About the Artist
A native Codyite, I grew up backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains. Their beauty stirred my heart in a way I will not forget. I loved to draw and paint, and the mountains naturally became my theme. Later, in High School, I was blessed with a rare opportunity to apprentice under Reid Christie. Three years of serious art study soon followed in college.
During that time I met the One who made the Beartooths. I realized that those deep stirrings in my heart were actually whispers from the Artist’s heart. He made me whole in a way that the beautiful – but fleeting creation never could. He cleansed me from my guilt and now I worship Him through art. The beauty I see in this world is inspiring and real, but merely a shadow cast by Beauty Himself – Jesus Christ. I want people to pause, to be drawn away to think about Him in the midst of all today’s busyness.
Up until the last few years, I have mainly used photos as a reference and painted in a thin, layered fashion. But since then I have discovered painting outside, on location. I had tried to paint en plain air before, but didn’t have any equipment. It just wasn’t very much fun to paint while trying to hold my canvas, several brushes, turpentine, and a palette all at the same time. My wife bought me an Open Box M pochade box in 2005 and I was instantly addicted to painting outside. I have always loved the work of masters like John Singer Sargent, Bierstadt, and Moran, as well as many modern painters like Clyde Aspevig and T.A. Lawsen. I learned that studying directly from nature was and is paramount to these artists. This further fueled my desire to do paintings and sketches on site. A camera can only catch so much. I am finding that the knowledge acquired by painting from real life is irreplaceable. I still use photos as a reference for certain drawing and compositional details, but when doing a larger painting in the studio, I try to have a good study to work from.
Schnackenberg Art Heritage
Johannes A. Schnackenberg
Although I never met him, I was named after my Great Grandfather Johannes Schnackenberg. He was a Master Painter from Germany who was allowed to bring his family into the United States because he was a Fine Artist. Below are some of his sketches (most of them done as Johannes traveled through Germany as a Journeyman Painter when he was 19, from 1900 to 1902).