Canadian artist Olaf Schneider expresses his love for life with vibrant color, inspired by the power and diversity of the northern landscape and anything that “needs a second look.”
Schneider will be exhibiting his paintings at Jessel Gallery during July in a one-person show. An opening reception for him is from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, July 13.
“Olaf Schneider is one of those extraordinary artists who can paint any subject matter, as you will experience in this amazingly beautiful show,” said Jessel Gallery owner, Jessel Miller.
“His skill as an artist is balanced by his brilliant design ability and the technique speaks for itself,” Miller said. “I am honored to introduce this Canadian creator to the Jessel Gallery world in this ‘don’t miss’ show.”
“Olaf is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m from Timmins, Ontario, Canada. I was born 500 miles north of his hometown,” Miller added.
Schneider’s paintings explore his sensitivities to beauty, form, light, and shade.
“Each dab I make is stimulated by the details that I observe. I hope to see what others miss and then make it compelling,” Schneider said. “I push and alter the colors to suit my ravenous needs and I love to improvise on the spot.
“I like to use expressive and thick impasto brushstrokes or soft blended strokes to render a sense of movement and texture giving the painting a life of its own,” he said. “My interpretation of color also sets the dynamic mood. The tones often range from the darkest to the lightest … to achieve maximum drama. This creative combination is spontaneous and intuitive.”
To keep his mind clear and focused, Schneider said he limits his exposure to all the media “the noise we generally are pummeled with daily.” He does not watch television and restricts his time on the computer. In addition, he starts his day “with God in prayer and meditation.”
He typically paints six to 10 hours a day.
Schneider said he believes in continued growth and learning. “I want to always have an open mind so that new ideas may come in,” he said. “In the mind of an expert, there are few possibilities, but in the mind of an amateur they become endless.”
From an early age, Schneider put all his efforts into painting and drawing. Compared to his brother, who was competitive in sports and “very good at everything he did,” Schneider was a single-minded child who was “very shy and introverted,” he said.
“My art career began after leaving school halfway through grade 10,” he said. “I insisted on going to night school for the following three years to learn only art, for that was where all my interests were, and that’s all I was willing to spend time learning.”
He got his first full-time job at a silk screen printing company where he worked both in the art department and in the shop.
Later, he worked for an American company called Garnet Outdoor, a large outdoor advertising company that screen printed huge backlit billboards. Their advertisements would light up at night and were printed with transparent inks.
“I was most interested in the retouch department where there was a guy airbrushing on the billboards and retouching them,” he said. “I bought my first airbrush shortly afterwards and would practice at home.”
In time, Schneider saw people hand painting billboards using big brushes and exterior oil paints.
“I was in awe (of their skill). That’s where I learned how to paint in oils by watching these masters who were old enough to be my grandfather,” Schneider said. “They would complete a portrait within an hour, that was eight feet in height, that looked exactly like the photograph. These guys were the best.”
After leaving that company, Schneider ventured off into painting outdoor advertising murals and billboards directly on buildings throughout Canada. During the offseason and on rainy days, he would create oil paintings at home on canvas.
Looking back, Schneider sees his transition to becoming a successful full-time artist as seamless.
“I was discovered at a local art show by a lady who owned a gallery in the neighborhood,” he said. “The rest is history.”
Schneider balances the praise he receives for his paintings with an inner sense of humility, he said.
“This is a God-given gift and I value it greatly,” he said. “If I am able to bring emotion, understanding, comfort, or joy into another’s life then I am using it wisely in His glory.”
“I feel very honored to be having a show at Jessel Gallery,” he said.
The Jessel Gallery is at 1019 Atlas Peak Road, Napa. More information is available at jesselgallery.com.