The Naples Art District (NAD) showcases member artists every week, highlighting their stories through their series, Artist Spotlight! Each week, different artists are featured to provide an in-depth look at their creative processes and the beautiful art they create.
This week, the Naples Art District proudly presents painter and gallery owner Laurél Schmid and Richard Diedrich in the Artist Spotlight!
Laurél Schmid is a painter. A full-time fine artist for over eight years, Laurél is highly influenced in her work by nature. She says the most influential aspect of nature is the constantly changing palette of the water and sky; she is especially well-known for her seascape paintings. “Recently it seems like people often say how calming and relaxing it is when they look at the art in my studio,” Laurél says. She takes it as a compliment when she hears such feedback because she says that is exactly what the water does for her. “It immediately gives me a sense of calm [which] I love expressing in my artwork.” She also has an extensive shell collection (“including the elusive Junonia!”) and tells us that she recently refinished a display table for many of them; her collection informs her work in terms of the inspiring color palettes of the various shells.
Laurél creates her paintings using acrylic paints. She says that she loves the versatility that comes with acrylic: it allows her to vary how she uses paint, from thin and somewhat translucent applications to more textural applications. She notes that she uses acrylics to “build lots of layers in [her] artwork before getting to the final result” and that she finds acrylic paints to work well for doing so. Laurél shares that she doesn’t have a single favorite art tool because it changes depending on the piece. “If I am working on a very large canvas, a sponge is a fantastic way to loosely apply the initial layers.” But other favorites are palette knives in various sizes, scrapers, “and brushes, of course!”
Laurél enjoys spending time underwater as a scuba diver, but also loves beach walks, sunsets, and spending time on her sailboat when she isn’t creating beautiful paintings. Check out Laurél’s work online any time, or by visiting her Naples Art District gallery.
Richard Diedrich, an architect and artist, creates fine art paintings. His study of Architecture in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Illinois afforded him five years of art concurrently, exposing him to different mediums, including watercolors. “We architects,” Richard explains, “learned watercolor under Louse Woodruff, a nationally known watercolorist who painted the circus in her time off in the summer. She was an ardent teacher and demanding of us architects.” Because of this experience, he has used watercolor throughout his career, including for rendering his own architectural designs and for creating his original abstract paintings via a poured watercolor technique.
Richard says that his abstract, color field paintings are inspired by his historic favorite, J.M.W. Turner; his contemporary work is inspired most by Pat Steir, who pours paint; and his watercolors are inspired by the drawing and watercolor washes of Egon Schiele. He notes that he enjoys using ink medium for his abstract work as it comes in tubes (as well as bottles), which allows him to draw with the tubes making “blob” lines—a favorite technique of his and the renowned Andy Warhol. As for his architectural watercolors, Richard loves that he can use primed medium texture canvas, rather than paper, to “transmit a texture to the watercolor wash.”
For sixteen years, Richard taught a professional development course at the Harvard Graduate School of Design every summer, as his career as a painter grew. Along the way, he also found a love of writing. “I really got to enjoy writing,” Richard shares, “using words as a medium to create and communicate, not unlike paint with painting, and building materials with architecture.” He has written, illustrated, and had four books on architecture published. Check out Richard’s paintings online or at the Naples Art District gallery where much of his work is displayed.
The Naples Art District (NAD) is a place for professional artists to share their art and artistic processes in studios and galleries that are open to the public. NAD boasts the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida, providing space for artists like Laurél and Richard to exhibit their art, as well as to offer educational opportunities and special events for local community members. The Artist Spotlight! series provides an opportunity for NAD member artists to connect with people and inspire them through their creativity. You can find a calendar of events, classes, and workshops offered by NAD member artists online. Contact the Naples Art District online or by phone at 239-249-1977 for more information.