Grace M. Smith Artworks

Grace M. Smith Artworks

Thursday, June 24, 2021

In Bed Reading A Book

In Bed Reading A Book - 11.7" x 16.5" marker and acrylic paint on heavy weight paper

Maybe this should have been named, "The Flower That Didn't Want To Be A Flower..." It felt like a flower as I was laying down the shapes but after it was done, I saw myself reading a book in bed! Why not? 

Lately, I've been drawn to pinks, oranges, and reds. They feel soothing and comforting to me in a way blues and greens are not. At least, not right now. I really wanted to get lost in the lines and when I'd put a colour on the page, I felt it could go on forever, in every which way. It made me think of time again, how in a single moment, depending on what you're actually doing, it can feel expansive and elongated. And it gave me the odd impression that I could make time stop or rather, make it last longer, that a minute could go beyond sixty seconds, that the spaces between seconds could be stretched out...Maybe that's what's called, heaven on earth.

I like the orange red against the pink and white backdrop separated by black lines. There's a softness and an opportunity to let go, perhaps to find solace in the folds of a petal or a bed spread...a quilt over silky bed sheets...

What I find amazing about creating a piece of art is its potential therapeutic aspect. I have no care in the world when my hand - which is connected to my heart - touches the page. All pieces become extensions of myself. All pieces are attempts at resolving an inner conflict or attempts at finding peace in a troubled world. 

I find red along my path and it says, "Your Will is strong." I grab for pink and she says, "It's important to be gentle." Then I meet shades of orange and they say, "Get it all out." White comes along and reminds me to bring balance. Black reminds me how to practice the art of refinement.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Abstract

Creating abstract paintings is a liberating process. For each of these, I started out with specific colours but I didn't know what the end result would be. I never really know until I feel it's time to stop painting. I don't ever see an image in my mind. It all comes together as I put more paint on the canvas. Of course, the images are not concrete or defined. After all, they're abstract paintings...The goal becomes finding balance between the placement of colour, whatever those colours may be.

The first two paintings remind me of flames and fire. More so, in the second painting. And the heat seemed to cool off a bit once the turquoise blue was added although it also gave me the impression of dry know, the idea that something so cold can cause a burn...

The heat is somewhat subdued in the first painting by having added some pops of blue and purple. The flames feel contained. In the second, they appear to be raging.

20" x 24" acrylic paint on canvas


24" x 34" acrylic paint on canvas

22" x 27" acrylic paint on canvas

24" x 30" acrylic paint on canvas

20" x 24" acrylic paint on canvas

I'm playing with cooler colours in the bottom three and I seemed to have had a fascination with rose beige. Blue dominates all three, even in the second painting where numerous colours are being used. I like the use of burgundy and navy blue in the first one. It looks like a structure surrounding some kind of explosion. It gave me the impression of space but then also of a bird's eye view of earth.

I feel like I'm underwater in the third and then again, the aim was simply to find balance between the rose beige and the bright orange red against the blue backdrop.

In the middle painting, I was reminded of a forest or a jungle on a misty day. I could feel the lush greens all around me. It makes me want to lie down with the windows open on a rainy summer night and then go for a long walk the following day....You know that scent of green grass that fills the air when the rain has stopped? There's nothing like it...

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Ethereal


The Gift - 20" x 24" acrylic paint, string, wax, and dry flowers on canvas

Grace - 16" x 24" acrylic paint, wax and flowers on canvas

The Gift #2 - 16" x 24" acrylic paint, string, wax and dry flowers on canvas

Trouble - 20" x 24" acrylic paint on canvas

Anonymous - 18" x 24" acrylic paint on canvas

Back in 2000, I displayed the first four paintings on the walls of Indigo Books & More. I was experimenting with candle wax and dry flowers. Actually, the flowers didn't go on dry. They dried up as time went on. I was curious to see what the change would be under the wax. Essentially, the wax was used to keep the flowers in place.

I framed the first painting with a white border, which isn't depicted well here because I did a crappy job of taking and then cropping the pic. I like the balance between the yellow string and the flowers. To me, the string feels like an extension of the flowers. I used it to help contain and enclose them, as though it was somehow protection against falling or crumbling. Of course, the string doesn't do that at all. The wax is doing that job just fine. But to me, it feels like those flowers are being protected because of that string...and that makes me feel better. It looks like a gift box waiting to be unwrapped...The same goes with Gift #2. The effects of the black with the splash of red and purple candle wax, though, make me think of Valentine's Day but with a touch of dread...Do you really want to open that box?

Trouble and Anonymous are the result of my own struggle with spirituality and existentialism...having questions that can't ever really be answered. And Grace is an attempt at putting out some of that mental fire or easing it up a bit by offering some mercy and grace.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021



8.5" x 11" on medium drawing surface paper

Shirl, my step-mother-in-law, was spunky and vivacious, generous and hospitable. I drew this pic of her back in July of '99! I'll always remember how she volunteered to plan my wedding. I trusted her, never doubted once that she would deliver. The colours of that day, the ambiance and setting, the landscape, how she made it all happen, I'm sincerely grateful. She's sorely missed. She passed away this past March...

