07 Nov Publisher’s Note: Richard Schmid: America’s Master Painter
WA&A publisher and art critic Tim Newton discusses a legendary artist
Richard Schmid [1939 – 2021] stands as a legend among artists and collectors. As one of the great masters of our time, he was justifiably revered as both a teacher and artist, with more than 50 solo shows during his lifetime and works in major collections of American art.
From his home and studio in the mountains of Colorado, west of Fort Collins, he painted extraordinary landscapes. Schmid was a great believer in painting on location, whether the subject was nature or architecture. He lived in Colorado for most of the 1990s, which provided precisely the plein-air opportunities the artist relished. In Schmid’s book The Landscapes, he writes of the nearby Poudre River, “I never tired of painting it. The Poudre’s many moods were fascination. From violent springtime rapids as it charged through the Poudre Canyon, to the complacent flow through Fort Collins, it offered me endless lessons in painting movement.”
When I study this painting, several things strike me: the richness of the canyon wall; the movement and design of the rushing water as it tumbles down from the Rocky Mountain high country; the way my eyes fill in the precise details, even though this is very loosely painted; and the many colors and surfaces of the water. If I stop and think, I can even hear the canyon’s voice, the roar of the water. Schmid personified the word “painterly.” His art never looked labored.
This is just one example from the thousands of paintings that Richard created during his 70-plus years as an artist. He was a visual storyteller extraordinaire with a deep way of seeing the world and communicating it to the rest of us. In his advice to painters, he said: “The grandest and simplest things contain worlds within worlds. Seeing them is a matter of the right point of view, and your painter’s eye is the special portal to such sights.”
The importance and influence of Schmid in today’s art world cannot be overstated. Enjoy this vibrant masterpiece and see more of his art every time you get a chance.
Here’s to great artists and their art!
Tim Newton, Publisher
P.S. Richard Schmid’s book Alla Prima II: Everything I Know About Painting — and More should be on the bookshelf of every art collector. The illustrations and writing are astounding.