Skip to main content

Style Magazine

El Dorado County Artist Barbie Smith

Apr 25, 2017 04:34PM ● By Heather Becker

Oil painter Barbie Smith evokes tranquility through her expressive cityscapes and landscapes, fun still lifes and scenes of local, everyday life. A member of the Folsom Arts Association, California Art Club and Gold Country Artists’ Gallery, Smith is excited to exhibit her work at this month’s El Dorado Hills Arts Association's Spring Art Studio Tour (May 20-21). “Painting has brought more joy to my life than I could have [ever] imagined,” shares Smith. “When someone tells me that my paintings bring them joy, I feel that my work has accomplished its purpose.”

HLB: Have you always been a painter?

BS: As a child, I spent hours lying on my bedroom floor with a stack of blank paper and pencils. The drawings I produced were mostly from my imagination—people or animals, especially horses. In college, I studied art, but it wasn’t until my children were grown that I began painting with oils. I knew immediately that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I was blessed to be mentored and instructed by [many] fine artists for which I will forever be grateful.



HLB: How do you choose your subjects?  

BS:  I often feel that there’s so much to paint and so little time. Of course, there’s beauty in nature and there’s interest in architecture, but what sparks my emotion is the relationship between shape, design, color, light and the subject itself. When these elements come together in a pleasing arrangement, I can be as inspired by an old gas station as I am by a bowl of fruit. 

HLB: What are some of your major influences? 

BS:  I think our earliest memories of the art that surrounded us as children have an influence on the art we produce as adults. For me that was found in books. My mother spent hours reading to me from books filled with illustrations, which captivated my imagination and transported me to faraway places. 

HLB: Where do you go locally for inspiration? 

BS: The various access points to the American River Parkway, the historic Gold Rush towns of Folsom and Placerville, and the farmlands of Yolo County. I would like to explore some of our local vineyards and wineries as well.

HLB: Do you ever suffer from artist’s block? 

BS:  I often feel a resistance when approaching my paintings. The inspiration is not lacking; instead, it seems to be a battle against perfectionism. It’s a fear of failure. I have found the best way to overcome this is to put on my apron, step up to my easel and put that first mark of paint on the canvas. I have pushed past this resistance enough times to know that it disappears once I’m actually painting.. 

HLB: What can we expect from you in the future?

BS:  I’d like to do more traveling and painting, and I’m hoping to teach my husband to paint so we can enjoy this together. I will continue developing my skills and challenging myself to reach higher levels of proficiency in my work. Teaching classes in oil painting is also something I am considering.

By Heather L. Becker // Artwork photos courtesy of Barbie Smith. Artist photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group