Sadly, I just read of the passing of Vermont artist Richard Schmid at the age of 87. There will be some artists that won't recognize the name. He was not the type to seek publicity, even though his paintings have become very valuable. I have followed his career for many years. Primarily a plein air painter, Richard Schmid took his Impressionist realistic work to the highest levels in his studio. His art and painting process has been a beacon for me. He led by example, demonstrating plein air techniques without short cuts or showmanship. Today, his art books and teaching videos are widely treasured, including myself.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet this quiet gentleman. I admit that his beautiful paintings derived directly from nature – alla prima - have had some influence on my work. His memory will remain for as long as I can lift a brush.
For more information, go to: www.Richardschmidofficialsite
Savoring the moment
In the April 13th bi-weekly Painter’s Keys post, the late Robert Genn’s blog explored the positive feedback artists perceive when they are painting. To read the full story go to Painters Keys.
I experience a lift while painting. Not all my efforts are successful of course. But oh my, especially when painting in the field, when I step back for the n’th time and see my painting coming to life, I feel a rush. In fact, I have been caught doing a two-step to the jazz floating from my car radio when I believed that no one was watching.
After many years painting plein air I have learned to avoid copying exactly what I see. I settle on a narrative and try to rearrange things to develop a composition. I purposely paint in a circuitous way so that good things may happen on the canvas unintentionally. Sometimes I surprise myself.
Back in my studio, the euphoria has worn off. The challenge is to rekindle the inspiration with minor adjustments while preserving the moment. This is the final step in the process.
A shaft of sunlight meets the day on our couch in the sun room these mornings; a welcome harbinger of warm spring days as we struggle to get past COVID-19. The gift of light has a special place for artists as we learn to appreciate the incredible sunlight spectrum reflecting from everything we behold as colour. Like dogs and cats sleeping in the sunlight, we draw on the light for a sense of well-being and inward pleasure.
I have watched the sun’s rays gaining strength day by day as we move into April. Out in our sun room, I look up from my book, to see the light reflecting across the couch and pillows and glass tabletops. I am moved get my sketch book. As I start to outline a composition, I perceive evidence of the effects of the light on a vase of flowers, the pastel shades on fabrics and glass surfaces. These are the elements that put life into a painting.
The Art of Charles Spratt