Schlueter has been painting landscapes, primarily in Northern California, for over 45 years. In his studio in downtown Eureka and on location, Schlueter works only under natural light. With a deep understanding of color and light, Schlueter employs a contemporary edge in his composition to expertly portray Northern California’s natural beauty.
The connection between Schlueter and his subject matter has had a profound impact on his success. As a youth raised in remote Willow Creek, California, surrounded by vast forests, mountains and rivers, Schlueter spent his free time exploring uncharted territory. His initial appreciation for the natural world paved the way to his future success as an artist. Schlueter states, “I crawled around in the mountains all my life. The landscape is a big part of my own upbringing and of my soul. I spent so much time in it. I don’t have to imagine what a madrone tree looks like. I know exactly what it looks like.”
Schlueter’s early years in Northern California led him to College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California where he was an athlete, focusing primarily on football, wrestling and track. He earned a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Northern Colorado. Majoring in art, he took every art class available, but describes his greatest training as “just being a painter.” Upon graduation from the University of Northern Colorado, he moved back to California’s North Coast and began working with his father in the forest as a timber faller. Soon realizing that working full-time compromised his real passion to make art, he traded it all in to paint full-time. In fact, he spent about five years living out of his truck and camper, painting outside, and coming to nearby Arcata, California, to occasionally exhibit his work. It took about five years of this before Schlueter decided to settle down and get a studio.
Schlueter’s appreciation for the simple life is reflected in the world in which he surrounds himself. Nestled away in his cozy studio in Old Town, Eureka, he places his easel directly under a skylight, refusing to paint under anything but natural light. “I really don’t like artificial light. It changes the colors … I’m really tuned into the natural light process.”
Schlueter’s paintings, which depict the landscape of Northern California, offer a subtle array of qualities concerned with both subject matter and a pure love of design. Initially, these scenes strike the viewer as beautiful, realistic renditions of the countryside replete with intriguing trees, attractive skyscapes, bodies of water and country roads. The eye is then drawn toward the depth of the spaces created here and the liveliness they lend to the interplay of those compositional elements. This magnetic quality of his work owes to the fact that underlying his subjects is a masterful, modern approach to composition and design.
The exhibit is partially funded by a grant from the Humboldt Art Council Beverly Faben Artist Fund and by generous community donors.
A public reception for the artist will be held during Eureka Main Street’s Arts Alive Saturday, December 6th from 6 to 9 p.m. First Street Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. and closed on Thanksgiving Day and November 28. The gallery is located at 422 First Street, Eureka, California. Admission is free. School groups are encouraged to call ahead for tours. For more information, please call 707.443.6363 or go to the gallery web site at humboldt.edu/first.