Karen Schmeiser: Journey of Faith
About Karen schmeiser
About Karen Schmeiser
Karen’s philosophy, as demonstrated in her art, is that “anything in life worth doing requires the heart, might, mind and soul”. Following the tradition of the Old Masters, each painting requires hundreds of hours of planning, charcoaling, underpainting, applying color glazes and flesh, then adding finishing touches until each evolves into a masterful work of art.
After attending classes which taught more present day methods and techniques, Karen
always felt that there was something lacking; a real knowledge and skill in painting the human form, depth of color and that rich luminosity found in the Old Masters. She found the art methods that truly touched her heart and soul with the internationally known and revered master artist and teacher, Frank Covino. This is where she found her passion for the portrait art of masters such as Vermeer, Rubens, Di Vinci, Michelangelo, and many others; it was like coming home!
Karen’s training under Frank Covino lasted for eleven years, until his death in 2016. During most of those years she was his Arizona Coordinator, where she organized his workshops. Frank was a graduate of the famed Pratt Institute in New York. In his early years Frank was hired to teach the portrait course in the famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut. Three years later he started his own art academy and dedicated the rest of his life to learning and teaching the methods and techniques of the Old Masters, which had been virtually lost for many decades.
Karen’s own journey has progressed from discovering that she had a talent for drawing at the age of thirteen to establishing her own mural business, teaching youth, ages six to eighteen, art classes for over a decade, to being chosen to paint Temple Murals for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. After five years of training with Frank, he told Karen that she should begin teaching these methods, which she continues to do today, under the title Art of The Masters, as a tribute to Frank and to help continue his legacy.
Bio Source: artofthemasters.org
Can you give us a little background on your Journey of Faith you did journeys of faith, how many paintings are inside of that?
Okay, there’s five paintings. And if you want to know a little background on that, okay, I was in the middle of a divorce after 41 years, a very difficult marriage. And I got called on a mission for my church, and that was to paint murals for the Baton Rouge and Philadelphia temples. And it became a time of Keeling for one thing that was really something that I particularly needed. During that time, I found peace, I found joy. And during that time, I lived with a couple, Susan and David Edwards. And Susan was also serving that same mission. And so we would drive together up to a little town called Wallsburg, where we would paint murals. And one day when we were driving there, she turned to me and Susan said, you need to paint your story. It really kind of took me aback at first, like what do you mean? And she said, You need to paint your story. And you need to be the model. And as I thought about this concept of painting my story and what that look like, journey of faith came to mind. Um, I am a woman of great faith. And I believe that that is what helped me through Many, many difficult years, and challenges. And so I started planning out a series of paintings that would tell my story. And I ended up with five.
So walk me through the first painting, I believe is it called?
broken? broken? Okay, so broken is the first in the series, this really is the hardest for me to share, because I was the model for it. And I had to go back to that place of despair, and sorrow, and, but it is a place that we all go to. And we are all broken, sometime in our life. And I believe that it is when we’re truly broken, that we can really turn to the Lord and move on with our life. In this painting, you’ll see that this woman is alone, as we often feel alone, right? When we are in despair. We feel all alone, and like no one cares. And the world around her is barren, and Rocky, and there is a storm overhead. And that represents the trials that we go through in life. If you look at what she is doing, she’s clutching chains around her neck. And these are the things that keep us down, that bring sorrow and despair into our life, like sin. Death, you know, loss of job, addictions, prison, I mean, you name it, there’s so many things that bring us down to that point of sorrow and despair, the pot, which is broken, I love that pot. It represents broken hopes and shattered dreams. And that’s a hard place to be in. And it was, it was difficult modeling for that. Because it was a place I never wanted to revisit. But I knew that as an artist, I could not use a model and say, Show me despair. Show me what I went through, show me what my life was like, I couldn’t do that. You know, Susan was right, I needed to be the model for these paintings.
