Our October 11, 2019 Dan’s Papers cover artist, Maryland native John Schisler began studying art at the Conrad Miller Studio in Fells Point at age 17 and became a full-time artist in 2011. “When someone asks what I do for a living, it’s still a little awkward to say, ‘I’m an artist,’ but I’m getting used to it,” Schisler told Dan’s Papers in 2017.
What was the inspiration for this piece, “Popped Corn?”
The inspiration for this and my other baseball-themed paintings comes from my son playing T-ball and little league the past couple of years. It also reminds me of playing little league and the different snacks, candies and gum that we would get after the games. “Popped Corn” was originally going to be the popcorn with the ball sitting next to it, like some of my other paintings, but as I was working on the composition I decided to have a little fun with this one.
Where do you typically get inspiration for your art?
I get inspiration from all the talented artists I follow on social media.
How did you get into art?
I’ve always been able to draw well. When I was in high school, my aunt was taking some painting lessons and suggested that I go to a class with her to see if I liked it. It was the first time I had picked up a paintbrush, so it was awkward at first, but I stuck with it, and several years later, in 2011, I decided to pursue it full time.
Talk about your artistic process.
I mostly paint still life, but this past year I challenged myself by entering a few plein air events. When I paint still life, I’ll set up the entire composition in a shadow box, a 2-foot by 2-foot box that I can move a light around for different angles. I start with an underpainting all in burnt umber. Once that is dry. I’ll build up layers of color working from dark to light. I tend to be very tight when I paint, so the plein air painting helps me loosen up.
Tell us a little about your use of black oil.
I make my own medium. It’s called Maroger medium. Jacques Maroger was the technical director of the Louvre Museum’s laboratory in Paris. He spent his life trying to determine the mediums of the Old Masters. He then taught at the Maryland Institute using the formulas he believed were used by the Old Masters. The black oil is the base for his mediums and is made by cooking linseed oil with litharge.