Richard Schmid, Kristen Thies, Ann, and Scott
Richard Schmid tribute by Ann Witheridge
Richard Schmid sadly passed away in April 2021, following an incredible and inspiring career that has encouraged artists world wide.
We were so fortunate to meet Richard Schmid and Nancy when they came to visit us at our London Studios in 2007. Like all events hosted by Richard and Nancy, there was a large and eager crew of artists waiting to meet the man and artist behind the voice of Alla Prima. We had all learnt so much about painting through his written word and artwork, so it was very exciting to meet him in person. We were immediately overwhelmed by his generosity and kindness to all of us as we hung onto his every word. His encouraging and giving nature was echoed by Nancy, and even though we had only just met, one felt a friendship and kinship blossom. Richard and Nancy carried on supporting Scott and myself throughout our journey in painting and with the studios. Nancy had the brilliant idea to host online sessions every Friday morning, where we would talk through “Alla Prima” as it developed into “Alla Prima II – the extended edition”. Richard would join in with humour and insight, spurring us all on to think and do exercises through the book.
In 2014 Scott and I flew to New York to see the Zorn exhibition. What a treat to be met there by Richard and Nancy, to see the exhibit and then to visit the Met with them.
How does one express fully in words what Richard has done for artists around the world and for painting and art? His great gift has been to demystify the world of oil painting for so many. It is only because he had such a complete and intelligent grasp of his craft, which was so complex and nuanced, that he was able to paint so well and with such a light touch. He was so generous with his knowledge. As a true artist and art lover he wanted to share and allow others the great joy he had experienced through his understanding of the visual language of paint.
Like Mozart, he was able to be so light and breezy because of the depth of his skill. When you truly understand your craft, you realise that the narrative and beauty is in the craft itself; it doesn’t need another layer to make it deeper.
And his desire to share the craft is expressed in “Alla Prima” and his other written works. They are not written to be unattainable, disguised in the myth of the artist, but to clarify, explain and share a deep understanding and love.
I know that Nancy will continue to share his amazing work and message, and we will be all the more richer and fulfilled because of this.
With our deep-felt gratitude and love,