Sally Hughes Smith


Sally.jpg (68913 bytes)Painting is my bliss.  Whether it is a day spent with oils doing plein air canvases or a rainy day in my Charleston studio reworking a field sketch, it's where I want to be.  It all began with art history and fine art at Duke University, moved to  Museum of Fine Art classes in Boston, and a total visceral commitment the first time I saw the Impressionist collections in person in Paris. From that time on I have always made time for painting.  Rearing four children and working along the way, but never losing sight of my deep desire to translate the natural world and my reaction to it into paint. Picture_044.jpg (149308 bytes) I became a committed fulltime painter after discovering that I have a seriously threatening eye condition (occular histoplasmosis) in 1988.  The awareness that I do not know now and have never known since then just how long I will be able to see well enough to paint has been hugely motivating.  As scary as it has been,  I feel that ultimately it has been an extremely positive factor in keeping me highly conscious of the excruciating beauty all around us.lgLazy_Day.jpg (91975 bytes) I believe I see things with different eyes as I look through this filter. Since then I have had over 48 one-woman shows, participated in numerous group exhibits, shown in museums in the southeast, won several poster contests, was artist in residence in Florence, Italy in 2012, culminating with a one women exhibit at the Jules Maidoff Palazzo there, written and illustrated a children's book that has gone into its fourth printing , been commissioned to do the Charleston Visitors Guide cover which turned into posters and a gift line for the Charleston Aquarium, among other recognitions.  

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 The children's book I wrote and illustrated in 1999 , Rosebud Roams Charleston, has gone into it's fourth printing , has a series of attendant prints, and has spawned opportunities to speak in many forums.  My second book, The Circle, A Walk With Dementia (now in its 2nd printing), has led to my hosting 80 talk show style podcasts on the subject for the Medical University of South Carolina and has raised thousands of dollars for related research.. My deepest desire is that I will continue to paint , growing  and stretching, in my quest to honestly put  my vision on canvas and, hopefully , open other's consciousness in some small way to this mystery and celebration that I feel.


LWF0138.jpg (113803 bytes)The artist was born in Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from Duke University with a major in English and a focus in art,  and has taken continuing education classes and workshops intermittently. Along the years she has had  such diverse careers as: Chief Librarian of Duke University Chemistry Library, a fashion model, and  a career in historic restoration.  Her works are in corporate and private collections in over 200 cities across the United States and abroad.  She lives in Charleston where she and her husband have reared their four children.


Parting words to fellow artists: 
Just do it. Clear  your mind, forget all the reasons why it is  not a good time or too hard to fit in.  Just clear your mind and do it.  You will never be younger.  Be easy on yourself.   Play  with it. Just have fun.  It is not a life or death matter. I find some of the most talented people I know don't paint because they are perfectionists and it has to be right  right off.  Painting a painting is like writing a symphony in some ways, full of contrasts, highs and lows, quiet places so crescendos are more powerful, structure and balance, different textures.  There is so much to learn about composing a painting.  These are all components we can study and practice until we have an inner sense of them. Work hard, study lots, take classes and do lots of studies, be willing to make mistakes, be disciplined and daily in your  comfort with your materials, but when you go out to paint, my best advice is to clear your circuits of the world, turn and face your subject and get lost in it. Don't quit thinking, all that you have studied is there in you, but let it flow. Stop counting the steps and listen to the music. Let it tell you where to go. What  do you want to say?  What made you want to paint it? Paint that.  Otherwise just take a photo.



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