Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Feature: Marty Smith

"Trolley 408" original work by Marty Smith
Today's Friday Feature is Marty Smith.  She is a local Arkansas artist.  We have only met on facebook but I'm looking forward to getting to know her.  To see more of her work visit her website.

How did you get your start what has been your artistic journey so far?

I started like many artists, drawing from an early age. I was given watercolors and paint for gifts when I was around 4-5 years old. Each summer during my childhood, my family would travel up the East Coast to visit family. I remember the long drives and drawing what I saw. It was the Blue Ridge Mountains, countrysides, city buildings, power lines  and beaches. My family and I would go to Washington D.C., New York City, Amish country in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Canada and the rocky shores of Maine. We would go to museums like the Peabody in New Haven, Connecticut. I think it started my love for nature and architecture.  During this time I would also enter art contests at school and where my dad worked, Remington Arms. In high school I took art classes taught by Helen Goodman. After high school I took a hiatus from art classes to pursue other studies, like science and history. But after some time I knew I would not be happy without creating. So I returned to art. Along with fine arts classes I took graphic design classes. I graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in Studio Art with emphasis in Painting with a minor in Digital Graphics. I would say my artistic journey has two roads parallel to each other that are equally important to me. The two roads are down the graphic design road and the fine arts road. I’ve had several jobs doing web design, magazine layout, newspaper layout, ad design and other work that keeps my technical side happy. Right now I do graphic design work for the Arkansas State Parks, which I enjoy. It’s fast paced and keeps my mind moving to think of new ways of working with text, fonts and design. It’s also great that my fine arts skills help with the designing process. The most important is that what I design is helping others and the State Parks. The other road is painting, which I’m also enjoying and continue to improve in.  I’m achieving my own individual style that has taken years to do.
"Butler Institute II" original work by Marty Smith

Where were you born?

I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I would live in Arkansas
"Dusk" original work by Marty Smith
What is your favorite thing to paint and why?

That would be a great city scene with bright colors and overwhelming detail.  the more detail the better, because it requires me to take the effort and I learn so much at the same time.  It's like a puzzle and I fill in the missing pieces and bring it to 
"Renewal" original work by Marty Smith
Can you discuss your painting techniques?

I like to paint in watercolor and oils. The techniques I use for the two are completely different.  With an oil painting I like to start the canvas in a mid tone that will show through.  Then I block in colors.  With the last being the tone that will show through.  Then I block in colors.  With the last being the details.  I don't draw the image first onto the canvas, but look at several drawings and images at the same time.  With a watercolor painting, I draw it out first on the paper and build the colors lightly.

What are your favorite paint colors?

I've discovered Daniel Smith watercolors and they are so much more pigment than anything else I've used.  With oils, I'm using Artisan and Max 2 waterbased oil and mix it with Artisan Linseed oil. Some go to colors are Cerulean Blue, Grumbacher Red, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Titanium White and Veridian.
Do you have a favorite artist?

I don't have one favorite artist because each has qualities I appreciate and have learned from.  Monet is a favorite for his use of color and expressive brush strokes.  Several artists that are favorites and inspire me are Lyonel Feininger, Cezanne, Elizabeth Weber, Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

I dont' think I have any crowning achievements.  I have different goals that I have met.  This year I had several artworks selected to be in the new Marriot Residence Inn in the Rivermarket District of Little Rock. I am in galleries, painted a mural, have been published and have won awards. Having a solo exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum was nice. 

What are 5 things you would like to have happen, dream big here:)

1.  Have art in the International Artist and Artist Magazine
2.  Travel More--I really want to go to the Grand Canyon, California, Oregon and                
3.  To do some teaching of art and see how I can help others find their artistic 
4.  Have artwork in galleries in the Western United States.
5.  To run a marathon
"Into the White" original work by Marty Smith
What would be your best advice for an upcoming artist?

Setting goals is very important.  Sometimes wonderful opportunities just happen to come our way.  But it is very important to continue improving your skills.  It's never ending dedication if you want to succeed.  It takes work, work, work and more work and don't expect a quick love of your art.  It takes time for people to recognize it and to love it.  Don't get disappointed from the rejections from shows and galleries.  Always stay positive and it will work out when it's meant to.  If you are stuck in an artistic rut, put the painting down and start something you've never done before or a style you haven't painted before and it will rekindle that fire.
"El Saltillo, Mexico" original work by Marty Smith

What's the best advice you have received?

Hard work will pay off, laziness will not.

Speed Round

Chocolate or Vanilla?  Chocolate

Dream vacation?  Hawaii

Book or movie?  I love books, but haven't had a chance to read any lately.  So I've been watching a few of my favorite old movies, like, The Women from 1939.

Favorite Author?  I don't have a favorite author, but I love autobiographies.  One of my favorites was by Lauren Bacall, "By Myself".  I love to read the stories of peoples lives.

Favorite Movie?  The Wizard of Oz

Romance or Comedy?  Romance

Favorite Dessert?  There are few desserts I don't like.  I'd say anything with fruit, chocolate, ice cream and cream cheese.

Night Owl or morning person?  Night Owl

Thank you so much Marty:)


  1. Wow! Stunning detail! And those roses... just gorgeous! :0)

  2. Nice to meet you, Marty! Your work is beautiful!

  3. Great work and post! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nice interview. I hope you get to meet her soon.

    1. Thanks Carol, I love to discover such awesome talent in my own town:)

  5. Beautiful work! I love the urban streetscapes!

  6. Great interview.. Love the street scenes...

  7. As always, Carrie...I love your interviews and so thankful that you share them with us. Marty is an amazing artist...the street scenes are beautiful!!!

  8. Congratulations Marty. Most interesting reading about you. Keep up the good work.