of communion with one another."
Photo by Scott Dorrance
Dietlind Vander Schaaf’s life, as Walt Whitman might suggest, “contains multitudes.” Not only is she an artist and teacher of art, she is also a writer and yoga teacher who has undergraduate and masters degrees in history (as well as a masters of fine art in writing!) Lisa Belisle’s interview with Dietlind explores her unique practice of creating encaustic art on wood panels: a laborious process of applying layer after layer of hot wax, paint and, in her case, 23-karat gold leaf. Hear about her artistic evolution, including four years spent working through perceived failure, and ultimate emergence with a renewed faith in herself. Dietlind also speaks about her love of languages, imposter syndrome and the personal satisfaction she gets from teaching workshops. This conversation with Dietlind Vander Schaaf can be seen on the Portland Art Gallery website, on Vimeo, You Tube, or listened to via Podbean. Thank you for listening to, and following, Radio Maine. We welcome comments and suggestions for future shows from our Radio Maine community!