I spent the better part of this afternoon watching Richard Schmid paint a portrait of ‘The Captain’ with a few of my fellow Rochester Art Club friends. It was sort of cozy, the four of us huddled around the flat screen sipping hot cocoa, watching an alla prima portrait come to life.  Richard, as it turns out, has quite a sense of humor. An inspiring part of the DVD was a discussion period at the end. There were 300 people in the audience at the Art Center in Manchester, VT and Richard spent some time answering their questions.  He reflected on his own artistic career and how in certain decades he looked at the art world differently than the decade he was currently in which was his 60’s. He is now in his 70’s. (This was an older DVD we were viewing). In his younger years he was sort of cocky and in his own words thought he ‘was hot stuff’. His views changed when he realized he wanted to share his gift and he began to teach. This is where he is now. By the way Richard said that those who paint like him today learned from seeing his work in magazines. They did not study with him. Those who did study with him were taught to find their own ‘voice’.

This leads me to my current inspirations. Realistically I know my source of inspiration will change as time goes on. It should. There are numerous contemporary artists out there now that I admire. But the two that really inspire me are Burt Silverman and Robert Liberace. They are my ‘heroes’. While I know I will never paint like them I still study their work, watch their DVD’s, and have studied with Rob twice now. Their work ethics show me that if I want to progress, to learn more, I must keep painting. I must keep drawing. I must do it as often as I can.

Why Burt Silverman?  I am drawn to his personality as he reminds me of my dad. Both are from Brooklyn and they speak the same ‘language’. Mr. Silverman’s art however really speaks to me. He paints the real man, the real woman. His drawings are sensitively done, sometimes simple in line, but oh, they say so much about the model.  His paintings are the same and he portrays scenes of the every day, of the current environment. How could you not relate to that?

Why Rob Liberace? Well, he must be the Renaissance man reincarnated!  I watch his collection of DVD’s that I own over and over and each time I don’t think my mouth closes at all. Ah, to know anatomy likes Rob knows it. Ah, to be able to use that knowledge to create the ‘da Vinci’ and ‘Michelangelo’-like drawings that Rob creates.  I have been fortunate to be able to get to know Rob a bit personally and he is a really nice guy to boot! 

One of my ‘heroes’ is younger than me and one is older.   It makes me feel like there is still time for me to improve. I like that feeling.