All the paintings in todays blog post are from Richard Schmid’s website, they are all painted in oil.
With Ian away on a business trip I have completely immersed myself in art. I am painting A LOT! 5 paintings done…only 95 left to go (more on that below). Also I am reading an art book by Richard Schmid which is called Alla Prima 2. My darling husband gave it to me for Christmas. And he was so surprised at what he gave me! :) As I read it I hope to share some of the insights that I am having, only some not all…or I will be rewriting most of his book.
I am completed fascinated with how other artists work. How they approach their paintings, their time usage, as well as expectations of others and their own need to continue to explore. Mr Schmid has been painting for almost 70 years and that length and wealth of experience is why I wanted to read this book. He is an elegant writer! I have had plenty to think about.
(His figurative work is just so inspirational)
The first page of chapter 1, apply named – Good ideas and Free Advice, he talks about ‘Talent’. “The exceptional skill we label as talent is not a single capability. It is a complex mixture of motive, curiosity, receptivity, intelligence, perception, sensitivity, expert teaching, perseverance, problems solving skills, timing, sheer luck…” He thinks, and I agree whole heartedly, that talent isn’t a “natural endowment” like the colour of one’s eyes or hair or how tall you end up being. With the exception of the ability to sing beautifully, that is one of the arts that is a “natural endowment”. In my own small experience, I have been drawn to painting for a very long time before I actually took decisive steps to create a learning environment that on only included me but others who were and are feeling the same way. From this very strong interest I gain the skills I needed to actually get to be the painter I dreamed of being. To me there seems to be a nebulous something that tugs and pulls at a person so that they want to learn how to draw, how to paint, how to sculpt, or how to play an instrument. Then once a person is hooked, they find a wide variety of ways to continue to expand and learn and live a more creative life.
(I love his depth of knowledge about values)
Learning to paint or draw can be a deeply satisfying (though somewhat stressful) experience. I love the fact that when we are first learning to draw or paint we are actually discovering how to look more closely at a subject matter. We learn to look beyond the name of the item to the shapes and patterns of dark and light that make up what we are working hard to render on paper, board or canvas. I have had the experience, twice now, of all of the sudden seeing “more”. My experience has been that I am happily painting away when the jump happens from one painting session to the next. Then I do a painting where I can ‘see’ more. I am so surprised that I have gone back to look at the other paintings that I have completed to discover all the information that I hadn’t even known was there. It is a very interesting, and somewhat exciting, experience. And according to Mr Schmid this happens over and over again through out one’s art career. I was excited to read that! :)
For me the many mental and physical facets that one requires to be a painter keeps me completely engaged. My brain loves the constant expansive learning. I know that there are so many ways to paint a subject. This week I have launched into painting 100 small paintings (6×6 and 5×7 paintings) for a show in the spring. I will be exploring a whole range of subjects. Some will be from life, others from images that I have taken over the years. This week, so far, I have done two still lifes (from life), and 3 birds (from an image)…and today I started one from an image that my oldest son gave me to work from. I will post it on Monday once it is complete. I have a story to share with it!
(My still life’s are small in nature as I am working on small boards…can’t wait to expand up in size)
I will come back to Richard Schmid’s book again I am certain. But for now I have to get ready to teach. I teach tonight (two students who are finishing the Acrylic 1 class from November) and I start teaching at a local school with grade 8 students tomorrow. We start with Drawing 1 on Friday just after lunch. I can’t wait! Wish me luck.
See you on Monday! I will have lots to share.