If you view a Richard Schmid painting, you will likely see his vision with you own eyes. That is his hope, as he expresses it in Alla Prima II, a masterpiece of a book that he has written to share his lifetime of painting experience and expertise with those who would like to learn how to paint in this manner themselves. It’s compelling, isn’t it?
You can see just a couple of examples above and below, and because Schmid is just as talented a writer as he is an artist, I’d like to share with you his own words:
“I have been a painter for my entire adult life. In all of that time I have never been able to ignore the wonders possible in painting. The astonishing thing to me is how certain individuals could even conceive of anything as beautiful as some of their works–or how you and I could have the capacity to respond to them.
“I have pursued this question relentlessly over the years, and I am still consumed with the mystery of what makes such magic possible. In my younger days, I learned what many serious thinkers thought about art, and for a while I believed I knew what it was. Inevitably it dawned on me that I probably could not rationally understand art itself. I know perhaps it is best left a mystery lest it lose its flavor, but as the matter stands, I am not wholly resigned to being in the dark forever.
“There is something in me that wants to keep picking away at the question of art, because it still amazes me that I cannot clearly define the work which has so dominated my life. Conundrums such as this are what windmills were to Don Quixote. Though I don’t expect to nail it very soon, the questions surrounding art remain wonderfully deductive. They are firmly bound to my identity, my values, my relationship with others, and my idea of what the world is.”
And I can’t resist sharing Schmid’s advice from the introduction of Alla Prima II as well (truly, I want to give you even more, but it’s best to simply order the copy, as it’s 300+ pages of gorgeous art and candid, detailed advice and instruction). He says, “If you wish to make certain your painting will succeed, a minimum of three things must come from you–and only you. The first thing is knowing why you want to paint your subject, the second is an analytical grasp of what you see, and the third is the skill to control the process of painting. These three ideas underlie everything I share with you in these pages.
“Painting has been my dearest friend of almost 70 some years now. My skills and the priceless freedom to use them are the most sacred and faithful gifts I have. They have opened up a world that few others ever have the opportunity of experiencing. I hope this book will help open the door to that world for you as well. Godspeed.” ~Richard Schmid
It’s an honor to be sharing Schmid’s words and art with you, dear reader. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. If you’re on Twitter, click here to share his insights with others.