The sweet and the savory
This story was featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
As a former engineer and current still-life artist, Erin Schulz has evolved from testing objects to painting them. She began studying art at an early age, but she realized that making a living that way might prove difficult. After first earning a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Washington, she went on to obtain a master’s degree in engineering, specializing in human-computer interaction.
For 10 years she tested products for Microsoft and Boeing with a focus on user-friendliness. The steady income allowed her to take painting and drawing classes at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, where she studied with Juliette Aristides. She later studied with Michael Grimaldi at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York.
Schulz left the engineering world for a career in fine art in 2004. This past year her painting VINEGAR & FRIENDS won an award of excellence at the Salon International show, held at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio.
As a researcher in human and computer interaction, her work entailed designing and executing qualitative and quantitative research. “Like painting from life, research involves making several observations and then inventing or discovering ‘truth,’” Schulz says. “Painting from life is exactly that. I make several observations to invent or discover the truth within the object of study.”
Schulz is a self-described classical realist with a focus on still lifes and the figure. When painting a still life, she feels like an inventor as she finds objects of interest and creates what she calls “a new reality” on canvas. With the figure or portraits, she feels more akin to being a discoverer on a mission to understand a person.
These days Schulz says she tends to see everything in paint, and she is always thinking about color and tone, whether she is gazing at a person or a persimmon. She divides her time between the two genres and uses a food metaphor, sweet and savory, to describe the difference. “Figures are sweet. Still lifes are spicy and savory. When I finish one, I crave the other.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
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