Artist’s ‘Grand Souls’ exhibit on display


Westfield artist Kathryn Smith started a project painting her grandparents and her husband Clint’s grandparents.

The project has turned into an 10-portrait exhibit called “Grand Souls” and will be on display until Feb. 26 at the Stephenson House Gallery on the Nickel Plate Arts campus in Noblesville through Feb. 26.

“I was studying portraiture and I liked the subject matter because sometimes you don’t see a lot of older people in paintings,” Smith said. “I think sometimes beauty and youth is idolized. I decided to go with a generation that is just getting older. I’m hoping to get more human portraits from this, but I’ll do dog portraits. I’ll do cars, if there is a photo reference for me to look at.”


Smith said she considers herself a part-time artist because she stays home with her two daughters, ages 5 and 2.

“I have my home studio in one of our extra bedrooms,” she said. “I just finished my master’s in art from University of Indianapolis.”

She teaches classes through The Art Lab. She was a Morristown High School art teacher for six years before she had children.

“Ever since I’ve been open for commissions again, I’ve had commission after commission,” she said. “I’ve been pretty full since August.”

Smith said if customers like the style of the “Grand Souls” paintings she will gladly do others.

Smith’s personal favorite from the series is “I Used to Pick Oranges Off my Grandma’s Trees.” It features Smith as a little girl with her step-grandma sitting on the ground with her.

Smith created most of the paintings from photos.

“I was trying to capture their personalities,” she said. “I simplified what was in the photographs. I wanted to focus more on that person and not so much everything else.”

Smith sketched an outline on canvas, then applied a wash. She focused on faces and hands, and then what they were wearing.

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