Creativity came naturally to Sallie K. Smith who grew up in Ohio under the influence of her talented mother, and was further nurtured by yearly vacations to the Western states to visit an aunt who also painted. Ultimately, however, after watching both important women in her life struggle with the business side of art, Smith directed her own youthful talent toward other creative pursuits.
In her teens, Smith’s family moved to Denver where she eventually met and married her husband Jim. With her artistic goals diverted by family life, it wasn’t until after her daughter left for college that Smith was able to consider the career path she shunned in her youth. With the encouragement of her husband, she took a year long workshop – a soup-to-nuts approach to painting – with Jake Gaedtke at the Longmont Art Center, Longmont, CO.
Success came quickly, when, in 2005, after just one year of painting fulltime, galleriest Mary Williams spotted several of Smith’s paintings at a photographer’s studio. So taken by the work, Williams invited Smith to show in her Boulder gallery. In the meantime, Smith also took workshops from notable plein air painters, George Strickland, Matt Smith and Camille Prezwodek, and was accepted into Jay Moore’s highly competitive professional studies, six-month mentorship program.
Though Smith paints other subjects, she prefers landscapes, and enjoys letting the work speak for her. The gentle yet vibrant images she depicts are inspired by her favorite vistas – most notably, the mountainous views that surround her home – and reflect her reverent admiration for the land. “Nature, to me, is so perfect in every detail; it gives me peace and, at the same time, is exhilarating. I am trying to capture that ethereal sensibility in my work, knowing that these moments of solitude are often fleeting. I invite the viewer to step inside my paintings and enjoy with me these special places.”
As she continues to paint and show her work, Smith says that she is thrilled with the response from patrons and recognizes the truly amazing non-verbal connection that happens through art. She said, “Paintings speak to people for a variety of reasons. I have such a sense of gratification knowing that my art exudes a gentle spirit and joy and that I am able to share this with others.”