Artist and Killingworth resident Sandra E. Smith, who is exhibiting her paintings at the Killingworth Library, Liberty Bank in Clinton, and, in January, at Lyme Art Association’s Annual Associate Artist Exhibition, can't remember a time when she wasn't interested in creating something ... drawing, painting, needlework, doll making, dancing, singing, acting, and playing the piano.
“My family on both sides is right-brained, and my artistic mother always encouraged my creativity. You name an art project, and I've done it!” Sandra says.
Well known as a “plein air” landscape oil painter, Sandra maintains a studio in Killingworth. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, she has studied classical painting techniques from New England’s popular instructors: Terri Oakes Bourret, Diane Aeschliman, Karen Winslow, Gabor Svagrik, and William Duffy. Prior to becoming a “painter of nature” many years ago, Sandra competed on a national level with her original appliqué designed quilts winning many national awards, including the Connecticut winner of the Great American Quilt Contest.
Her mother said that when she was only two, Sandra took all the Christmas cards, sat in a corner looking at them over and over, and would not let anyone else look at them. History is another great interest of Sandra’s, “and most times I find myself unconsciously creating something with a story behind it,” she said.
Sandra used to compete nationally making "art quilts," but eventually developed arthritis in her hands. Artist friend Jay Folger encouraged her to take up plein air painting. Sandra says, “That was easy for me, because when we moved to Killingworth in 1969 (known as the "Wild West" back then), I fell in love with the disappearing landscape. I've been trying to paint it ever since.”
She’s not particularly interested in the marketing that every artist, she says, should be involved in. “I just love painting scenes that tell a story ... whether it be the disappearance of our beautiful landscape, a story about my family, or recording modern local history."
Sandra’s landscape paintings have won several awards in juried art shows, and her landscapes are found in private collections all across the country.
An elected member of the Madison Art Society and Clinton Art Society, Sandra always seems to be in an art show somewhere in the area. She has a solo show at Liberty Bank in Clinton, will soon be exhibiting at Lyme Art Association, and is featured at the Killingworth Library for the months of December and January.
The exhibition at Killingworth Library includes paintings of Killingworth barns, a painting of Reservoir Road just after the October 2011 snowtorm, a painting of Chatfield Hollow, and one of Parmelee Farm. There is also a painting of Killingworth's Millennium Christmas tree which went to Rockefeller Plaza (still the tallest tree Rockefeller has ever had). And, there's a painting of her neighbor's chickens being surprised on Easter morning.
Not only is Sandra exhibiting at the library but, as a fundraiser for the library, Sandra offered four of her pieces which were reproduced on different note cards depicting barns found on River Road, North Roast Meat Hill Road, and two locations on Route 81.