The Arts

August 25, 2013

Lourdes Schoellkopf. On Painting Life

2009-12-31 23.00.00-109

With each stroke of the brush, Lourdes Schoellkopf recreates the tropical landscapes of the Rio Grande Valley she loves so much. “I love all of God’s creation; the trees, the flowers, and the animals,” Schoellkopf said as she welcomed us into her home in Rancho Viejo, Texas.

Her friends and family, who affectionately call her Luli, admire the life-loving and captivating personality of this native of Baja California, Mexico, whose parents relocated to the border town of Matamoros, Mexico, when she was a young girl. It was then that at the tender age of 11, she was introduced to the art of painting by Brownsville artist Maria Elena Bouchard. This was a short lived experience hindered by the passing of Schoellkopf’s father.  As time went by, Schoellkopf married and was raising two children when her fascination with the arts prompted her to reinitiate her classes with Bouchard. This time she learned how to paint on fabric, and her desire for improving her painting skills grew. Since then, she has participated in several workshops throughout the state of Texas and Mexico.

Lourdes Schoellkopf

She started painting with oil colors and later changed to watercolors, but the versatility of acrylic colors captivated her, for she could handle acrylics like oils and watercolors. Because she loves their characteristic brilliance, Schoellkopf has reintroduced oil colors to her latest work. This prolific artist has also mastered the use of encaustic painting; an ancient art consisting of using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. Schoellkopf prefers to add her own pigments instead of purchasing the already made encaustic colors when creating her works of art. She has also learned to master her palette by simply using three basic colors. “My palette is very simple, I use a cold and a warm shade of three prime colors; yellow, red and blue. I also use the color white. I do not use black, for I make my own black out of these shades. It is an old school practice not to use the color black, but we are seeing modern artists use it very effectively,” commented Schoellkopf. She always uses the same colors in all mediums, for she feels comfortable creating her own hues with her unique palette.

Like every artist, Schoellkopf admires several contemporary artists. “To me, the king of kings is Picasso, because even though we not always understand his work, he was a genius to me.” His work has influenced Schoellkopf, but it is his life that inspires her the most, for he was able to paint into his old age with great passion and skill. Other artists like Mexican Jose Luis Cuevas, who she considers a great sketcher, and impressionist William Turner have influenced Schoellkopf’s style for she considers herself an impressionist.

“I develop my paintings as I go, by adding colors where I see fit without sketching first, because I do not believe I draw well even though my teacher disagrees,” concluded Schoellkopf.  Her teacher these days is Mexican artist Joaquin Garcia Quintana, who twice a week instructs her on the history of art and new painting techniques. Painting has introduced Schoellkopf to many local artists, but it is Harlingen artist Judee Koester Soendker that she admires the most. This admiration inspired and motivated Schoellkopf to continue painting when she experienced a bout with depression after losing her beloved husband. “Judee and I paint together once a week. We have developed a great friendship that means the world to me,” stated Schoellkopf.

Her sensitivity and sensual style of painting natural landscapes has undoubtedly evolved from Schoellkopf’s extensive travel and appreciation for all living things.  Florence, Italy, and Paris, France, are two of her favorite cities because of their artistic characteristics. “The city of Paris is like a museum; it is a work of art,” she said.   Schoellkopf once sailed around the world on a three month journey that began in Los Angeles and ended in Africa. She visited New Zealand, Australia and India among other exotic destinations. She has exhibited her work at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, Tre Fratelli Restaurant in Brownsville and at El Jardin del Arte in Matamoros, Mexico. People currently admire many of her paintings throughout the public areas of Rancho Viejo Country Club.

No day goes by without Schoellkopf painting at her home studio, but never neglecting daily exercise and reading. “I am always curious. I read and paint and I’m very active, and painting relaxes me. I have this need to learn something every day, I don’t ever want to stop learning,” she said with a fervent smile. Painting to her is a way to connect with God and meditate on His many blessings. At the same time, for Schoellkopf painting is liberating, and she encourages anybody who has the desire to paint, to try it at least once, for she believes it is the only way to experience this emancipating experience.  Cheerfully, she talks about two of her grandchildren who inherited her passion for painting, and who are pursuing a career where they can develop their skill. When asked if she believes talent is a gift from God, Schoellkopf said she believes it is, but she emphasizes the fact that one has to give it all and develop those gifts. Furthermore, she suggests doing everything with enthusiasm, and not only when it comes to painting, but with everything in life.

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About the Author

Tapia - Gonzales
La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Life, art and culture, poetry, prayers, travel, and camping! yes, that's my new thing. I blame the heat and high humidity for the madness. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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