Jeff Spiegel

Artist Statement: Spiritual Quests 

For a long time I’ve wanted to consider myself an artist, (truly a myth!), never believing that was the case. Personal myths are metaphors that often frame and enhance our understandings about our selves and our relationships to the natural world. It wasn’t until I was in my forties (yes, mid-life!) and attending a series of workshops focusing on self-discovery, that I wound up experimenting with oily pastel-like crayons called cray pas. Instead of going to the training sessions, I settled in my room smearing colors across paper, fashioning mysterious designs that both marveled and furthered my interest. Ultimately, those random acts of exploration led to a new discovery about myself. It opened my awareness, leading me to a new sense of self and, simultaneously, a world of endless possibilities.

The images and artifacts I create take me on journeys to continually find that indistinguishable essence of who I basically am; hence, the name of this exhibit: Spiritual Quests.

The pieces I’ve selected for this exhibit reflect my “in-sights” about nature, life experiences, night and daydreams. There was no one medium or artistic expression that revealed a particular process. Each work is based upon creating a new relationship with watercolors, plaster, acrylics, spray paint, metal, native woods and a host of found objects. I find a deeper appreciation for how the creative process lies not in a pre-ordained map to follow but rather a path to hidden landscapes to color, shape and design through trial and error and, above all, curiosity. 

This adventure with painting and creating 3 dimensional forms seems to always depict a myriad of diverse and engaging perspectives about what life has taught me to cherish. How thrilling. then, for me to witness all of these various works exhibited in one gallery! That, in itself, will yet be another spiritual journey that not only informs me, but, hopefully, inspires others who look upon my work.


Featured Work

Jeff Spiegel

Wolf Moon


Jeff Spiegel

There was Land, There was…



 I grew up in New York where my parents often took us to museums in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This introduction to art left a deep impression on my sister and me. Eventually, she became an artist while I chose education. For a long time, I envied her career choice.

 My first formal study in art was at the University of Wisconsin in 1967, where I explored free form sculpture. That was it for art until I began experimenting with cray pas 20 twenty years later at the Institute for Human Ecology in Windsor, Vermont. I was intrigued with the notion of following my hands and allowing forms, colors and textures to move across paper and canvas with no apparent goal in mind. I continue to work that way today.

 For 18 years as a school principal in Lebanon, NH, I chaired the district art teachers committee. Rather than host our monthly meetings in the local schools, I chose area galleries, especially St. Gaudens and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College for our collaborative work. I formed a cooperative venture with the AVA Art Gallery to host annual exhibits of artwork from students attending our district’ schools. That relationship continues to this day.

 During my tenure as a school principal, I was one of only two  administrators chosen as a Fulbright Memorial scholar to Japan.

My project entailed the exchange of haiku and accompanying art between American and Japanese students. Upon my return, we hosted a Japan Night where haiku and accompanying illustrations were displayed for community members.

When I decided to go back to the classroom, I taught Human Services at a regional career and technology high school. I purposely used art activities for students to process their weekly work in community-based settings with the elderly, infants and toddlers, and children with special needs. Their art reflections became evidences of learning that were incorporated into the assessment protocol I had designed.

 Since retiring, I’ve spent the last 5 years in formal art instruction in watercolor and art critique at the AVA Arts Gallery in Lebanon, NH and at Catamount Arts in Haverhill, NH. I have exhibited at AVA a number of times in the last five years and recently hosted a personal exhibit of my work at Towle Hill Gallery in Vermont.

 Three years ago I built my studio from the ash and cherry trees on our land. This timber framed, post and beam structure sits among our many perennials gardens and overlooks our apple orchard in an adjacent field. It’s the perfect setting to continue my journey with art.