Christina Smith -  Artist

FOCUSED STUDIES OF NATURE IN A UNIQUE COMBINATION OF GOUACHE & PENCIL

 A  STUDIO VISIT                                  

BIOGRAPHY 

I draw and paint to learn.  
For me, drawing and painting are the best ways to truly see.
It is slow work!  It requires that I notice things like shadow and light, subtle turns and transitions, the true and complex structure of each individual bird or plant.  Then, going beyond the surface, I work to capture that spark of individual presence that all life has.  My goal is to truly see and then communicate the unique essence of the life I'm working to portray.
I hope that my work will cause others to pause, look closely and discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.


I  grew  up in Kansas City, Missouri and started college as an art major.   Marriage and family soon  interrupted and so I am  actually self-taught.  I started exhibiting at art fairs in 1977.  My rule has been "anywhere east of the Rockies" and that has given me many happy adventures and a few challenging ones.  I've traveled by myself a lot and had flats, blown tires, blown engines, dead batteries and dead fuel pumps!  I've learned the problems always find a way to work out - but it can get interesting!

My work is a combination of gouache and pencil.  Gouache is an opaque watercolor similar to tempera.  It gives me the strong color I want and flows well enough from the brush to produce fine detail.  Many artists tell me they've had trouble working with gouache but I'm used to it and know it's ways.  Generally, I paint my subject first and then use a black colored pencil to render the foliage or landscape.  I like the contrast between the two mediums and enjoy working with both.   Ideas come in various ways.  Sometimes it's a bird I've wanted to portray for a long time and sometimes it's the twists and turns of a branch that's caught my attention.  We are fortunate to live in a wooded area a few miles from town and there is always something interesting out here.​​
 
The Ozark Mountains became my home the moment I saw them.  Northwest Arkansas is beautiful and I've hiked a lot of the trails and floated the famed Buffalo River many times.  I lived in Eureka Springs for several years and it's still one of my favorite places.  Eureka is a victorian town with a remarkable, facinating past and a quirky present.  Quicksilver - The Nature Gallery handles my work in Eureka.    If you are ever in northwest Arkansas Eureka Springs should be on your "to do" list.  Another place you should go is the new art museum, Crystal Bridges, in Bentonville.   You'll see major works by Americans like Norman Rockwell,  Winslow Homer and Andy Warhol.  Crystal Bridges handles  my work in the museum store.  
 
In 2003, I married another artist, David Curles, and because he had more stuff and a bigger house I moved from Arkansas to Georgia.  Years passed and ten grandkids popped up in Arkansas!  We were missing out.  In 2011, we bought a house in the woods just west of Fayetteville and packed up.  I now have a nature library for a backyard and established trails to explore.  When the grandkids come, they disappear down our trails and eventually reappear for food and fun with Grampa.  David teaches them art stuff and boy scout skills like slingshots, tying knots and calling in barred owls.  We specialize in sleepovers, campfires, and s'mores!
 
  This is all good and I am so grateful.