The days when we all sat around the Christmas tree - me and my husband's family - are fond memories I hold close to my heart. I enjoy thinking about them now, reminiscing about the food, the room, the lights, the rugs, the open space, the trees...the people...These memories leave such a sweet taste in my mouth. And my mind remembers some more...afternoons around the swimming pool or rides on the boat on lake Simcoe, nights around the kitchen table...feeling how it simply wasn't possible that any of it could end...feeling that somehow it would go on and on and on. Gosh, how I miss them.

Or the days we spent in Cuba because of her generosity (and my father-in-law's) are precious...even more now than at the time...when possibilities seemed eternal and never-ending. 

When we're in a moment looking towards the future, this future looks vast and feels impossible to reach, like somehow we'll just never catch up, but we do...and here it is now, without her in it.  

She had a certain look in the eye and I know I captured it here. This is Shirl. This is how I saw her, how I remember her. I thank her for being a special lady. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Gian Luca


22" x 30" acrylic paint on canvas panel

8" x 12" copy of pencil on paper

There was a fear that I wouldn't be able to duplicate his likeness. 

The original was drawn in pencil on 8"x12" paper a little over thirty years ago during a visit to Italy and provided as a gift to Gian Luca's mother (my aunt). Copies were made and given to other aunts and uncles.

The acrylic painting was created a few months later, after the trip. I believe I captured his likeness in both, and also his 'essence'.

He died when he was 20, in a car accident. I'd only met him once when I was 8 during my very first visit to Italy. I remember him but I dare not say I 'knew' him. 

I wonder whether we'd be connected today had he been alive. The truth is most likely...not. I mean, I'm not that connected to cousins living there now. I'm under no illusions and don't want to come across as inauthentic. When he died, I'm sure my cousins back home mourned him terribly. I mourned him, as well, but not in the same way.

My sadness and sense of loss here stems from a result  of an absence of possibility or opportunity at what could have been. But even so, it seems so pointless to even contemplate. His death in such a real and obvious way, allowed this moment right here, right now to exist. And, I am grateful for that. He's special and missed not because he died at such a young age but because he'll forever be immortalized. In that sense, he's always right here...unlike the living, who are over there...

Assorted Soft Pastel


18" x 24" soft pastel on premium recycled paper

I took a pic of this drawing in its can see the glare of the light in the glass. It's hanging in my mother's living room. I wanted to post this here because I fell in love with this piece. As I said somewhere else on this website, I love working with pastels! This medium was quite new to me at the time, so when I finally completed it, I marveled at how 'real' her skin appeared. It looked so soft...and the way the light hit the top of her shoulder or along the side of her body, made me feel that I'd found the perfect medium to work with. 

9" x 12" soft pastel on charcoal and pastel coloured paper

9" x 12" soft pastel on charcoal and pastel coloured paper

Well, you can't have art without some fruit and flowers! My aim was to ensure the colours were exactly  as I'd seen them. I'm still in awe of that pear...and those lilacs.

9" x 12" soft pastel on charcoal and pastel coloured paper

I decided here to work with black, white and grey. It's reminiscent of old photographs. I love how his eyes shine because of the effect of the white under the eyes but also due to the light shades of grey on the face. The pops of white on his fingers and the whites of his teeth, reflect excitement and joy. 

The Colour Of Water

Using watercolour seems to put me in a meditative state but there's no guarantee that what's produced is going to evoke that same state - one of calmness and serenity.

7" x 11" watercolour on paper

9" x 12" watercolour and ink on paper

There's a definite contrast between the first two images here. The colours are more diluted in the first arrangement while heavier set in the second. The effect of black blotches in the second drawing also creates a feeling of uneasiness and frenetic energy.

15" x 21" watercolour, ink and charcoal on paper

8" x 11" watercolour and charcoal on paper

However, I do feel calm when looking at these two. The brush went on lightly and the colours are intentional. These were painted, what feels like, a very long time ago and indeed they were - ~1995. I feel the fluidity of the lines and there aren't any real restrictions. I like the effect produced by adding white chalk/pastel to the surface in the first drawing and black chalk to the second. 

9" x 12" watercolour, ink on charcoal and pastel coloured paper with a subtle laid finish

Black ink helps to reinforce the overall depth of each piece. Purple, in general, always feels quite deep and mystical to me and along with the red, and shades of blue, it all comes together nicely. The black ink here cements this sense of unison. I enjoy the balance between the light and the dark...

I include additional abstract watercolour paintings below.

11" x 14" watercolour, ink on charcoal and pastel paper

11" x 14" watercolour, ink on charcoal and pastel paper

8" x 11"

7" x 11"

7" x 11"

In Bed Reading A Book

In Bed Reading A Book - 11.7" x 16.5" marker and acrylic paint on heavy weight paper Maybe this should have been named, "The ...