A child of creative parents, I was taught to sketch by my mom at an early age, spent time scavenging the neighborhood with my brother for wood and wheels to build go-carts, and got to paint still life in oils with my Aunt Helen when she visited.  My childhood was filled with crayons and paper and art supplies, hammers and nails and hunting for treasures and always thinking up new things to make.

I studied painting and illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, then worked as a graphic designer for a year before moving to Wisconsin.  Before I could find a ‘real job’ as planned, several art fairs produced enough portrait commission and illustration work to pay the bills, and I found myself supported by creating art.  I worked primarily in watercolor until an experimental pastel portrait opened the door to a love for bolder color.

Stepping back from the deadlines to raise my family, I discovered that creativity is not something you do, it is who you are.  During that time, pastels and watercolors were traded for broken pieces of vintage china and jewelry, glass, rocks and small treasures to work with.  I also began to teach art to my own kids which blossomed into classes for other children, and found that I love to teach.

During those years of experimentation I gained an appreciation for abstract art, but for a painter with very traditional training it was a challenge to turn off the detail and the need to make everything look like something.  I began to experiment with picassiette—a form of mosaic which uses found objects and broken crockery, which was very different from previous work and stretched my creativity.  Repurposed jewelry was inspired by vintage pieces that were part of the growing stash.

My quest to produce abstract work continued, and mosaic became a wonderful bridge.  Pieces of glass and china and found objects do not lend themselves to realism.  I discovered that the goal was to learn to play and not work so hard at creating.  Mosaic was the happy medium… and now, after several years of attending workshops, I am beginning to really enjoy painting abstract as well.

So. Painting, mosaic, jewelry, or sculpture?  There are so many possibilities and discoveries, I will just describe my work as In Process.  I love to experiment-try new things combined with the old… and would like to invite you into the journey.

©2019 by Luann Roberts Smith