Brad Schmehl is an artist with a love of history and a passion for the Civil War. Today Brad and his wife Becky live in an 1885 Victorian home in Pennsylvania. Ideas for paintings come to the artist through reading history books, the diaries and letters of soldiers, visiting battlefields and historical sites, and most importantly, talking and exchanging ideas and information with the many interested and interesting people who share his sense of history.
Each of the paintings requires extensive research. Schmehl begins with a rough pencil sketch, usually done on location of the actual site or battlefield. Models are engaged to pose as various characters in the picture, then photographed. Once Schmehl is satisfied that his concept is historically accurate, he begins the actual painting process. Working in oil on canvas, the artist creates a rough underpainting. When this has dried, he overpaints the detail and refines his brushwork. Schmehl describes his technique as "painterly realism." He says, "I strive to capture the true nature of the light and color. Even while attempting to render meticulous detail, I strive to paint boldly and deliberately."
Schmehls six-part Gettysburg Series has been well received by Civil War buffs, as was the five-part Valley Campaign.