The famous religious painter Carl Bloch was said to have dipped his paintbrush in his heart. As an artist, I relate to that statement because painting for me is a way to turn myself inside out and share what is there on canvas. Sometimes I see things that are so painfully beautiful that I can find no adequate words to describe them. My art has become a spiritual language where I can express myself without speaking. And hopefully those who view my paintings will feel what I am trying to say with no words passing between us. I have found that it is through visual imagery that I can best reveal my passions.
As an artist I am more interested in painting my emotional reaction to a subject than in creating a photorealistic rendering of it; consequently my paintings lean more to impressionism than realism. I tend to work in an abbreviated style where the suggestion is more important than the completed statement, and where the parts or details are sacrificed for the good of the whole. I’ve learned that the less I give away in my paintings, the more people seem to read in them. To me, there is more poetry in an image when not every detail is spelled out and the viewer is allowed to solve some of the mystery.
I love to capture the abstract patterns of light and shadow in the subject as, paradoxically, I find this creates a more realistic image when viewed from a short distance. I generally paint things that I am close to, both in distance and in feeling. I am not about depicting vast expanses of nature, but rather of close, intimate corners of personal spaces. Any subject is game for my brush as long as it is beautifully lit. In truth, light is always the subject I find most exciting, as anything it touches is enhanced in depth, dimension, vibrance, and beauty. This is the spiritual implication art has for me.
I consider it the greatest of privileges to be an artist–to notice the grandeur in small things around me, to celebrate them on paper or canvas, and to share my passion for life though my artwork.
— Richard Schmid, November, 2017
My goal is to paint beautifully that which is not traditionally considered beautiful. Sorta like a less-grotesque Anselm Keifer in a better mood. Using a squeegee helps.
I live in Bellows Falls, a resurgent mill town on the banks of the Connecticut River in Vermont. My studio is in an old paper mill. There, I like to paint what nature does to what man creates.
I was born in a small town in New Hampshire where we used to swim in the abandoned granite quarries. We had pigs and chickens and rambling barns. I’d walk home from school along the tracks of the Boston & Maine Hillsborough Branch , and read the names and slogans on the box cars that’d roll by, things like “The Nickel Plate Road” and “Santa Fe All The Way.”
When they put a highway through our barns, my family returned to the house built by my great, great, great grandfather in Weathersfield Center, Vermont, where my great aunts lived. Our family still makes maple syrup there and also have a hand-cranked cider press which makes amazing cider but can remove a finger if you’re not careful (just ask Uncle Andrew).
My Dad was an occasional minister who ran a small print shop. There was always a lot of paper and drawing stuff around. I drew a lot. Though I did not appreciate it at the time, in college, I was lucky enough to be forced to draw the figure three days a week from 8:00 am till noon under the tutelage of William Bailey. Afterwards, I got a job designing tour posters for acts like The Clash, REM and The Jerry Garcia Band. I got to design a lot of album covers and became a music manager. I quit that just before the music business imploded and went back to painting a lot and running music trains (live music on long-distance train trips – rootsontherails.com) a few times a year. Now painting is my primary focus.