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"

Lines & Shadows


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

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

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

These three were created around the same time, back in 2003, for an art show. Just like photographs, they're very nostalgic to look at. But, another layer of nostalgia is brought to the surface remembering some of the lines it took to get to the finished piece. We see shadows, light and dark lines, dark shades, soft surfaces. While a photograph is taken in an instant, the relationship that ensues as a result of this intimate connection with lines and shapes, that make what we call 'objects', brings back, for me, a more innocent time...when we were all much younger...I can see that in the hands here and the faces above. 

8" x 9.5" on paper

I can't recall when this was done - perhaps, when I was 16 or 17 years of age. This is my younger brother; we are nine years apart. It doesn't matter how much time goes by and it's kind of silly to admit but upon looking at this after so much time, I realize this is still how I see him! Except he's almost 40!! In any case, I remember when I drew this, how it felt to make sure I got the lines and shadows just right... 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Dancing Lady

I had no intention to create a dancing lady...she just appeared. I went back and forth in the opposite direction to create these lines which gave me the impression of a person moving in circles...That's when I saw her body and where the dress would be attached.

I decided on bright pink, red and orange because they're vibrant and active. Also, expressive and alive!

She's got so much energy and moving at high speed, she might just fly away. 


The Queen of Luxury - 18" x 24" soft pastel on premium recycled paper

The Queen of Luxury 2 - 18" x 24" soft pastel on premium recycled paper

I created these many years ago and around the same time...Queen of Luxury 2 was later submitted in 2015 for the 5th Aeclectic Tarot Forum's Collaboration deck. 

It was while drawing these two pieces that I discovered how much I enjoyed using soft pastels. As I said in another post, the freedom I experience when using this particular medium is unlike anything else.

I named her the Queen of Luxury because she IS luxurious and...sensual. Think about what it means to be sensual...not sexual...but sensual. There's a big difference.


Anxiety - Part 2


18" x 24" soft pastel on premium recycled paper

18" x 24" soft pastel on premium recycled paper

18" x 24" soft pastel on premium recycled paper

I drew these during my anxiety phase - see "Anxiety" post. A few years before that, I discovered my love of soft pastels. The freedom using this medium is extraordinary. I found myself using my fingers to blend and then blend some more. I enjoy drawing the human body, specifically focusing on the skin and tone. 

I thought, why not draw some mermaids? I thought of my love of water as a purifying element. It evokes themes of spirituality and serenity, but also of depth and mystery.

Anxiety made me feel helpless, distorted and ugly. These drawings are my attempt at finding strength and being able to see beauty during difficult times.

The first drawing was also a part of the 5th Aeclectic Tarot Forum's Collaboration deck. She represents courage and I must say, she's a bit hard core. She's got upper body vitality and I made sure to give her a strong jaw line, making her less 'soft' in order to project this kind of 'don't mess with me' attitude.



12" x 16" acrylic paint on acrylic painting paper

12" x 16" acrylic paint on acrylic painting paper

12" x 16" acrylic paint on acrylic painting paper

12" x 16" acrylic paint on acrylic painting paper

These are a series of paintings I created in 2014 when I was suffering from a high level of anxiety. I had never experienced anxiety or frequent panic attacks before so being faced with something I didn't understand was terrifying to me. As time went on and I did some research, I realized that the only way to get out of my own head was to do something I enjoyed. Of course, the desire to do anything at first is very low because the symptoms are just so feels powerless against them. I was reassured though to keep going, to engage in activities in order to break the loop of anxiety. 

I'm not surprised here at the colours I chose. I think of the bottom of the ocean when I look at the first two or deep space where there is no sound, no noise. They appear dream-like now...tranquil, peaceful. 

