I never met Richard Schmid, but I really wish I had. I was peripherally aware of his work for a long time, mainly through ads for through prints of his work published in the 80s and 90s through the Greenwich Workshop. It was not until the publication of his great book “Alla Prima- Everything I Know About Painting” that I sat up and paid attention. This influential book, the result of several years of planning and a lifetime of knowledge, has since become the bible of numerous realist painters. I have found his book to be a fountain of usefull practical knowledge and great quoteable quotes. For example:
Even Mozart occasionally listened to his father.
I regard my disasters as invitations to learn more.
Painting is by definition a discretionary act and its latitude for expression are boundless.
Even when you have no choice about the subject, if you are a student in an art class, for example, and the instructor picks the model and sets the pose, there is richness to be found because it rests not in the subject but in the way you EXPERIENCE your subject.
I strongly recommend painting an edge as it appears, regardless of anything else you know about it.
Look to the compositions in nature! She is an infinite source of design.Like a perfect lover, she never disappoints, never grows ugly, and never fails to reveal herself in fascinating new ways. Just be faithful to her.
Working with bad brushes is like playing the piano with boxing gloves.
Even though you share countless similarities with others, you are unique. No one has your mind or your feelings. They do not notice what you notice, and do not have precisely the same sensitivities or fears. No one longs to embrace life or ponders death and beyond as you do, No one is human in the exact same way as you are. Once you understand this, your task is to get in touch with yourself. Find out what moves you, what you believe in, what you truly understand about life, who you are, and what this great experience of being alive means to you. Then put it in your paintings.
Somewhere within all of us there is a wordless center, a part of us that hopes to be immortal in some way, a part that has remained unchanged since we were children, the source of our strength and compassion. This faint confluence of the tangible and spiritual is where art comes from. It has no known limits, and once you tap into it you will realize what truly rich choices you have. May each painting you do from that sacred space include an expression of gratitude for the extraordinary privilege of being an artist.