” Don’t paint the scene in front of you, Paint the light that defines it and gives it life ” These are the words of Thomas W. Schaller and although he spent most of his life in Manhattan where he worked as a commercial architectural artist, he is now a watercolor painter based in Los Angeles.
Thomas became a painter after one of his artist friends casually asked him what he wanted to do with his life. Thomas replied ” I told him I wanted to be a painter, a ‘real artist’ , but then i proceeded to detail the number of reasons I had in my mind that seemed to make that dream impossible.
The friend sat there and listened to me giving excuses and finally just said ‘ if you want to paint – just paint. All the rest will take care of itself’ “
That was the day Schaller’s life changed. ” I am very drawn to the built environment, urban landscapes and the idea of a physical home. But over time, I realized that it was the emotional weight these places have – the stories they have to tell, that most inspire me.
I also realized that it was these stories and emotions I wanted to paint. not so much the buildings”
Schaller work process itself is quite interesting as he prefers to complete each work all at one time. It’s pretty rare that he would let anything completely dry before he moves to the next part.
” This means juggling a lot at once and keeping large areas of my work wet at the same time, It’s a lot of fun, but timing can be tricky, most especially when working on large paintings “
When asked what he hopes others get from his work he replied ” Most of my work is informed by real word observation, but I never paint exactly what I see.
I make a sincere attempt to interpret what I see, to paint how I feel about what I see. That’s the job of an artist, in my opinion. Do not paint what inspire us but paint the inspiration itself “