Artist Penny Smith’s show, “Nature in Motion,” is now featured at Summit Artspace on Tusc in Barberton, 571 W. Tuscarawas Ave., through Jan. 19. The show features paintings of beloved pets, wild animals and the natural world
Smith also will paint in the gallery area during the show open hours: Fridays, 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, noon 5 p.m. She will give free painting lessons on Fridays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. during the exhibit. No reservations are required.
Smith’s exhibit consists of oil and watercolor paintings that explore the daily lives and inner worlds of wild and domesticated animals, offering glimpses into domestic scenes. Smith, who’s based in Doylestown, has lived in close proximity to wild and working animals in rugged parts of the country for much of her life.
She began drawing at age 10, began selling at age 12 and became professional at age 24. She was self-taught for the most part, benefiting greatly from the instruction of local artists, whenever possible. The best education, she says, was observing her own animals and the local wildlife. Raised deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin where wildlife is plentiful, subjects at that time were predominantly deer, bears, wolves, coyotes, dogs, cats and horses.
Soon, Smith was selling wildlife paintings and was receiving a few pet portrait commissions while her “real job” at the time was logging. A few years later, she was working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in wildlife management. Both jobs provided an excellent opportunity to take photos of animals in their natural habitat.
After moving to Ohio, Smith concentrated on the pet market, adding graphics in the form of commercial sandblasted stone and redwood signs. Today, she mostly uses mediums such as oil, acrylic and watercolor. Subjects include wildlife, pet portraits, still life and graphics.
Smith said she hopes that her paintings will serve to connect viewers to the animals she depicts, creating greater consideration for the wild ones, and serving as meaningful mementos of the domesticated ones. She creates pet portraits on commission, and gives a percentage of her revenue to no-kill shelters and rescue facilities.
Her work is in numerous collections across the country. Her clients include the Vermont Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Robert Redford/ Sundance Ranch, Utah, and William Duvane, Utah.
Summit Artspace on Tusc is part of Summit Artspace, a nonprofit community art center organization that provides studio, exhibit and programming spaces in Summit County and the surrounding area for local artists and arts organizations; and is a center for art education open to all residents. For info, call (330) 376-8480 or visit www.summitartspace.org.