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Interview with Master Landscape Painter Dan Schultz

This is an interview with professional artist and master landscape painter Dan Schultz. One of his high-key landscapes caught my eye a few years ago on Instagram and I have been following his work on and off ever since. He has taken the time to answer a few questions about his life as an artist, how he works, and how aspiring artists can follow in his footsteps.

Dan Schultz, Autumn in the Aspens
Dan Schultz, Autumn in the Aspens
Painting the Landscape (Free Workshop)

I’ll walk you through the entire process using one of my recent paintings. You’ll see how I go from idea all the way through to reflecting on the finished painting.

Q: Did you have any formal training in art? Or are you self-taught?

“I have a Commercial Art degree from Pensacola Christian College in Florida. It was mainly an illustration and graphic design program, but I got a solid foundation in drawing and painting.”

Q: What subject inspires you most?

“Landscape painting has become my main focus, but I also enjoy painting figures and portraits.”

Dan Schultz, Malibu Overlook
Dan Schultz, Malibu Overlook

Q: How do you typically approach a new painting?

“I divide my time between outdoor painting (plein air) and painting in the studio. My plein air paintings are very spontaneous. I spend much more planning time on my studio paintings. Sometimes I paint larger versions of plein air paintings in the studio, and sometimes I work from photo references. Either way, I tend to design the painting first, then establish my darkest dark and continue by comparing all the other values and colors to the darkest dark.”

Q: I notice you often start with a rich-red underpainting. Could you explain this process for beginner artists?

“Using a colorful undertone is a great way to affect the look of a finished painting. Letting that undertone peek through can create harmony, color contrast or color excitement. The process is to apply a thin wash of color to the canvas, then wipe away the excess wetness with a paper towel. Then proceed with the painting in such a way that bits of that undertone show through. I wrote a blog post about this, that people might find helpful.”

Q: How would you describe your style?

“I like to think of it as “painterly realism.” It seems to vary between impressionism and tighter realism depending on the scene. But overall, I’m working toward saying more with less.”

Dan Schultz, Evening Breeze
Dan Schultz, Evening Breeze

Q: Which artists inspire you?

John Singer Sargent, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Joaquín Sorolla, Nicolai Fechin, and many of the “Golden Age” illustrators like Dean Cornwell and Newell Convers Wyeth.”

Q: If you were to start learning art all over again, how would you start?

“I would probably explore the idea of attending a small atelier program where I could really focus on drawing and painting. But I was so new to art in college that I didn’t yet know at that age which direction I wanted to take my art. The art field seems to be getting more and more broad with all the animation and film industries employing so many artists. I think that makes it even tougher to decide which area to focus on as an artist today.”

Q: What is your preferred medium and why?

“Oil paint for sure. I got my start with acrylic, but I always felt so rushed by how quickly it dries. Once I tried oil, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to acrylic. Oil also seems to allow for more textural effects and more color stability and of course the freedom to slow down with each painting because of the slower drying time.”

Dan Schultz, Far Green Country
Dan Schultz, Far Green Country

Q: Out of all the paintings you have created, do you have a favorite or one that is particularly special to you?

“My favorites will probably always be the paintings I’ve done of my wife and sons. I’ve done quite a few paintings of each of them, some of which we’ve kept and others that have sold through shows and galleries.”

Dan Schultz, Fishing Hole
Dan Schultz, Fishing Hole
Dan Schultz, First Light in the Forest
Dan Schultz, First Light in the Forest
Dan Schultz, Iris Garden
Dan Schultz, Iris Garden

Q: Which avenues have been most effective for selling your art?

“I’ve sold through galleries and shows since 2001, but I’ve had the most success after opening my own gallery in 2011. It gives me the ability to interact with customers (something artists don’t often get to do when showing through other galleries). I also have my easel in the back room of the gallery so I can paint there on-site, and show whatever paintings I want in the front room. I of course have to divide my time between painting and gallery business, but the trade-off has been well worth it. I also send a monthly (or so) email newsletter that allows me to stay directly connected with past, present and future collectors.”

Q: Have you had much success selling prints?

