International Artist - - A Life In Art - BY RICHARD SCH­MID

The most en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence for me is still Plein Air paint­ing (lit­er­ally, open air) and its nat­u­ral com­pan­ion, Alla Prima (paint­ing from life, usu­ally in one ses­sion). What could be more ex­hil­a­rat­ing than getting out un­der a great sky and feel­ing a fresh breeze while I paint the delights of na­ture? Paint­ing on the spot from life is the method I learned from the start of my train­ing, and the one I re­gard as the most chal­leng­ing and there­fore most re­ward­ing. Of course, al­most any­thing imag­in­able can go wrong. We can­not con­trol the weather, or re­ar­range the scenery, or give our­selves more time, or more light, or be more com­fort­able, or tell the bugs to go else­where, and so on. Land­scape painters there­fore must be imag­i­na­tive and re­source­ful. For­tu­nately, there are ways to pre­vail. We must ac­cept what­ever cir­cum­stances are present at the time and place we choose to paint. In­spi­ra­tion, there­fore, soon gives away to prob­lem solv­ing—which is why, for me, end­ing up with a de­cent paint­ing is al­ways a vic­tory of sorts. Be­cause so much in the sit­u­a­tion is be­yond my con­trol, I must rely al­most en­tirely upon my skill. That is one rea­son why I find do­ing a land­scape (or any­thing else, for that mat­ter) from a pho­to­graph to be so un­ex­cit­ing and un­sat­is­fy­ing, not to men­tion bor­ing. Even though it is clearly nec­es­sary un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, the de­li­cious chal­lenge is al­ways miss­ing. I pre­fer my work to spring from my im­me­di­ate and di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of my sub­ject, not an im­age from an un­think­ing op­ti­cal de­vice.

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