“Distance and intimacy are at times entwined to create an exciting dichotomy,” Michael Schweigart says of his art. That’s true of current times, and it’s true of his work. Our April 3, 2020 Dan’s Papers cover artist, Schweigart talks about his inspiration, how he approaches his process and more.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
When I’m out driving, certain scenes do capture my attention and would make interesting compositions. In this painting, first, the rows of corn drew me in by being so evenly spaced. As they rise and fall and curve, they accentuate the contour of the ground and draw you the landscape to the structures in the distance.
Where do you get your inspiration from in general?
I can find inspiration anywhere, but I gravitate to the open landscape, with old structures and their angles, and the perspective in the landscape.
Talk about your artistic process.
My process is a traditional one, starting with a preliminary drawing for composition and detail. When satisfied with that, I transfer it to the support (paper, board, canvas, etc.). This is followed by an underpainting to establish value—darks and lights. Then it’s a process of painting, layering, and refining until I get the desired effect or representation.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Naturalistic, tight realism.
If you could talk with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Offhand, Andrew Wyeth is one of the many artists that have influenced the direction of my work. When I first started painting his style of painting resonated with me. I would have plenty of questions for him, from his compositions to his painting techniques. I would want him to do a critique of my work, just for his thoughts.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
Probably a full-time teacher, since I do this now part-time.