I do recall experimenting with texture in the fourth image. I enjoyed slathering on the paint...the thicker I laid it on, the better.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Grey Zone

After Birth - 11" x 14" marker on bristol vellum surface

I remember the day I was born...not the whole of the day. Who remembers what they had for breakfast or lunch yesterday? I remember snippets. While I didn't have the language to describe then what I saw and how I was feeling, I do now. I saw the ceiling. The environment felt white and grey. I heard voices. I must have been picked up because suddenly I could feel myself being wrapped in a blanket. It felt like someone was swaddling me. I felt constricted and unable to move my arms. Then I saw a flash of light (which must have been when a picture was taken of me). I did not feel 'happy' when I was first introduced to this world. There are times I really believe I've been working out this trauma my whole life!

Trying to put a feeling or a state of being down on paper is a moving process for me. It requires that one goes within. You're not simply recalling a moment. Memory is very much tied in to a sense. There are a handful of moments we remember and others we do not. I've asked myself over the years why that is and it must be because we're present to the ones we remember with our entire being. Most of us remember the really good moments and the very bad. Extremes will do that. But, what about all those moments in between? When we're taking out the garbage, washing our clothes, watching television and having breakfast? We tend not to be present to the 'ordinary' or to 'routine'. And the bad experiences tend to jolt us back into the present. I think that's why they're sometimes called, 'wake up calls'. They wake us up from our slumber and our daily automatic state.

It's been argued that a newborn can't possibly remember the day they were born, that there's a reason we don't remember much between the ages of 0 and 7. The brain is wiped clean because otherwise, there would be too much memory to store. 

I remember moments right before I turned 2 years the sun hit my face and the warmth I felt, how the laughter of my mother made me happy, how the dress felt against my skin (I sensed it was a pretty dress), how happy I was while sitting on my father's gold-coloured car as someone took a pic. It was as if I was experiencing or being introduced to nature for the first time. It all felt so new to me...and there was an excitement, a curiosity about it all. I miss that kind of wonderment. I find myself having to 'turn it on' in order to be able to experience consciously looking at something from a different perspective. 

I name this an aspect of the grey zone because I didn't 'feel' colour or rather, the primary colours. The greyness here represents some sadness, fear and a dull kind of ache. Awareness of myself and my surroundings in that moment wasn't a pleasant experience. 

Splashes of colour were introduced a little later which brought so much relief. Here, the colour green is outside of my perceptual view...

Man With Gun - 11" x 14" marker on bristol vellum surface

I combined these entries because they each have shades of grey to them. I experienced a similar feeling the day I was robbed at gunpoint. The dull ache became evident. I was in a fret to get to work and in that fret over nothing, I was forced back into the present by the presence of a gun pointed at my chest. 

It was a spring morning, no one in sight except for me and the gunman. I can't tell you how many times I'd walked down this residential street with construction workers everywhere...but not that day. It was warm though cloudy and overcast. 

A mentor had asked me a little after this episode to try to think why 'this had to happen'. I've thought about it over the years and still have no answers. I've grown tired of platitudes and fake positivity. We add meaning to the things that happen to us. I'm not interested in hearing about how everything happens for a reason. It provides no comfort. I figure it's what we tell ourselves out of fear that more than this, there's 'nothing'. I believe in cause and effect, yes, but if you're going to try to explain to me that there's a divine reason for everything that happens, it doesn't ring true, not in the way it used to. And perhaps, that realization is both terrifying and liberating but that's for another post, another discussion. I just feel that it's minimizing, diminishing and invalidating to have someone else tell me how I should feel about 'my' traumatic experience. Truth is our actions have consequences and every decision we make and every action we take leads to a specific outcome. Everything is exactly how it's supposed to be, though not necessarily how we think it 'should' be.

Having said that, it doesn't mean I didn't feel or sense something in the moment that might be deemed 'divine'. My senses heightened. I could feel the whole of myself. No, my life didn't flash before me. "I" flashed before me. When they say it feels like time is standing still, that's true. A moment felt eternal, expansive, filling up the frame of my experience. I was the calmest I'd ever been. My heart was beating outside of my chest but I was present to every gesture, conscious of every movement I took, conscious of my body, how I stood, how my hands felt, the clothes against my skin...and aware of him and that gun. I was also aware of a presence on my right and my left. The best way to describe it even looking back on it now, is that I felt there were wings on either side of me...long and wide, stretching out horizontally. I could feel them out of the corner of my eye. 

