03 Feb Stephenson Showcase: Kathryn Smith’s “Grand Souls”
Kathryn Smith was always interested in the arts, but she began as a performer—dance, acting, singing—and didn’t take her first real visual arts class until her senior year in high school. As she got into college, working toward a degree in elementary education, she realized that she preferred art even to music, which she had always loved. “But when I was thinking career – I didn’t want to do anything music related. A new program developed [at my university] – Art Education.” She was an art teacher for several years, working on art at home (commissions) and found ways to work in the art community – “I just kept painting. I just couldn’t stop.”
It’s a natural progression for teachers to go back and get their masters. Kathryn started that in 2018 and didn’t want to do anything but art. In December 2021, she will have her masters. “I don’t think I would go back to public school to teach art – so I’m doing community teaching right now.” Her choice would be to work as a freelance artist and get involved in the arts in the community in other ways, or maybe even pursue post-secondary ed, doing some adjunct teaching.
Kathryn’s exhibit is entitled “Grand Souls” and was inspired by her interest in portraiture and people. “I wanted to start with [the grandparents] as an exploration of myself, [by] getting to know them a bit more and how they’ve impacted my life in different ways.” She worked from photographs, some very old, and some of people she had never met before. “I was trying to capture their personalities – I simplified what was in the photographs. I wanted to focus more on that person and not so much everything else.”
To create these works, Kathryn sketches an outline on canvas, then applies a wash. She focuses on the face and hands, and finally what they are wearing. “Grand Souls” is the thesis for Kathryn’s last Master Class at University of Indianapolis. She has worked on this series since Fall of 2020 until August of 2021 and will be displaying it at U of I in January of 2022 before moving it to Nickel Plate Arts.
Kathryn’s personal favorite from this series is “I Used to Pick Oranges Off my Grandma’s Trees” – it’s her (as a little girl) with her step-grandma sitting on the ground with her. It’s more abstract, with a form and pattern, “I love the relationship between the two, showing that relationship between grandma/grandchild – and how innocent that is, having grandparents down on their level – a lot of people can relate. It’s meant to tell a story, not tell something realistically.”
See Kathryn’s exhibit, “Grand Souls”, from February 4-26, 2022 in the Stephenson house during regular business hours. Kathryn is open for commissions to create a truly unique portrait of someone you love. Come meet Kathryn at her reception, on February 18, 2022 from 6pm to 9pm and learn what she can create for you.