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Artist in Residence: Cecilia Schultz: an artist’s journey to find herself

Artist in Residence: Cecilia Schultz: an artist’s journey to find herself

Artist Cecilia Schultz was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. She always had a creative eye and when she came to New York City at 18 years old she put that to good use.

“I just fell in love with New York,” Schultz said. “I did a bit of back and forth, finishing university in Stockholm and then started working in advertising in New York City as a photo stylist and photographer and thought I’d never leave New York.”

But when she met her husband to be in New York—who was living in Tokyo at that time—she took the plunge and moved there with him. They moved back to the United States and lived in Florida while their boys were growing up.

“I had always painted, but when we started having a family, it went on the back burner,” she said. “Me being Swedish and my husband being from Philadelphia, we started to miss the seasons. Florida was beautiful, especially when the kids were small. I just wanted a little more sort of old culture. So, we decided to take a leap of faith and move to Virginia when the boys were in high school.”

The oldest has graduated college and her youngest went back to college last week for the start of the new semester.

“Here I am in Stanardsville and I just fell in love with this place,” she said. “I don’t think I would have lived here when I was younger. There’s a reason for everything that happens in your life. I love the landscape. I love the people. Virginia is an amazing state. Greene County is very special and I just get very inspired.”

Schultz said once here, she felt like it was time to get back into painting and photography. The inspiration she felt here helped her get connected with Firnew Farm Artist’s Circle and Trish Crowe.

Schultz has participated with Firnew Farm Artist’s Circle’s plein air art programs this summer at Montpelier that Crowe helped secure. This has helped the group get together with one another for meaningful critique and inspiration.

“Who would have known we have such amazing artists in this region?” Schultz asked. “Trish is just fantastic; she has really taken me in and is just wonderful. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from these artists. These artists are just so accomplished and skilled and I’m a little wilder.”

Schultz said she’s learned it’s important for any creative person to be fearless.

“You have to be bold to discover and be who you are,” she said. “They have really brought that out in me. You can’t be shy. You have to find your inner voice and just try to put that out. I feel very grateful; I have just embraced it. I can’t think of a better place.”

She noted she’s really gotten to know herself through her artwork.

“I know it sounds weird, but when you’re busy with life you don’t always look inside,” she said. “It’s a little bit of an analysis. And it brings appreciation. I think we should appreciate that we can live in Stanardsville and not a small apartment and have to be locked up. Art helps me really appreciate what I have and what I have around me that I didn’t always see when I was younger. I guess it’s a maturing. It opens up a lot more than just the actual creating for me, you become more sensitive to what’s around you.”

One local area that Schultz loves to photograph is Hebron Valley in Madison County.

“You drive down the road and it’s just beautiful,” she said.

Schultz prefers to paint with acrylics because oils take so long to dry.

“I’m a pretty emotional painter,” she said. “For a couple of weeks at the beginning of the pandemic I couldn’t paint because it just affected all of us. And I only paint when I’m happy, which I am 99% of the time.”

She said she’s looking forward to cooler weather, even winter.

“I love winter here because I can just see things I don’t normally,” she said.

Schultz said she’s noticed her paintings already adjusting to the coming autumn with her choosing purple and darker green hues.

Schultz is also passionate about land conservation. Her home off Octonia Road was already in conservation when her family moved there in 2017, but since moving to the area she has become involved with the Blue Ridge Foothills Conservancy.

“It’s so important to conserve our land here and not let huge developments come in,” she said. “We try to really inform people about the importance.”

Schultz said she loves everything about painting, except the setting up.

“I pick the colors and then just go to town and don’t think and go with the moment,” she said. “I’m a pretty emotional person and I think that shows in my work. I usually paint about an hour and step back. Sometimes if I don’t like it, I’ll put it in a closet and go back and see what I need to fix. I can’t force it, though.”

Even with the bump in her artwork at the beginning of the pandemic, Schultz is still positive.

“Because the Firnew Farm Artist’s Circle couldn’t be in Crowe’s studio because it’s a small room, Crowe has us painting at Montpelier,” she said. “She believes strongly that you can turn something like this into a positive. You may walk down a path you didn’t know was possible because you were forced to do it, but you might come upon something that, wow, you just didn’t expect.”

Schultz “opened” her art show at Revelation Vineyards in Madison on Tuesday, Sept. 1. It will run until Oct. 31. The vineyard is not doing traditional openings right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. Schultz will have photography of area landscapes as well as some of her paintings on display and for purchase during that time.

Before the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year Schultz had a show at Annie Gould Gallery in Gordonsville and some of her work is still for sale there. The gallery is operating by appointment right now because of COVID-19. For more information on the gallery, visit annigould or on Facebook @anniegouldgallery.

Schultz does not have a website or Facebook page, but updates her Instagram accounts regularly. Her paintings are

@ceccischultz and she displays her photography on @southriver_photography.

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Editor, Greene County Record

Terry Beigie is the Editor of the Greene County Record in Stanardsville. She can be reached at or (434) 985-2315.

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