Thursday, September 12, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Fred Schollmeyer

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Fred's painting, "Ivory Iris" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing his interview.

From Fred's DPW Gallery page:

Fred Schollmeyer has been painting professionally since 1989. He holds a degree in Art Education from Lincoln University in Jefferson City and has studied art at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He recently retired from teaching Elementary and Middle School art after thirty years.

Fred has received numerous awards including “Best of Show,” People’s Choice Awards,” and “Purchase Awards”. His work has been featured in the “Top 50” juried exhibition at the Missouri State Fair. Airbrush Action magazine published his work in its April 1997 issue. In 2004, he became a “Signature Member’ of the Missouri Watercolor Society. From 2008 through 2012, his work has been featured in the prestigious Watercolor USA Exhibit in Springfield, Missouri. In 2008, he became a member of the Watercolor Honor Society. In 2012, his painting “Survivors” was featured in the National Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Best of America Exhibit in Bolivar, Missouri. His work is included in collections throughout the USA and Europe.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I’m one of those people that started producing art as a child. My parents would save grocery bags for me so I could produce craft projects. Drawing and coloring was always something important to me growing up. I attended a small rural high school which only offered one art class. My history notebooks in high school were covered in doodles. While in college I became very enthused about painting. My painting professor had been a student of Thomas Hart Benton.

Ivory Iris
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Fred's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

When my children were small in the 1980’s I painted very infrequently. With my teaching career and small kids at home there was very little extra time. As my kids grew older I became very careful about my free time. It sometimes meant working only a half hour per week on an artwork. One painting would take several months to complete.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I was first captivated by conventional oil representational art. I found the conventional brush to be somewhat limiting, however. I also produced some traditional watercolors. Once again I felt limited with the process. At one point I became enamored with abstract art.

Laid to Rust
(click to see original image)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Today I almost exclusively paint acrylic using the airbrush for color application. I still paint occasionally with watercolors. However, the majority of paint in that medium is also applied with airbrush. I know the airbrush is a non-traditional tool in fine art. At one time it was a major instrument for commercial art processes. Chuck Close and the Photo Realists of the 1970’s were some of the first to use the airbrush in fine art processes.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like to include non representational elements into my representational paintings. For example, a realistic figure with an abstract background. I would also like to continue my exploration of different subject matter. It seems for me a subject that works well and is commercially accepted becomes a series of paintings of the same subject. Sometimes artists tend to stay in their comfort zone because of this. I want to explore subjects that are uncommon for most artists.

Who or what inspires you most?

I live in a rural area known as the “Foothills of the Ozarks”. The landscape for the most part is unchanged. Rural homes and barns that have weathered the elements for years are very inspiring to me. I also look for inspiration in such diverse mediums as comic books, vinyl album covers and art magazines. As I mentioned earlier the Photo Realism movement continues to influence my work.

In the Eye of the Cat
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

For me, I tend to avoid working if I can’t develop a concept for a painting. Sometimes this can keep me from my studio for some time. I’ve recently developed the philosophy that as long as you’ve conceived the idea in your mind then you should go with it. If it fails then at least you’ve been painting. The only thing wasted is time and a few drops of paint. The business end of the profession is always time consuming and can cause one to delay painting. I try to limit the business processes to a certain amount per day. It might seem difficult to believe but sometimes while I wait for the paint to dry I do small business related activities like apply for shows & sign prints.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I try to develop the concept for a piece the night before or in the morning. This includes taking photos and doing rough sketches. I usually finalize the drawing around noon. I then mix paint and start painting. My favorite time to paint is mid afternoon to late evening. I try to keep this schedule as regimented as possible. If I follow this schedule I am usually productive.

A Couple of Snowbirds
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

My ideas come in different ways. I might see a freshly baled hay field at dusk. I usually grab my camera and set off to take reference photos. I might find a unique 1960’s toy at a flea market. Soon I’m setting up the toy in a still life. I’ve developed as an artist to the point that I am continually thinking of possible painting ideas.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Seeing the finished painting keeps me going. After the completion of a piece I start conceiving the next one. I’m also continually looking for new sources of inspiration. Viewing art websites and browsing my library of artist books keeps me continually striving to keep my work interesting. I feel it’s my responsibility to keep my artwork developing to new heights. I’m perfectly aware that painting an inferior piece is part of the game plan. If unsatisfied with a painting I stick it in the archives and forget it. It is then time to move on.

Keep Your Eye On the Ball
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I still feel I am continuing to develop as an artist in numerous ways. Composition and color theory are foremost in my mind at the present time. I am constantly looking at improving these two elements. It might involve mixing colors in a different way or pushing the focal point in a composition to a different location.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Seeing the actual finished artwork is one of the most enjoyable experiences associated with the painting process. A customer with a happy expression after purchasing a piece of art at an art fair is always satisfying. Reading a positive comment from a DPW viewer is another thing that excites me about my work.

Thanks, Fred!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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