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StoryCorps in Oklahoma: "There are a lot of paintings under the painting..." (Jul 26, 2011)

Norman-based artists, Richard McKown and Sue Schofield met at an art workshop that Richard was instructing. Afterwards, the two began to work together and soon became close. Describing their relationship as one with many layers, like that of a great painting, the pair further illustrated how the process of painting helped them establish their friendship.

“You just got everything I was talking about,” McKown said. “You were painting that beautiful cow skull…”

Sue chimed in, “I remember you coming over with a paint brush and saying, ‘Does the line really go there? What happens if you move it over here??’ And, I painted that skull probably 9 or 10 times in that eight-week course.”

“There are a lot of paintings under the painting of that skull,” Richard said.

“And that’s like our friendship,” said Sue, “(It is like) the layering and the re-layering that we do every time we get together and start talking. We’re building a relationship exactly like we build paintings.”

After the class was over, Sue and Richard went to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Sue remembered saying, “I really need to talk to you about painting.” Then, Richard asked Sue what she thought about being his model.

“That’s exactly how it happened,” Richard said.

The pair immediately went to work… meeting twice a week.

“And typically the way that worked,” Richard stated, “is that you normally would get to our house at 6:15pm”.

“(I’d) have dinner with you, Liz and the girls,” Sue added. “And after dinner you and I would retire to the studio to take the position of painter and model, and off we go.”

“When people hear about the idea of sitting for a portrait, especially one that takes three or four months to create,” Richard said. “They have it in their head that one must sit rigid, stiff, and still. But, we talk.”

Sue added, “And if we didn’t take the time in the painting… and have our conversations, the paintings would be something entirely different. And I think part of our friendship is because we persist and we’re patient with the process of painting. We don’t always agree in our conversations. So, then we have the whole process of being patient, persisting and at the same time, knowing that in its own time, in its own cycle & rhythm, whatever our conversation is, it will evolve into something bigger and better.”

“Yes,” Richard concluded.

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