By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Susan Schmidt has been making art for as long as she can remember.
With a paintbrush in her hand, Schmidt has found her happy place creating portraits of favorite pets, wildlife pieces, and landscapes from trips out West.
But these days, she’s using her artistic skills for a higher cause.
Schmidt has created a series of paintings that raise awareness about environmental issues and the importance of voting. The subjects include renewable energy, clean water, protection for marine life and wildfires. She uses humor and vivid colors to catch the viewers attention.
“A few years ago, I got drawn to act,” she said. “I used to do a lot of porcelain paintings and painted animals and outdoors. Things are getting pretty scary, and I want to try to call people’s attention to what is happening and the consequences.”
In ‘Water Threats Threaten Everyone,’ she features manatees wearing novelty t-shirts depicting threats to their waterways.
“These t-shirt wearing manatees inspired by the GEICO commercials call your attention to declining water quality caused by humans such as plastic trash, sewage, and chemical pollution,” she said. “Manatees and other wildlife need our protection, not our company.”
Another pays homage to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” The painting, titled “Renewable Energy- Good for Us and Good for the Planet” shows a small town powered by wind turbines.
“I imagined looking out America’s asylum window of fossil fuel dependence at a better future with renewable energy,” Schmidt said. “Renewable energy – including solar, onshore and offshore wind, geothermal, and wave and tidal energy projects will help Americans be part of the climate solution while creating good-paying union jobs.”
Schmidt’s artwork is on display this month at the Midwest City Public Library. It will be shown until Sept. 30. The library features local artist every month.
Schmidt lives in northwest Oklahoma City and is a member of the Mid-Del Art Guild. She said she was approached by library staff about showcasing her work. Her work has been displayed there in the past. The current exhibit features a mix of older and new paintings.
“A lot of these paintings are large and catch your attention,” she said.
The Midwest City Public Library, 8143 E. Reno Ave., is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 – 6 p.m. Sunday.