Here again, I use the same colour's my depiction of peace and calm in the presence of uncertainty, doubt and fear. It represents my life. But, this 'life', this 'peace' are being threatened by the actions of another. The fear here is that the entire page will soon be covered in black...that "I" will cease to exist.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Control and Containment


11" x 14" marker on bristol vellum surface

I love the texture that was created from layering colour on top of colour on top of colour. I started off with a specific colour only to see it become something else. Some blue grey is situated on the left hand side. I feel like a bird looking down...I notice what looks like a star, also on the left hand side of the page. I appear to be striving towards control, containment and balance. This composition also helps me sigh which I consider to be a good thing.

11.7" x 16.5" marker on heavyweight paper

Similar colours showed up in this drawing as in the first except for pops of orange and royal blue. Themes of balance and containment also exists here. However, the containment here is unlike the kind in the first drawing. Had the paper been larger, I can see this drawing going on infinitely. The landscape in the first drawing is being enveloped by its surroundings. Here, we see a landscape surrounded by space...

11" x 14" marker on bristol vellum surface

The original piece has a dark border around it but I left it out as I cropped the piece for the blog...So, dark navy blue framed this specific landscape. It felt 'right' to my eye to do that and 'complete'. I'm not sure whether it's due to the choice of colour here. I didn't feel the need to frame the drawing in the image above the way I did with this one. In any case, it's here without the border...and therefore, creates a similar effect - for me - as the one above. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021


I created these back in February of 2021. I began exploring with marker to see what effects I could produce. My Art is an attempt to explore what's going on inside. Other times, I just want to see 'what happens' when I add specific colours on the page, when I use certain shapes, when I combine images with ones that make no sense. I love playing with's evident here. 

There was so much going on much darkness, sadness, a yearning for something 'more' but what is this 'more'? What is it? Does it have a name? It's been stressful for most of us. The pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways, on so many fronts. I typically deal with things by writing them down but I can't say that was true in 2020. For the most part, I played things over and over in my mind, hoping I could resolve what was happening. But of course, it was no use. I just kept moving in circles and deeper into the abyss with no light in sight. That's what it felt like. I couldn't see the light. I'd forgotten how powerful the creative process can be. There had been a part of me that felt it was all so pointless. I pushed myself one day and I must credit my husband for that. He pushes me everyday, no joke, to get back to self-expression, to 'my' the Art I had abandoned for far too long.
10" x 7.6" marker on mix media paper

I longed for a new chapter to begin with the first drawing. I see a tropical force thriving and burning bright. The pops of green and all that can see clearly how much desire and passion there was for something new to burst open and change the landscape of my life. There's something very organic about it. 
10" x 7.6" marker on mix media paper

In the second, I drew a tree. I often see myself sitting by a tree and since it was February, I felt spring was near and I was anticipating what that spring air would smell and feel like. Enveloped by darkness, there are flowers, fresh earth and soil not quite ready to be received. After all, it was winter...cold, dark and grey. But I insisted the brightness was still there even though I could not see it in nature. It was always there. 
10" x 7.6" marker on mix media paper

The third drawing looks similar to me with the second. The black of the drawings is a reflection of an emptiness...a kind of black hole that if not kept in check, can suck me in whole. But then look at all those swirls. I see them as lines fighting against their cage, fighting against resistance. They resist this feeling of restriction by changing shape, by adapting to their surroundings.
10" x 7.6" marker on mix media paper

The final drawing resembles a bit of the spirit of the first one with all of the bright colours and unlike any of the others, in that my only interest was in drawing circles and a single flower right in the middle of the page. Circles feel eternal and flowers, too. Though they die in the fall, they rise again in the spring, as though they'd never died at all. There's something to that, to that notion, that thought...It's filled with hope, with possibility, with momentum. It's a cycle that never ends. I'll leave it at that.

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 ...