Painting in 3D: Kathy Schumacher paints the Emerald Coast

Savannah Chastain
Kathy Schumacher won the People’s Choice award in last year’s MKAF Festival of the Arts.

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is hosting the 19th annual Festival of the Arts at the MKAF Cultural Arts Village, October 25-26. The festival will feature 100 visual artists and The Log will be featuring select artists in the weeks leading up to the event.

Kathy Schumacher did not begin her artistic career the conventional way. Although she always leaned towards the creative, her passion for painting came after a lifetime of traveling the globe as a military wife and mother.

“I actually didn’t start with art until later in life,” said Schumacher. “It wasn’t until I was living in Albuquerque that I decided to take an art class. At 45 I discovered that I had a natural talent.”

Schumacher told The Log that the thriving art scene in Albuquerque gave her opportunities to dabble in different art mediums until she found her niche.

“My very first art class was in acrylic painting, but I didn’t like the quick drying of acrylic, so I took an oils class,” she said. “I like oil painting because it takes two days to dry so you can mix in other colors into the painting, so now I pretty much use exclusively oil in my work.”

First known for her realistic pet portraiture, Schumacher changed strides when she moved to the Emerald Coast two years ago.  

“When I moved back to Florida I wanted to loosen up my style so I started palette-knife painting with a more textured, almost 3D-style painting,” said Schumacher. “My style is very unique, it’s a style I’ve created myself.”

Schumacher explained that her technique involves prepping her canvas with one solid color and then layering paint over that foundation to add texture.

“I tone the under canvas and then I paint a heavy textured painting on top of that,” she said. “I also use a style known as ‘alla prima’ which is an Italian term that means wet on wet. I don’t let the coats dry before I paint on top of them, that way the colors actually mix in more when I layer them on top of one another.”

As for her inspiration, Schumacher said she uses the world around her.

“Most of my subjects are inspired by nature,” she said. “I do a lot of florals, waterscapes and animals; especially birds and fish. A lot of my subject matter is inspired by what we see around here from the beautiful surroundings of the Emerald Coast.”

Although it is only her second year on the Emerald Coast art scene, Schumacher has already turned heads in the area.

“Fortunately last year I won the ‘people’s choice’ award,” Schumacher said, referencing last year’s MKAF Festival of the Arts. “It was really my first major show and I was pleasantly surprised to be the people’s choice. As an artist I was very honored to be recognized for my work, especially by the people who attended, not just the judges; that was such an honor.” 

For more information or to see more of Schumacher’s work visit