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Frenchtown painter goes on landscape hunting expedition


Frenchtown painter John Schmidtberger, who often features local architecture and natural settings in his paintings, is traveling to Maine in June and July to create landscapes there.

Unlike many nature painters, Schmidtberger works completely en plein air, setting up his easel at his chosen vantage point and completing the painting there, even if it takes multiple sessions.

“Sometimes I have to wait days to get the same weather,” he said. He does not work from photos and does not usually retouch in the studio. “This gives my paintings an immediacy that I think the viewer can feel.”

On painting trips, Schmidtberger rises early and heads into nature. “I get up very early, like 4 a.m.,” he said with a laugh, “and before my thinking mind interrupts me, I let some scene dazzle me.”

He said the Maine light is crisper than New Jersey’s, resulting in harder edges. “There’s little haze,” he said, “so the clarity helps the colors to pop.” He paints in mid-coast Maine where his teacher, Neil Welliver, whose paintings hang in major museums, also painted.

The expedition will result in a major exhibition in the autumn at his gallery Schmidtberger Fine Art, 10 Bridge St., Frenchtown, N.J.

“I can’t tell you the name yet, because the paintings I do will decide that for me,” he said, “but I can tell you the opening date, Saturday, Oct. 5.”

The exhibition will run through Nov. 17. Follow SFA on social media for glimpses of the works as they are painted. For information, visit SFA Gallery online or call 908-268-1700.