Artist Lee Smith combines abstract, primitive, expressionist, and gritty contemporary art in her work. “My style is greatly influenced by years spent in CGI production and an unapologetic love for the daily comics,” says Lee. As a keen observer, she finds her inspiration in the social aspects of life. Her work represents human emotions and portrays these emotions by illustrating the animal world, often using those popular companions—cats and dogs. In her long professional career, Lee has worked as a newspaper layout artist, a visual merchandising specialist, a freelance graphic artist, a technical illustrator, and an art director. Lee retired from the corporate world ten years ago to concentrate on her art career. “Although I studied art in college, I prefer to describe myself as 'self-taught.' Years of irreplaceable hands-on experience have provided an extensive and invaluable continuing education in the arts,” says Lee. When building her current home in Oregon, she added a small studio that she keeps organized and clutter-free. She wears her trusty paint-covered denim overall when working, and typically listens to audiobooks or podcasts. “I have dozens of paintbrushes in cans all over the studio, but I have only about 10 favorites that I always use.”
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About The Artist
My style is greatly influenced by years spent in CGI production and an unapologetic love for the daily comics. My work is a mix of abstract, primitive, expressionism and gritty contemporary art. It is a reflection of both what I see and what my mind invents.
I am a keen observer and find my inspiration in the social aspects of life. My work represents human emotions and I portray those emotions by illustrating the animal world, often using those most popular companions, cats and dogs. We all feel diverse emotions, but social constraints prevent humans from exposing them. In the animal world emotions are clearly visible, there is no pretense or subterfuge. I love how viewers and collectors instinctively link to that dynamic through the personality of each painting, each finding a unique connection to both the narrative and vivid colors.
Currently I favor acrylic heavy body paints with a dash of mixed-media thrown in. I use bold color and texture on canvas or wood panel. Paint is applied with brush, wedge, wadded paper or fingers – any tool that works best for the target effect. Medium is applied, scraped back, applied again, prodded, poked, blended… in this way I build up many layers of interest.
Every day I am impatient to get into my studio. I keep sketchbooks absolutely overflowing with ideas for new paintings. The excitement and energy of what happens during the creation process is the driving force in my art career and working every day in my studio is truly an adventure.