Jean K Schwartz in her studio

How do you find inspiration?

Jean K. Schwartz: I am inspired by light and atmospheric effects in nature as well as in urban scenes. I have a clear memory of standing in awe in front of a Sanford Gifford luminist painting at the Metropolitan Museum when I was 10 and asking “how did he paint the air?” That is the quality that interests me most in paintings and what is the main focus in my own work.

I am especially drawn to dawn and dusk as I love the colors and sense of mystery that the lower light and more softly defined forms bring to the landscape. I focus on the places I know best and while I sometimes use a plein air sketch or photos as a reference I often paint from memory which I really enjoy doing. Sometimes all it takes is a beautiful sky to take me back to a moment that I remember in a place I love and the painting will spring from that memory.

What is the best thing about being an artist?

Jean K. Schwartz: Recently my cousin paid me the compliment of telling me, “you have a gift that brings pleasure to others.” Expressing a personal moment in time and having it resonate with others is a large part of what I enjoy about being an artist. The connection we have through common experience and memory inspired by a painting is one of the things that is so wonderful about art.

There is also the joy of painting, at least most of the time it is a joy but there are plenty of frustrations too. Still, working through those is rewarding and often the most challenging paintings are the ones that mean the most to me. I also love being a part of a community of artists and I cherish the friendships I have made through sharing this passion for art.

To see more of Jean’s work, visit: 

Jean K. Schwartz, Once Upon a Mountain, 20 x 24 in, oil on panel, 2021
oil painting of sunset
Jean K. Schwartz, Softly Rests the Day, 20 x 25 in, oil on canvas. 2021