Featured Artist Shelley Smith

Artist Shelley Smith’s nostalgic oil paintings portray American architecture, highlighting unnoticed gems in the landscape. See more of her art by visiting her website.

 

"Between Happy Hours" Oil on Linen, 34" x 40" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Between Happy Hours” Oil on Linen, 34″ x 40″

 

Whether it was drawing, designing or painting, I’ve been “doing art” as long as I can remember. Keenly aware of colors, I learned them before I could talk and have an enduring affection for the most luscious and vibrant hues. I’m also magnetically drawn to aesthetics. I really like things that look good and cringe at those that don’t. Surprisingly, logic-based subjects like math and microeconomics also came naturally.

 

"Billy Goat's in Afternoon Autumn Sun" Oil on Linen, 26" x 20" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Billy Goat’s in Afternoon Autumn Sun” Oil on Linen, 26″ x 20″

 

I inherited my artistic talent and sense of humor–my spunkiness, from my mom’s genes, and my business and analytical interest from my dad’s. My mom’s dad earned an art degree, and although an artist, he preferred keeping his art in the family, opting against selling it. Instead, he earned his living first as an art teacher and then as a designer for a leather goods company. While my dad’s father initially worked as a bookkeeper, he and my dad’s mom were also entrepreneurs, later buying a cherry orchard and a beer distributorship. In addition, my grandmother’s parents owned a general store, and having descended from Bohemia, the family was truly Bohemian, although without artistic aptitude.

 

"Crossroads" Oil on Canvas, 24" x 36" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Crossroads” Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 36″

 

Growing up, my artist grandpa, taking note of my artistic endeavors, often proclaimed, “Don’t go into art, you’ll never make any money!” My mom jumped on this bandwagon too, concerned I wouldn’t be able to provide for myself. Meanwhile, my dad often visited the local office supply store, buying art supplies for me. These practices laid the groundwork for my dual vocations.

 

"End of the Line" Oil on Linen, 30" x 18" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“End of the Line” Oil on Linen, 30″ x 18″

 

When I was a sophomore in high school, a pivotal event occurred. We took a field trip to the Art Institute in Chicago. Riding a chartered bus down from Milwaukee, we had free rein to roam anywhere in the museum (or the Loop for that matter!)

 

"The Harp" Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“The Harp” Oil on Canvas, 12″ x 12″

 

It was our great fortune that an extensive Edward Hopper exhibit was on display. As I moved through the show, I was mesmerized. Hopper’s pieces were intriguing. I was traveling through America rendered in luscious colors, with dramatic sunlight and shadows. To me, the artwork was consistently, one after the other, aesthetically pleasing to my eye and fascinating. I couldn’t get enough of it.

 

"Leading Shadows" Oil on Canvas, 14" x 21" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Leading Shadows” Oil on Canvas, 14″ x 21″

 

Whether admiring “Seven AM” or “Drug Store,” the paintings were stunning. I was already starstruck when I came upon the pièce de résistance, “Nighthawks.” My jaw dropped. Talking about it, seeing it in a slideshow or in a book as I had before, wasn’t the same as seeing it in person. As I took it in, I felt this wave of utter loneliness wash down me from head to toe. I couldn’t stop looking at it and was completely amazed that a painting–a flat, two-dimensional object, without words or movement–could have such a dramatic emotional impact on me. From this point forward, I was hooked. I craved oils for myself.

 

"Winter Doorway" Oi/l on Linen, 32" x 24" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Winter Doorway” Oil on Linen, 32″ x 24″

 

This hunger for oil painting clung to me for years. Given my grandpa’s insistence that art lacked economic feasibility, I took the practical route and went to business school–twice! I earned a BA in Economics and an MBA.

 

"Tunnel Vision" Oil on Linen, 48" x 24" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Tunnel Vision” Oil on Linen, 48″ x 24″

 

Ironically, as soon as I completed my MBA, I headed to the art store and bought my first oil paints. It was as if I had served my sentence and was free. Thanks to my job in corporate America, I was able to pay for whichever oils I wanted.

 

"Eras Entwined" Oil on Linen, 54" x 40" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Eras Entwined” Oil on Linen, 54″ x 40″

 

To this day, I’m analytical in my approach to painting and design and I enjoy a great story, seeking subjects that spark the imagination or tickle my funny bone. I love making these gems look good.

 

"Neighborhood Survivor" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 22.5" by artist Shelley Smith. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Neighborhood Survivor” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 22.5″

 

My drive is best summarized by my mission statement, “My purpose in life is to create, develop and build with efficiency, while enhancing and improving the aesthetics in the world around us.” I fulfill this mission whether creating original oil paintings as the “Spunky Bohemian” or while developing business intelligence and analytics tools in corporate America.

 

Artist Shelley Smith invites you to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

 

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