Artist’s Retreat

Encaustic painter Dietlind Vander Schaaf never had a dining room before moving into her Portland Colonial four years ago. Now, she relishes having a space dedicated to dinner parties, Rummikub matches, and showcasing items by local makers.

Encaustic painter Dietlind Vander Schaaf in her dining room
By Sarah Stebbins
Photo by Michael D. Wilson
From our March 2018 issue

1. Encaustic Paintings

“I don’t keep much of my own work, but these two struck my fancy.” Larger versions of the mixed-media pieces are in the permanent collection of Portland’s The Press Hotel.

2. Pendant

“I wanted something warm and modern to replace the chandelier that was here. Lisa Ferreira Jones [of Ember Grove in Falmouth] and I did a trade — she got a painting and I got a handmade paper lampshade.”

3. Acrylic Painting

Vander Schaaf’s partner, arborist Kelly Palomera, painted these birch trees in San Francisco, where the couple met and lived for several years.

4. Mirror

Made of reclaimed wood by Kai Patricio, of South Portland’s Patricio Woodworks, the mirror picks up the colors and motifs in the table and Vander Schaaf’s paintings.

5. Table and Seats

Woodworker Michael Perkins, of Bowdoinham, crafted the painted table, chairs, and bench from reclaimed barn planks. “I wanted chairs in here and Kelly wanted benches, so we compromised.”

6. Pottery

Vander Schaaf has a collection of etched clay bowls and vases by San Francisco artist Diana Fayt and “a minor mug obsession.” This one is by Japanese ceramicist Takashi Endo.

7. Cookbooks

“I have a habit of buying cookbooks at restaurants, bakeries, Zen centers — places that are meaningful to me.” A Kripalu yoga teacher, Vander Schaaf has spent time at monasteries, including the venerable
Tassajara Zen community in California.

8. Wine Rack

“We are not big wine collectors, but there are some nice bottles on this rack. When people house-sit, we tell them ‘top shelf — help yourself; down below, no, no, no!’”

9. Picture Frames

The couple owns 12 frames by Portland welder Jeff Week, of Mean and Wroughten, who fuses vintage toys and tools onto steel casings. “These hold some of my favorite moments,” like a shot of Vander Schaff and her sister on the artist’s wedding day —“she was Kelly’s ‘worst man.’”

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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