Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shop now open!

I'm very happy to share that my shop is open in time for the holidays. Many of you have emailed me to purchase greeting cards, paintings and prints. It's always been time consuming for you and me to make a purchase and I have appreciated your willingness to to work with me on this.

Below is the url to my shop in the new Squareup Market place.

Check back often as I plan to update and change items often.
You can continue to contact me through susanschmittart@gmail.com if you have any questions.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Demonstrating Women I Might Have Known

I'm always a little hesitant to share my methods of painting the women in my series of Women I Might Have Known. It's not because I don't want anyone to know my tricks. My relationship with these women is intimate. I spend a great deal of time going through my picture albums, selecting a photo that speaks to me and then researching to learn the story related to the photo. Who these women are is very important to me. At the same time I am making decisions about what story I want to tell. I don't want to talk about poverty, depression or other forms of sadness. I'm always searching for a way to show true character.

This is a family picture of women from my husband's family. Knowing the life they lived supports my relationship with the photograph, making the women real and helping me tell a story. I knew they were mother and daughter. I loved the affectionate way the younger woman was lending support to the elder woman. I could see the mother was tolerating her daughter's help. It conveyed trust, humor, love and friendship. And the thing I found most compelling about the photo - both women were barefoot. Knowing the family history, I knew these women had been canning in the kitchen, and it was very hot work, especially in July. They were taking a break, removing hose and shoes,walking on soft grass to the creek so they might dip their feet in the cool water. Catching them on their walk was a lucky moment for the photographer- producing a beautiful and rare photograph of daily life on the farm.                                                                                                    

I spend quite a bit of time determining how these women will fit into my theme. I look through my patterned papers for the right surface to build the painting on. I make a drawing of them for placement and make decisions regarding their setting, clothing, colors. I also consider what message the painting will convey to the viewer. I like to have all of those items resolved before I begin the painting. This painting, Taking a Break, became a successful Mother's Day card.

I will be at Aar River Gallery on Saturday, October 12 from 2 - 4 demonstrating one of my Women I Might Have Known paintings. It's a free demonstration to the public, so stop by if you would like to see more or have questions about my work.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Open Studio Tour

The girls and I had a lovely weekend, absolutely rain free during the Arvada Open Studio Tours this weekend. I met really great people and many of my friends stopped by to say hi, pick up more cards and even purchase a few of my original paintings! That was lovely too. My girls made fabulous greeters to all of the guests.

I don't think my studio could possible stay this tidy - ever. Only because it was out of use could it be this pretty. Many of these paintings are designated to move on to galleries and exhibits in a week or two, so I plan to enjoy them all up on the wall for just a little while. Do you see those pennant flags hanging on the wall? That's a new product I can't wait to introduce to you. More on that later.
And my favorite compliment of all: A friend came to see my greeting cards for the first time. She read quite a few of them and then she said, "These are like warm cookies coming from the oven- comforting and familiar." Oh my, butterflies, she brought tears to my eyes. What a great kindness.
Love you all and many thanks for supporting my folly,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's about the dresses

It's about the dresses was originally published in July, 2011
Golden Years 9x9 inch framed, a painting of my grandmother, and the first in my series
Women I Might Have Known
My grandmother was a talented and resourceful woman. I was young when she passed away so my relationship with her was a variety of tiny memories swirling around that occasionally become defined by stories from my older brother and sister. I remember she sewed and she quilted. I think she moved often when she was younger, and never had a home long enough or a yard big enough to establish a garden. If she could have gardened, I would guess that she would have grown vegetables before she would have invested in flowers. But I like to think she had a lot of flowers growing and there's a reason for that assumption.
I am most fortunate to have one of the quilts she made. My grandmother was a frugal woman.She recycled her worn dresses, cutting the best parts from them to piece her quilt tops. My quilt is a summer garden exploding with every color, surrounded in sunshine and bordered with a blue sky and points. Each of those little flower design pieces are snapshot memories of my grandmother. As I remember the trim of an apron, or the length of a summer dress, she becomes a real person to me, and her love of flowers becomes fact.

