Bill Schmidt has been a professional landscape painter for more than 25 years after careers as a nuclear engineer, consultant, and president of a training firm. He developed his distinctive style of loose realism after being inspired by the French and American Impressionists and the Cape Ann (Mass.) marine painters, particularly Emile Gruppe. Working with a palette that enables him to paint bright, lively scenes as well as react to fog, overcast, and storms, he paints outdoors in all seasons at home and in his travels. His paintings include marine scenes from the Chesapeake Bay area, New England, and Bermuda. Other works feature American towns and countrysides, Vermont, the western National Parks, and California – scenes that have been called “quintessentially American.” He also enjoys traveling abroad to capture scenes from Paris, Venice, Normandy, and Germany.
My distinctive paintings are the result of inspiration and planning. I have long been inspired by the beauty of water and nature and by certain features of man-made structures and boats. What first attracts me to a scene – what provides the inspiration and urge to paint it – are the colors, contrasts, light effects, and design elements I see. I then make numerous pencil sketches to develop the composition and proceed to paint the image en plein air in most cases. Later I review the painting in my studio, make any corrections, and add the little touches that finish the painting. I especially enjoy painting on site because of the challenge to capture the effects I see in the limited amount of time I have before the light changes and the original scene is gone.
Bill’s painting “Bermuda Morning” was accepted into the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art at the Botanical Gardens in Paget, Bermuda, and “Summer on the Potomac” is included in the collection of the Art Gallery of the University of Maryland University College in College Park, Md. Two of his paintings are in the permanent collection of the Olin Library at Cornell University, Bill’s alma mater. A signature member of the American Impressionist Society, he has repeatedly had paintings accepted into national juried competitions sponsored by the AIS, American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA), Oil Painters of America, Arts for the Parks/Paint the Parks, and the International Marine Art Exhibition. His paintings were included in several ASMA shows that traveled to various museums in the eastern United States. He also has exhibited in juried shows at the Salmagundi Club in New York City, where one painting earned a Certificate of Merit in the 2010 Winter and the Holidays show. He was invited to exhibit in solo and group shows at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Md., the William Gilchrist Gallery in Cumberland, Md., and The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wis.
In addition, Bill was one of ten prominent plein air painters from across the United States invited to spend ten days painting at the Forbes-owned Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, France. A group exhibit of the resulting works was held at the Forbes Gallery in New York City. Giclees of his paintings were selected for a new Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Ashburn, Virginia, and for the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Maryland. Bill also participates in the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies Program, and his original oils have been acquired by numerous corporate and government clients. Earlier he was the featured artist at 18 shows in Japan over five years.
Bill was selected as the artist to represent Maryland in the book A Kid’s Guide To Drawing America published by Rosen Publishing Corporation. Articles by and about him and his techniques and plein air work have appeared in national and regional publications including American Artist, The Artist’s Magazine, Art Business News, Art & Frame Review, Elan magazine, and Washington area newspapers.
He is an Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club in New York City and the national organizations OPA, AIS, and ASMA. Bill is a longtime member and former president of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, a D.C.-based organization of plein air painters that will mark its centennial in 2013. He is sought after for workshops, demonstrations, judging, and lectures. Bill is a resident of Rockville, Maryland.