My name is Brad Schulze, I live in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and I am a newcomer to the art world. Though I grew up with artists in my family, (my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother were oil painters), I never made any serious effort at artwork of any kind outside of high school art class.
After that, making a living and raising a family didn’t leave much room for such pursuits until my mid 40s when I took a job at a remote location in Alaska. After work, in a camp environment, there are a couple hours between dinner and bed to watch T.V. or whatever you choose to occupy yourself with. I chose something I always wanted to do, but never had time for.
When I was young, I mostly worked in pencil. I always found the idea of working with colors and a brush to be a tantalizing one. I wanted to see what I could accomplish if I really applied myself to painting.
I was intrigued with watercolors after falling in love with Winslow Homers’ work. I was really inspired by his simple, direct treatment of the surrounding landscape in paintings depicting people in the act of working and playing. Watercolors are also much easier to travel with and set up in a temporary living space. So every month, I can be seen in the airports traveling between Idaho and Alaska with my brushes in my carry-on bag and a tube to carry my paintings in.
I derive great pleasure from watching the interaction of pigment and water occur on the paper. And, like every other artist, from finding a way to convey to others my expression of the beauty I see in my subjects.
I enjoy painting animals, rustic scenes, and most of all, rustic people. I see real beauty in the human race and really enjoy painting a face with a lot of character. Oftentimes, that character is borne from years of struggle and the lines on the face are scars on the soul. There is beauty in the love and hope that is still readable in those lines.
I use M.Graham paints almost exclusively and only Arches 300lb cold press. I use Winsor & Newton, Da Vinci, Raphael brushes. I am a bit of a purist in the sense that I resist the use of masking fluid all that I can, though I am not above using a little white paint here and there.
An accurate drawing is the most important part of any painting and I haven’t done enough drawing to really hone my skills, so I use a set of proportional dividers to check my proportions. That being said, I have had success painting portraits with no drawing at all. It’s a slow, careful way to paint that teaches me patience, trains the eye, and makes for a livelier painting due to a certain spontaneity that seems to sneak in when I paint that way.
From the beginning, I’ve been attracted to a loose style of painting watercolor, and initially, mistook looseness for carelessness. Along the way, I realized that paintng loosely, and doing it well, takes a high degree of pre-planning and skill and cannot be approached half-hazardly. There is a lot of experience behind an artist that makes any kind of painting look easy.
Knowing that perseverance and attention to detail is key, I will continue to challenge myself and strive to be the best artist that I can.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!