Magnificent Obsession | Carol Schmitz

Carol Schmitz

Santa Barbara, CA


Carol Schmitz

What kind of artwork do you collect? I began my collection by purchasing landscapes, seascapes, and still lifes. I probably would have continued in this vein if I had not become aware of the allure of figurative art. I started attending art exhibitions focused on figurative art. In my own community, Waterhouse Gallery offers an annual figurative show, and I finally attended one. It was not long before I was purchasing figurative works.

How would you describe your approach to collecting? First of all, I have to fall in love with the canvas. That’s the beginning of the story. I then fall in love with the language between the artist and collector. I find myself asking questions about the artist’s works, such as: Why did the artist select this subject? How has he revealed the subject’s uniqueness? What is my emotional response to the subject?

How many pieces have you acquired over the years? About 35.

How long have you been collecting? Five years.

How did you get started? When I moved to Santa Barbara, I knew no one. So when a neighbor invited me to join her for lunch, I happily agreed. We went to Sullivan Goss, a gallery and restaurant. I was enchanted by everything I saw. By the conclusion of our lunch, I had fallen in love with a small canvas in the corner of the room. The style and color reminded me of one of my favorite paintings by Thomas Eakins that hung in a Los Angeles museum. I knew I had to have the one at Sullivan Goss. I planned to hang it in my library. I would learn that the painting was by Colin Campbell Cooper. Thus, my new love was born, and that was the first piece I purchased. The painting did not go into my library because the books were donated to the local university. I had ceased being a book collector. My new passion was art.

What’s your most recent acquisition? CLOSING FOR THE DAY by Thalia Stratton.

What’s on your wish list for the future? Nothing. I plod along and see as I go. I find most of my treasures at Waterhouse Gallery. So, I try to stay out of there.

What piece do visitors comment on the most? I find most of my friends love the one I love the best, CHOICES by Joseph Todorovitch. It tells a wonderful story. The expression on the young girl’s face, beautifully rendered, reveals her reaction to her mother’s hat—wonderment, doubt, and curiosity. Todorovich has captured all this in her profile.