Undoubtedly, Richard Alan Schmid is one America's greatest living representational artists. His contributions to the art world are immeasurable, not only because of the wonderful art he has left for us, but also because of the influential impact he has had on the many artists who have followed in his footsteps. Such wonderful contemporary realists as Nancy Guzik, Scott Burdick, Susan Lyon, Rose Frantzen, Jeremy Lipking, and Casey Baugh have all benefitted from Schmid's teachings, and are in their own turn carrying on Schmid's legacy.
Now in his late seventies, Schmid has stopped offering workshops, and only occasionally presents demonstrations of his working methods (the upcoming Weekend with the Masters is one such example). Thankfully, in 1973, Schmid began recording his lessons and philosophies in his seminal art instruction book, Richard Schmid Paints the Figure: Advanced Techniques in Oil. He followed this with Richard Schmid Paints Landscapes: Creative Techniques in Oil (1975), and later, with his crowning achievement, Alla Prima: Everything I know About Painting. Upon the success of Alla Prima, Schmid also began offering videotaped demonstrations of his work, which, like his books, have become fast favorites. Still, for many of us, we wish we were able to study directly with Schmid, no matter how wonderful are his teaching aids.
Fortunately, the next best thing to studying one-on-one with Richard Schmid has just presented itself. Gifted Massachusetts artist, Katie Swatland, has just collaborated with Schmid to offer monthly on-line lessons beginning in June. A member since 2004 of the Putney Painters, an invitation-only group of artists who paint weekly alongside Schmid, Swatland began an intensified, regular course of study with Richard two years ago. The monthly installments will offer "articles containing in-depth technical information on painting, step-by-step demonstration, pictures, video, and unlimited access to high-resolution images of paintings and demonstrations" by the master himself.
"I feel extremely humbled and grateful," says Swatland, "for the opportunity to learn from (Richard) directly. I feel that it is extremely important to document these lessons and experiences so other people can have the opportunity to learn also. I am hoping these monthly newsletters/lessons will help further emphasize Richard's teachings and help people understand fully these fundamentals of painting. Richard is a brilliant man, generous, articulate, and a skillful painter- his knowledge needs to not only be shared but understood."
Planned topics include:
- The Value of Copying Works
- Saturday Lessons with Richard, Nancy Guzik, and the Putney Painters
- The Mancini Exhibit- Field trip to Philadelphia
- The Art of the Block-In
- The Quality of Brushwork- Make Each Stroke Have Purpose
- Learning from your Failed Paintings
- Everything is Relative- A Tribute to Albert Einstein
- Squinting- Learning to Use This Masterful Tool
- Notes on Landscape Painting
- Always A Student
- Sargent, Zorn, and Sorolla- The Brush Painters
- Painters of Light
- Composition and Design
- The Cecilia Beaux Exhibit
- The Vanderpoel Museum
- Painting What You See
- Discussions on Canvas and How to Prepare it Yourself
- Painting Equipment and Tips on Customizing Your Own Painting Box
Swatland, in addition to being a talented artist, holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University, so her discussions promise to be structured and acutely analytical- a bonus for all of us seeking clear instruction.
Visit Katie Swatland's website to learn more.
On a side note, Katie is working with Richard on his upcoming landscape book, a book which I mentioned in an earlier post as an item to which I was looking forward, and about which I was quite excited. Katie has told me that the book will contain over 160 high-quality images of Schmid's art! It cannot be released soon enough for me!