So recently had a discussion about you as somebody who is in a real struggle during your life, and it related to family. A, they were contemplating, they’re reflecting I think the pandemic was playing into this. And so we had this discussion, and we had the discussion of where you go to for healing. And in and it was interesting, this individual said, Well, she said, I, I’m a member of this faith, but I never really drawn on my faith. They’re drawn on my prayers. And so there was a certain amount of emptiness. So as you’re as you’re broken, you you’re being healed by someone standing next to you walk through that, that process of how that person comes into your picture of being broken. And how are you?
Okay? Okay. So if you look at the second painting, which is actually the woman holding the candle, this is called seeking the light. And this is what we have to do. We have to be actively seeking, we can’t sit back, waiting for God to come to us, we have to go to him. And when we’re broken, that’s when we truly can turn to him. Because we don’t have anything else. Right? There’s nothing else. So you turn to God. And you look for his answers you pray. Prayer is, you know, the souls sincere desire, sincerely open your heart, and share with Heavenly Father those things that are troubling you and those things that you need answers to. And as you do that, we go to the third painting, which I call cleansing the inner vessel. And I’ll tell you about that in just a second. But I would like to share with you how this one came to be because this one was not part of the original plan. But while I was on my mission, I had the opportunity when my divorce was Final of meeting, the most wonderful man in the world. Ouch, miser. And we married while I was on my mission. And he has become my greatest supporter, the greatest sounding board for me. And he came to me one day. And I had these four paintings all planned out, right? owl came to me and said, Karen, there’s a painting missing. And it’s right here in the middle. I don’t know what it looks like, I don’t know its name. But I know that there’s a painting missing, and it goes right here. And he was right. He was right. So I was out running early one morning, and it was quiet out little traffic, and the sun was rising. And I felt the warmth of the sun on my face. And my thoughts turned to the other son, the Son of God. And I have left him out of the story. And he is the underlying story, he is everything. He is the beginning, he is the end, he is the light. And when I realized that,
I knew that cleansing the inner vessel was the name of that painting. And I just didn’t realize how long it would take me to actually conceptualize that painting. I went to Utah for two photoshoots with Susan, because she photographed three of the others. And I would bring them home. And I’d be so excited. You know, look out look at these beautiful paintings. Look at these beautiful photos. And each time he just sorrowfully shook his head and said, They’re beautiful photos. But I know that they don’t say what you’re trying to convey. And he was right. He was absolutely right. And one day, it came to me what this painting needed to look like. And that’s what you see today. It was Al’s idea at the photo shoot, to put to dress my brother in law as the Savior and have his hand on my shoulder. Because this kind of answers your question before. The Lord is always there. He’s always waiting. He’s always there with us. And sometimes when things are really, really at their most difficult, we sometimes forget that. And we don’t turn to Him. And that’s why it’s so important that we seek His light, and that we turn to him and cleansing the inner vessel. What that tells us is that we need to look inside ourselves, instead of saying, look at everything wrong in my life, you know, look inside and say, Heavenly Father, what is it you want me to change? How can I be better? And as I have done this, even when people have hurt me, or send me things, and I would feel probably justified being angry, right? But no, when we turn inside and say what is it I need to change? That’s when true change comes. And that’s when the Lord can really work with us. And I love that this has become one of my favorite paintings, because it’s a part of our lives every day. It never ends. We’re not always broken. But we’re always needing to work on ourselves and improve
the third painting after finding the light, and what is the inspiration for that?
Um, well, that’s the one we just talked about. And I really, you know, I just thought of so many different options, different, you know, ways, different paths that I could go down trying to visualize cleansing the inner vessel, you know, a woman at the water with a holding vessel that didn’t work out beautiful photos, but it didn’t work out, just tried a bunch of different things. I would sit and draw, I prayed about it. I prayed about it every day that heavenly father would help me to know what that looked like. And it wasn’t any particular event or thing that happened or someone that I listened to. But I just had this vision of this woman holding this pot, putting a rag in her hand because that represents you know, cleansing the vessel is cleaning our inner self. And that’s really how that came about.