“I offer several print options and have had reasonable sales with them. But I produce enough original paintings that I don’t feel the need to make a lot of prints. People do seem to like the prints for gift-giving, or if they aren’t looking to purchase a higher-priced original. But I would much rather spend my time making paintings than making prints.”

Q: Any tips for aspiring artists?

“There is a lot of quality art instruction available online depending on which direction you feel like you’re wanting to go with your art. I have a selection of online video lessons teaching landscape and figurative painting through Sentient Academy. But I would also recommend exploring a lot of subjects and media to see what seems to feel like the right fit for you. Like I mentioned earlier, there are many directions you can take your art today from traditional to modern to digital. Try them all and see what resonates.”

Dan Schultz, Cloud Patterns
Dan Schultz, Cloud Patterns

Q: Where can we see more of your work?

“You can find more of my work on my website and on Instagram.

The galleries that carry my work are:

American Legacy Fine Art in Pasadena, California;

Oh Be Joyful Gallery in Crested Butte, Colorado; and

Dan Schultz Fine Art Gallery & Studio in Ojai, California.”

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. And thanks Dan Schultz for taking the time to do this interview. It’s always interesting to learn about the life and work of professional artists.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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PS. Here are some of my favorite paintings by Dan Schultz:

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.


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23 comments on “Interview with Master Landscape Painter Dan Schultz”

  1. Thanks for sharing this interview.

    This artist got great talent. I love his landscape paintings.

    Wish I could have more time to learn to paint like masters like him and you, especially landscape.

    Thanks for sharing this interview. I discovered a new artist. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  2. Very beautiful paintings! Great use of color. Thank you for presenting such incredibly artists, along with your fabulous work. I really appreciate all I am learning from you!

    Reply
  3. I so enjoy reading your art news, thanks for sharing Dan Schultz’s painting and interview. I especially enjoyed his figure paintings almost as much as yours!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Thank you so much for sharing this Dan! Lots of things to inspire me:) My favorite of his paintings was the gold aspen trees.

    I favor your painterly impressionistic style, however!

    Reply
  5. Thanks for sharing this interview, I had some ‘penny dropping’ moments where things started to fall into place. It only takes one person to share information to push you on your way. Thanks again.

    Reply
  6. Wow ! Beautiful paintings and a great style.
    I’m always astonished to see a prolific number of artists and see such an array of styles and gorgeous pieces of work.

    Thank you again for sharing with us.

    Carole Dubé

    Reply
  7. Amazing, going the way I want to go. not too tight and not too loose. Spending time
    before actually painting to play around with the composition and choosing the colours.
    I love receiving your knowledge and all the wonderful paintings that come with it.
    Thanks so much for giving me more encouragement.

    Reply
  8. I love the idea of “painterly realism.” It gives language to describe how I like to paint as well. I also like the discussion of planning a painting before you begin. I’m a thoughtful and intentional painter. My best work comes out of spending time on the front end planning and experimenting. Thanks for sharing! All your posts are so informative.

    Reply
  9. So interesting as always. Many of his comments resonated with me because I’ve used the ideas before, but great to have those reminders in succinct form. His paintings are truly wonderful. Many thanks for posting, Dan.

    Reply
  10. I m far from an artist at this time. The main reason is I am 85 and I have had very little if any formal training. I enjoy putting along. Don enjoy your comments and the information you bring each time you write.
    Thank you,
    Roland

    Reply
  11. Thank you for sharing this interview. Many questions were those I have since asked myself.
    I’ve enjoyed acrylic pretty much of the time but I may be thinking about oil painting again. Nice to be able to learn something every time I join you and feel great that you are willing to give us such information and experience. You are a true artist in every way. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Thank you for sharing this artist with us. His work is just gorgeous! I recently watched one of his free tutorials on Sentient Academy and it was very informative. Probably well worth subscribing for more of his lessons.

    Reply
  13. Thank you Dan for this very interesting and inspiring interview. I love that you share other artists’ journeys and works. I discovered a wonderful new artist thanks to you. Love your work and format.

    Reply
  14. I am so inspire by this interview I have learned what can take me to the first step of fundamental of drawings and painting

    Reply

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