For most of her life, Kathleen Schumacher considered herself somewhat of an academic. That all changed about seven years ago, when the former nutrition major took her first painting class.
"The instructor asked, 'How long have you been painting?' " Schumacher told The Log. "I said, 'Believe it or not, this is my first day.' She said, 'Oh my gosh, it's like you've been painting forever.' "
From that day, painting has been Schumacher's passion. Within three years, the Niceville resident and military wife became a full-time artist. Armed with oil paints and brushes, she brings canvases to life with wildlife, foliage, pets and scenes of coastal life that seem almost three-dimensional.
Schumacher's work will be on display and for sale along with several other local artists Oct. 26-27 at the Mattie Kelly Festival of the Arts at the Mattie Cultural Arts Village. She took time to visit with The Log recently and answer a few questions about her life and her work.
What inspires you most as an artist?
I would say life inspires me most, and what I see in life, the rich colors.
What is it about the Emerald Coast that attracts so many artists?
I think it's the laid-back lifestyle, the beautiful water, the beautiful reflections in the water, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
What is your favorite thing about taking part in an arts festival, such as the Mattie Kelly Festival of the Arts?
I love to share my work with others, and I love to talk about my pieces. Sometimes in the studio, I think (artists) feel lonely. We get claustrophobic. When we go out there, we can share our pieces and talk about how we create. And I love to see the emotions in people's eyes when they see my pieces in person.
How much does is stir up nerves when a lot people are going to see one of your works for the first time?
I feel like people are pleasantly surprised when they see my pieces for the first time. I don't really find it to be nervous.
If you could accomplish one thing with your work in your life, what would it be?
That's a hard question. I think it's just to create joy in people's lives and in their homes when they see my work.
Schumacher's work can be found online at schumacherfineart.com and at petportraitsbykathy.com.