Painting With Purpose
Using brushstrokes to communicate
Creative genius knows no age and no boundaries, and for 26-year-old Niceville resident Krista Schumacher, that creativity became unbound at the age of 16, when her mother encouraged her to try her hand at painting. An artist herself, Krista’s mother might have had an intuition that her daughter had raw talent that was just waiting to be set free; from the very moment she took a paintbrush in hand, Krista realized that art was going to become her world.
“Art is self-expression on fire, and the most powerful art comes from the moments when you are truly at one with yourself,” Krista says. “Art heals the soul, frees the mind and empowers the heart. It’s a way of communicating your message with the entire world. You have to allow yourself to explore, experiment and express anything and everything. Make mistakes. Art has no limitations.”
Krista’s own limitlessness is displayed well in her work — bold, vibrant strokes of oil paints applied with the hand of one who clearly is letting her mind’s eye and her heart guide the brush.
“My paintings are inspired by spontaneity, relationships and the highs of the human experience, and I love to explore the element of color,” she explains. “Explorations of color” does, indeed, describe each of her paintings, whose subject matter includes everything from abstracts, to various versions of portraiture, to animals depicted with an air of whimsy.
Recognizing the importance of encouraging children to explore their own creativity, Krista decided that one of the greatest contributions she could make in the world would be to become a teacher and to focus her talent and passion not solely on the canvas in her studio, but on the canvas-like minds of the young lives around her.
“I decided to teach art because I wanted to share my passion with others,” Krista says. “What good is being blessed with a talent that you’re unwilling to share and pass on to other people?”
After attending the University of Florida and spending time in San Antonio, Texas, where she worked with Teach for America, Krista returned to the Emerald Coast in 2015 and set her focus on pursuing a career as an artist and on teaching full-time at a local elementary school. She’s truly made a “go” of it, putting her work on display locally in addition to launching an online gallery full of her vibrant pieces and taking on clients for commissioned paintings. Krista’s work has earned her notoriety not only locally, but nationwide, as well. In 2016, her talent was recognized in a way that far surpassed her wildest dreams: She was awarded Southwest Art Magazine’s “21 Under 31: Young Artists to Collect Now.”
“Finding out about the nomination was a moment of self-actualization, followed by about a million phone calls to loved ones and ear-piercing screams of excitement,” she recalls with a laugh. “Being nominated as one of the top 21 artists under the age of 31 is the ultimate achievement for a young artist, and it truly validated my career. My art is something so personal: I’m taking a slab of my heart and putting it on a canvas for the world to see. It was validation that, yes, I am an artist. Art can be a viable career, and I will be an artist for the rest of my life. Art is my purpose.”
Furthering that sense of purpose is, of course, the work she does with her students every week as she gently guides the budding artists in her classroom.
“My students really inspire me because kids have such an unbridled enthusiasm for art. They’re my daily reminders of the joy we all experience when we create. Their zest, open-mindedness and creativity are qualities that we, as adults, often need to be reminded to value.”
As Krista watches the little artists in her world push past their own boundaries, she is helping to set their “self-expression on fire,” giving them their own space in a gallery where every piece is worthy of wide acclaim.
Krista’s work is represented by The Foster Gallery at Grand Boulevard, a co-op art gallery run by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. Krista’s entire portfolio of works can be viewed and purchased online at kristaschumacherart.com.