I have always enjoyed creating—whether it’s music or painting, cooking or collage. When I was young, I drew images of the world and people around me, always experimenting with different media. In the 1980s, I applied my creativity to a new medium—video. I graduated from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and moved to New York City, where I became a documentary editor, combining images, sound, and narrative to create visual stories. I worked as a documentary editor for sixteen years.
From New York I moved to Baltimore where I met my husband Richard. Together we moved to California, married, and had a son, Zachary. California was a beautiful and inspirational place. We lived on the coast and took many long walks by the ocean and in the highlands. I dabbled in collage and watercolor, but mostly I collected images and memories. I also went to graduate school and became a librarian.
After nearly a decade in California, we moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where we currently reside. Our family travels as much as we can, exploring places near and far. It was on one such trip to Santa Fe shortly after I turned fifty that I experienced what I could best describe as a profound awakening—I wanted to paint!
When we returned to Williamsburg, I made an art room in the house, collected art supplies, joined the local gallery, read art technique and art history books, and began to paint. I don’t have any formal training—but I occasionally take classes.
I recently retired from my work as a high school librarian, which was a lot of fun. I learned about and taught 3D design and printing, green screen production, podcasting, and virtual reality--along with the traditional readers' advisory. I now have more time to explore art and have been painting for a couple hours each day. When I paint I can easily lose time—often an entire day goes by without notice. Most of my paintings are based on photographic images of places I’ve visited and people I’ve known. When a subject interests me, I look through all of the imagery, much like I did as a video editor, and think of the story I’d like to tell. I draw upon my memories and emotions when I chose a subject. Using Photoshop, I combine elements and experiment with design. When I am finished, I practice by sketching the images. Finally, I begin to paint.
Because I have a small studio in my house, I use water-based oil paints. I especially like Holbein’s Duo Aqua Oil paints. They are smooth and flexible, and the colors are brilliant.
With every painting I learn a little more about design, color theory, and technique. I like to think that I learn a little more about myself, and hope that others enjoy the stories I am telling in paint.
Monica Wittig Schauffler
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