Our featured local artist now through February is Merry K. Schmidt. A lifetime student of literature, art, and nature, Merry had little spare time for artistic endeavors while teaching full time and raising a family. Still, she took a variety of art classes as time permitted and was able to increase the focus on building and utilizing those skills after her nest became less crowded.
“Now that I’m retired, I have more time for creative pursuits,” Merry says. “While I loved oil painting, I preferred the portability and fume-less aspect of watercolors. I had taken a one-day class twenty years ago and a week-long workshop a few years later. However, it wasn’t until I took Watercolor I at CCV in the fall of 2015 with Phil Robertson that I became truly interested in the medium. The various exercises, readings, videos, and homework kept me busy; and I learned a lot along the way.”
Merry continues to paint as the inspiration strikes and notes that painting is a chance to see things in a different way or discover something new about her subjects, which she finds in the natural world around her. She says, “I have often painted what I see from or around my home: our meadow with a view of Spruce Mountain, backyard birds, our chickens, flowers on the kitchen table, etc. My husband and I also take photos of beautiful places around Vermont, New England, and, occasionally, other parts of the world. From these photos and sketches, I glean ideas for paintings. One thing I am learning to do is to ‘see’ better–not the shape or color I expect, but the way something actually appears, depending on the light. For example, I’ve learned that snow is rarely just white, but can be a number of colors, including pink, purple, gray, blue, and yellow.”
“I would like viewers to connect with scenes that are at the heart of life in Vermont and hold a feeling of home or a moment to relate to,” Merry adds. “As I continue to grow as a painter, I look forward to experimenting more, loosening up, creating abstractions or illusions, and varying my color options. I also hope to someday incorporate other materials into my art.”
Merry’s work will be on display in our café from now until the end of February. We are always looking for artists to take part in our Art in the Café program, if you are a member-owner or staff at the Co-op, and have art you would like to exhibit, please visit here for the application.
On Friday, Feb. 1, you can also view our Art in the Cafe as part of Montpelier Alive’s Art Walk, now presented with support from Magic Hat Brewing Company
The Art Walk will include more than 20 amazing art openings in one night all across town! Plus, from 5-8 in the former Asiana House Space, a pop-up event curated by Magic Hat! Four artists paint live, alongside live music by Eric George and a Magic Hat Bar featuring specialty brews. Purchase the artwork in a silent auction, and half the proceeds benefit Montpelier Alive! More information about the Art Walk is here.