Richard Schmid “The Landscapes” Book Review

| December 27, 2009

Richard Schmid, "The Landscapes"

The written word in Richard Schmid’s latest book, The Landscapes, is as eloquent as his paintings. “That sort of endurance and never-give-up mindset became bedrock conviction in my art…My countless early failures in painting were simply provocations to try harder,” he writes in a section entitled The Midwest and Chicago. “In order to render my subjects with as much fidelity as they demanded, I had to learn and apply as many diverse techniques as possible. That is why the works in this book may seem to have been done by many different artists.” Words like these mixed among more than 300 plates of brilliantly crafted landscape paintings fill the insecure caverns of my creative mind with hope and promise as an artist.

The urban and rural landscape paintings in this 268-page book span 37 years of Richard Schmid’s career from 1970 to present day. The book is organized into seven sections, which are preceded by a forward by the grandnephew of John Singer Sargent, Richard Ormond, as well as an introduction by Schmid himself. Next is a reprint of the introduction to Mr. Schmid’s highly acclaimed and sought after book, Richard Schmid Paints Landscapes. Part one through three cover The Midwest and Chicago, followed by New York, and then four seasons of paintings from New England and the East. Part four covers West of the Mississippi, Cache La Poudre StudiesCanada and Alaska. Part five takes you to the British Isles, including England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and part six covers Italy. The seventh and final section showcases paintings from The Caribbean, Spain, and South America. The compilation concludes with a biography of Schmid and a helpful index of all of the paintings in the book.

In my view, this is more than a book of nicely reproduced paintings. Intertwined among the images are Mr. Schmid’s thoughts and experiences as they relate to the work within the sections. In the book, I especially appreciated seeing the early stages of a number of selected works, which provide a glimpse into Mr. Schmid’s creative process. Also included are a number of inspired conté study sketches that offer a rare view into the formative stages of some of his work.

Call me “young” and impressionable but I love this man’s work. I think I am as infatuated with his life as much as his work. The thought of a young Richard Schmid hopping on a bus every Sunday at 14 years of age in search of  nature and beauty ingnites my own desire to pursue what I truly love in life whether it be art, travel or something yet undiscovered. These early bus rides and the inevitable mingling with fellow artists provided the fuel for a lifelong passion that has culminated in a collection of truly inspired work and a legacy of teachings for others to enjoy and carry forward.

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (3)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    Gosh, Lee…You’ve managed to fill me with a couple of things here. One a desire to read this book for myself, two (and an important one) is the realization that I shouldn’t give up my efforts in art. When one loves something so much, it is worth the effort of keeping at it. Thanks for a bit of clarity for me. It has been missing of late.

  2. Lee says:

    Sherry, never give up and look for the joy in what you are doing. Try hard not to compare to others except to gain inspiration. We all doubt or talents. Richard is an amazing artist with TONS of experience. I just try to make progress on each painting no matter how small that step may be. Your newest sketch studies look good! Keep going!

  3. Lee says:

    I hear you! That taste of spring last week was great!