..."History is a world which is past, yet exerts its influence on us all. It is possible to visit and experience the world of history through the work of writers, filmmakers, living historians and artists. I want to help open the window on our history so that more people can share in the view."
Schmehl's paintings require extensive research. "Being an avid history reader, I have always tried to picture in my mind the events chronicled in the books I read. Taking that process to the next step, creating actual pictures, is quite a challenge." In addition to reading any available material on his subjects, Schmehl consults historical experts.
He strives to paint each element of an event (uniforms, weapons, weather conditions, time of day) to be as authentic as possible. He begins with a rough pencil sketch, usually done on location at the actual site or battlefield. Models are engaged to pose as various characters in the picture, then photographed.
Once Schmehl is satisfied that his concept is historically accurate, he begins the actual painting process. Working in oil on canvas, the artist creates a rough underpainting. When this has dried, he overpaints the details and refines his brushwork. Schmehl describes his technique as "painterly realism." "I strive to capture the true nature of the light, the color, but I make no effort to 'disguise' the brushstrokes. Even while attempting to render meticulous detail, I strive to paint boldly and deliberately."
Today, Brad Schmehl and Becky, his wife of more than ten years, live in Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River. They share their 1885 Victorian home with two cats. Brad is active in his church and plays the guitar in the worship band. He and Becky are committed Christians who are "pursuing an ever-deepening walk with God."