The fourth painting, yes,
the fourth painting is called you shall obtain. And I love this painting, it’s some, it’s different than the others, right? When you look at it, it’s painted in all white values except for the part. And an art, we call that a high key painting. And a high key painting makes you think of innocence and light, and security, happiness, joy. And you can see that on her face, right? You can see the joy that she is feeling. And that’s a joy that I found on my mission, a piece that I had been seeking for, for years and years, and I couldn’t find that I was able to find on my mission. And so it was really easy to, to paint that painting. Because that’s how I felt every day, I just, I became filled with joy, and happiness and peace, and being alive and, and knowing that my heavenly father loved me. And that he was with me on this journey through life. Especially during those difficult times, when I felt like I was all alone. Looking back, I know that he was always there.
You know, Karen, there in today’s world, and we’re up to painting for right now. But what I’m finding, and I’m having more frequent discussions, there’s been this concept that two things that you avoid bringing into conversations are politics and religion. And it’s because the lines are drawn, they’re drawn really hard and, and fast, and you can change yourself, you can change your opinions, but you’re not going to change the opinion of the other person. So, but what I’ve noticed is that when we are inside of a pandemic, inside of this information overload, and its meaning a lot of things, a lot of people in different ways, same set of facts, people respond differently. But the things I, I personally hold to, as I said, we’re just at the beginning of something that is going to grow and be more defined and in pronounced. And I said, so I throw this idea out there that by talking to people of other political parties of their religions, and Christian, non Christian and, and, you know, atheist, they have, they all have I said, but one of the things that I’m finding is, I think as we go through this together, we’re all going through the same experience. We’re going to learn to draw on each other’s relationships will value the relationships more, and will value the fact that we, we also have different spiritual gifts, and we’ll be more free to talk about spirituality, and everyone has responded. We feel the same way. We the same way. And it’s interesting, it’s, it’s so your the timing of your painting coming up the journey of faith, because I know I’m seeing a lot right now and suicide and depression, anxiety is rampant. And I feel it’s not by accident that these paintings are there. So let’s jump into the fifth painting.
Okay, so the fifth painting is called one of the least of these. And the Lord says that if we do it unto one of the least of these, we have done it unto them. And most people might think, well, this is you know, the last painting was the end, right? You find happiness, joy, peace, and that’s it, right? But no, that’s not true at all. Especially, like Elon said, in today’s world, we need to help each other. And there’s many ways to do that. One of the least of these represents to me, how we learn from our mistakes, from our trials from our challenges that we go through. And when someone else is hurting, we can comfort them because we’ve been there. The older woman in the painting, you know, represents a mother, a grandmother, a grandfather or a father, a teacher, a leader, a guide, and she is guiding this young innocent person who you If you look at the younger girl, she’s dressed in white, which signifies her innocence. And she’s afraid if you look at her eyes, you can see the fear in her eyes. Yet she has her arms wrapped tightly around the woman, because she knows in who she can trust. And the woman is once more out in the storm, showing this younger person the way because she’s been there before she knows the way. And I think we have to this is a time when we really need to reach out, when we need to open up about trials in our lives and not keep things hidden. I found that was one mistake I made from day one of my first marriage was that everything was kept silent, hidden under the carpet. And when we talk about our problems, people are able to relate to us and learn from our journey. And you know, when this journey of faith was first conceived, my first thought, when I knew that I was going to paint this series, my first thought was that I needed to share it. And so I love having an opportunity to share my journey. And, you know, I hope that each of you as listeners can draw from that strength that I have found. And that faith that I have in God, and in my Savior, Jesus Christ, because I know that that is the only true way that we can find happiness and joy and peace, that we can recover from all the many sorrows that we go through in this life, even during the pandemic, you know, and reaching out and talking to others, just really, really helps a lot. And we need these stories of faith and, you know, these stories that can help motivate us. I know I personally love them. And I know that stories that I have heard through the years and examples that other people have set for me, have really helped me on my path.
And it’s beautiful. Karen, thank you so much for being with us here today. I’ve been visiting here today with Karen Schmeiser. We’ve been talking about her newest series of paintings, a Journey of Faith. For More information visit Karen’s website at: www.artofthemasters.org
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest updates and videos of American Dreams