Read Jeff Aeling’s latest review in the Southampton Press!

Read Jeff Aeling’s latest review in the Southampton Press!

The story involves fast driving, water views and that slim period of time when dusk lowers night’s curtain on the day. When the whirlwind tour was over, a new series of East End landscapes was born.

Captured with a camera and in the artist’s memory, the images were not translated into paintings anywhere near eastern Long Island. Instead, artist Jeff Aeling rendered them in his St. Louis, Missouri, studio, where he connected with the natural beauty he witnessed a thousand miles away.

The driving and the invitation to see the area came courtesy of Richard Demato of North Haven. Some of the paintings that capture the fading light and transform familiar views into special moments are now on view at the Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Sag Harbor. The lower level of the gallery features Mr. Aeling’s landscapes. Upstairs is a solo show of narrative American magic realism paintings by Andrea Kowch.

Mr. Demato became a fan of Mr. Aeling’s work years ago after spying his landscape paintings in an Arizona gallery, his attention drawn by the way Mr. Aeling created paintings that evoke peaceful contemplation. He became a collector and discovered others had a similar reaction to the work.

After Mr. Demato launched his Sag Harbor gallery in September 2009, Mr. Aeling sprang to mind as an artist he wanted to represent. After an extended telephone search, Mr. Aeling was located and Mr. Demato exhibited some of his Midwestern landscapes and Hawaiian seascapes at the gallery. Not fully satisfied, Mr. Demato invited Mr. Aeling to visit the Hamptons and make some new work inspired by the beauty found on the East End.

Mr. Aeling accepted, but there were two hitches: He was interested only in scouting scenery in the last hour and a half before nightfall, and he would be on the East End for only five evenings.

“It’s the time of day when things get a lot more interesting,” Mr. Aeling said of twilight. “The colors are saturated and the shadows deeper. It’s the most memorable part of the day.”

The two men formed a loose plan: Mr. Demato would drive the artist to places that he believed would capture his interest. Mr. Aeling gravitates toward textured water and big skies and Mr. Demato aimed for places that might fit the bill.

The pair traveled to a number of vantage points, including Ditch Plains and Montauk Point, Long Beach in North Haven, water views in Water Mill and a secluded preserve in Southampton. Mr. Aeling directed Mr. Demato to pull over when he spied vistas that captured his interest, and took photos. Afterward, Mr. Aeling flew home to the Midwest.

In his cavernous studio, Mr. Aeling began to sort through his memories of time spent on the East End. Standouts in his recollections were the tidal marshes and the way the land curved around the water. The greens were especially brilliant, he said, and the golds in the sky seductive.

Coaxing fleeting moments into the permanency of paintings is a process Mr. Aeling cherishes. The process is best served in a studio where time can be expended in accordance with the inspiration afforded by the muse and the amount of effort required.

“Painting plain air doesn’t really interest me,” he said. “I’ve always been a studio painter. The time I’m interested in is a matter of minutes; it’s physically impossible to make a painting. The studio is a controlled environment. You have as much time as you need to get what you want.”

Mr. Aeling is continuing to work on his series of Hamptons landscapes. Four of the East End paintings are part of the exhibition that opened on Saturday at the gallery.

Other works in the show include landscapes from Kansas and Colorado and seascapes from Kauai, Hawaii.

Mr. Aeling has exhibited in Manhattan; Tucson, Arizona; Sante Fe, New Mexico; Chicago; St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. His paintings remain on view at Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Sag Harbor through August 12. Also on view are paintings by Andrea Kowch. For more information, visit or call 631-725-1161.

"Dune road mecox bay"  34" x48" oil on panel

“Dune road mecox bay” 34″ x48″ oil on panel

WETLANDS SUNSET AT MECOX BAY 24" x 36" oil on panel

WETLANDS SUNSET AT MECOX BAY 24″ x 36″ oil on panel

"Sag Harbor Cove" 10" x 14" oil on panel

“Sag Harbor Cove” 10″ x 14″ oil on panel


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