Adam Smith

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Nat­u­ral se­lec­tion

Adam Smith has a spec­tac­u­lar view of the Bridger Moun­tains from his stu­dio in Boze­man, Montana, but to get some of his new­est paint­ings he had to leave the stu­dio and ven­ture out into na­ture. That’s the way it should be for a wildlife artist, he says.

“Be­ing out there in it and around it, na­ture has a way of re­ally in­spir­ing you,” Smith says, adding that fel­low wildlife artists are al­ways push­ing each other to find great view­ing spots, where the an­i­mals tend to con­gre­gate and wildlife artists tend to lurk about silently. “My dad [painter Daniel Smith] was just up there a week ago and Kyle Sims was up there re­cently, too. Just re­cently the three of us were up in Banff Na­tional Park in Canada. We all ended up shoot­ing sim­i­lar scenes, but each of our in­ter­pre­ta­tions was so unique that we pro­duced en­tirely dif­fer­ent work. Us wildlife guys like to stick to­gether be­cause we’re all bud­dies and it cre­ates a com­mu­nity where we can help each other out, and yet we each paint in our own unique ways.”

It was up in the Bridger Moun­tains where Smith was in­spired to paint On­set of Win­ter, fea­tur­ing three moun­tain goats, their fluffy white coats con­trast­ing with the white snow with bluish shad­ows in the fore­ground and the white clouds against a blue sky in the far back­ground—white on white on white. “This scene came from near Saca­gawea Peak in the Bridger Moun­tains. I try to get up there ev­ery fall, par­tic­u­larly in mid Oc­to­ber right as the snow hits,” Smith says. “On that par­tic­u­lar day there were three of them hang­ing around. It’s a pop­u­lar hik­ing area so they’re used to a hu­man pres­ence on the moun­tain so it makes it eas­ier for a pho­tog­ra­phers and artists. That was one of the best vis­its I’ve had up there. Some­times you go up and come back with noth­ing. With their coats, though, there are so many sub­tle nu­ances, es­pe­cially when you’re painting white against white. One thing I love is to get warms and cools to go up against each other when you’re painting white like that. They’re chal­leng­ing an­i­mals, po­lar bears as well, be­cause their coats have these sub­tle value changes within them. This one was pieced to­gether from sev­eral dif­fer­ent pho­tographs and I was just dy­ing to paint it.”

On­set of Win­ter will be one of seven new works Smith will be show­ing at Nat­u­ral Se­lec­tion, a new wildlife ex­hi­bi­tion of Smith’s work open­ing Septem­ber 10 at Trail­side Gal­leries in Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming. Other works in­clude On Tar­get, show­ing a lynx pad­ding through a thick blan­ket of fresh snow; The Overseer, which shows a cougar on the hunt from atop a large clus­ter of rocks cov­ered par­tially with snow; and The Rut, an up-close view of a bi­son.

Smith adds that wildlife art is a time­less genre be­cause an­i­mals are an en­dear­ing sub­ject. “Peo­ple just love an­i­mals. They are so drawn to them, and a lot of times they usu­ally have had a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence to the painting. It draws them in even fur­ther,” Smith says. “If it’s a moun­tain goat or a griz­zly, maybe they saw one in Glacier Na­tional Park. It just takes them right back. Just look at how crazy peo­ple are with their do­mes­tic pets, well it car­ries right over to the wild world as well. Wildlife art will never die. It’s an im­por­tant part of con­ser­va­tion and peo­ple will for­ever be fas­ci­nated with it.”

The Overseer, acrylic, 30 x 22”

On­set of Win­ter, acrylic, 28 x 40”

On Tar­get, acrylic, 16 x 24”

The Rut, acrylic, 15 x 16”

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