When I started this series of Women I Might have Known, I knew something would solidify my project. I've made half a dozen paintings in this series now and I'm pretty sure it's about the dresses. My grandmother wore floral print dresses with aprons trimmed in bands of more flowers. She was from an era of orchid corsages for Easter and special occasions, and pretty little caplet hats embellished with flowers for Sunday mornings and special occasions. I remember that she had a a quilt frame that she lowered from the ceiling to move her chair around and stitch. She had a treadle sewing machine that seemed dangerous to me. She had two purses, and one of them had Bazooka Bubble Gum in it and I believed I was the only person who knew it. But always when I think of her, she is wearing a floral print dress.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Daydreaming is good for you

"Insight is an unexpected shift in the way we understand things. It comes without warning and feels like an unexpected gift-
                                    an AHA! moment!" Gary Klein

This morning I read an article on the Huffington Post , How to Train Your Brain to See What Others Don't, by Carolyn Gregoire. I think it is absolutely relevant to how I and other artists work. I look at the same things everyone else looks at everyday, all day long - but when I look I try to take the image beyond what everyone else might remember. I mean, what is the point of painting what everyone sees if you can't provide new information to the viewer? The article comments on the relevance of "time to daydream" because that is often where insight really lies. I can't  number the times I have been shaken out of my daydream by my family when they are ready to travel on and I am still trying to lock in my mind what I'm seeing and what I want to take away for further use. We don't always get to make reference sketches or snap photos, and often that's not the necessary information because the experience is so multi- sensory. I find myself writing notes like sound of birds far in the background, leaves were fluttering in the breeze so sunlight danced back and forth on them, almost like twinkling light, we felt alone..... those are the things that turned an ordinary scene into the aha! moment. And that's what I hope to convey for the viewer of one of my paintings so that they too, can experience what I have.

this photo of the boathouse in Carondelet Park was taken by my husband 39 years ago and still hangs
 on my inspiration board in my painting studio. Much of what I paint in uniquely tied to this park.
Childhood is where we learn so much of what carries us through our lives. When I was growing up I spent a lot of my unscheduled time in my neighborhood park, Carondelet Park. Looking at light coming through trees, sensing changing seasons through small things like the sound of a breeze in sycamore trees, fading roses and hydrangeas, sunlight dappled on the lake, and winter walks through silent snow and on frozen lakes. Aha! moments where I stopped and locked in a feeling that changed me forever. All of these things are still present for me emotionally and I will never lose the vivid memory of them. Through them I've learned a method of recall that allows me to find my emotional response to everything I paint. Those "aha' moments are significant. They don't make me think I've seen this before. They make me remember I've felt this before and that's the story I want to tell in a painting.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau
Daydreaming is good for you!                                                                                                               

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The annual Arvada Open Studio Tour is scheduled.
Not only am I busy building frames for new paintings, cleaning my studio space and setting up an exhibit of all of my greeting cards, note cards and prints, but I'm still hoping to complete a couple of new paintings just for this occasion. In addition to my Women I Might Have Known and Petals paintings- for a second year my friend, Sydney Eitel, will be a guest exhibitor in the studio. Sydney is an award winning painter of birds and animals from the African grasslands where she spends time nearly every year. We love exhibiting together.
Find the map to all of the studios on the tour at Arvada Art Studio Tour website. You may also contact me at susanschmittart@gmail.com for a map.

Welcome to a new format

I've been writing a blog for more than two years.
Really I have.
So this is new, but not new. Everything will be posted on this blog page and over time, I'll gradually add in some of the really great stories and paintings from the last two years. I have paintings, photos and stories about both Women I Might Have Known and Petals, knitting, travel and lots of other art related goodies for anyone who wants to read about Susan Schmitt Art. Can't wait to share them again.


My most recent painting is Dorie's Roses.
I belong to the Arvada Fine Arts Guild, and we recently opened a Membership Exhibit of paintings. Dorie, who is a long standing member and friend brought a cake and a centerpiece. I think that's pretty awesome. The roses, from her garden, were fragrant and beautiful. I took a number of photos of them, and I'm certain I will paint them more than once. Look for this image to be a winter release greeting card in my Petals series.