Artist Information for Sarah Ann Smith

My birthplace was a geographical accident: I should have been born in Maine. After living all over the world and moving way too many times, I finally found home when we arrived in 2004. In less than two years, Maine was mine, and I am Maine’s. It’s every day beauty in all seasons inspire my work, as do my family and our animals.

When I grew up, I was not one of those “natural born” artists—I envied them and wanted to be one of them. I just had to work to get where I wanted to be. Life, university and a professional life interfered, but finally when I hit my 40s, I began to make time for art. Since then, I have taught myself and taken online courses to improve. I figure if I don’t learn something from each piece, I’m not working hard enough.

Playing with color, cloth, dye, paint, line, shape, form, light and shadow is simply pure joy.

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Joshua36" x 48"  

Can you imagine a teenage boy letting his mom sit on the floor of his room and take pictures for 45 straight minutes?  Well, it happened!  The result is this quilt, which I believe is the best piece I have made to date. 

2010 marked the first year the Dinner @ 8 Artists invited me to participate in their juried invitational exhibit, this year with the theme "Beneath the Surface."  I knew I wanted to do a portrait, so I thought "What is beneath the surface of a teenage boy?"  The answer: 

Some things are obvious:  music, food, girls, friends, food, school, food, girls, food.  Others are not so obvious:  the man he is becoming--kind, compassionate, interesting, fnny, breathing music in his soul, argumentative, loyal, smart, curious, honest, lovoing and loved.  "Mom?  Can you fix me something to eat?"

She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea

She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea59" x 80"  

For several years I have been taking pictures of the ocean, especially the Pacific, crashing on the shore. As a wee girl my elderly father would take me to the beach after school, even on foggy, stormy days.  I have since loved those deserted beaches and the powerful waves thundering as they reach the cliffs and land.  

I dyed the fabrics for the distant and near ocean, and used commercial batiks as well as my hand-dyeds for the cliffs and breaking waves.  

Milkweed, No. 1

Milkweed, No. 130" x 41"  

In the Collection of Frank Klein.

For a number of years now I've been enchanted by the bizarre appearance of the milkweed pod.  The wild flower is unassuming, a rather drab mauve.  But the peculiar branching nature of the subsequent seedpod and the glorious seeds themselves, borne on wisps of silk, entrance me.  They white silks are so soft, and just the slightest breeze will catch and float the seeds across acres to land in their new homes.  To some gardeners, they are invasive weeds to be yanked.  I wait for their autumn beauty!

Eli, Cross Country 2013

Eli, Cross Country 201324" x 60"  

Made for the 2014 Dinner@8 Juried Invitational Exhibit, Reflections.  For once, I decided not to interpret a theme literally.  Instead, I thought about how I love to see the reflection of my father's shoulders and hands, of my husband's athleticism, in our son Eli. 

When I stop to think about how quickly time has evaporated--I wonder where the past 25 years have gone in a whoosh--I am nearly paralyzed.  Like me, Eli prefers to DO, not ponder.  He is literally running headlong into his future. 

In addition to being a top-tier wrestler, Eli is a top ten percent runner, expecially in Cross Country.  He mused a few years ago, gee, I may be a two-sport athlete.  Since the pieces for the exhibit needed to be 24 inches wide by 60 inches long, the format wasn't really amenable to a good wrestling portrait, but it was perfect for a runner.  This scene is a composite of a couple photos.  Eli's image is taken from a meet at Belfast (Maine), one of his favorite courses.  But I wanted the scene to be a "home" meet, in the woods behind Camden Hills Regional High School.  This path is one where spectators gather as the kids run past several times, first into the woods, then we turn to the right and watch as they loop back around. 

I dyed the reds for his uniform, the skin tones, and some of the foliage fabrics.  The rest are commercial batiks.  Intensely machine quilted on my Janome 8900.

Descended From the Stars

Descended From the Stars40" x 40"  

What is life but a labyrinth, travelling around the sun and through the seasons?   When the call for entry came I knew the quote by Mirza Khan, a teacher at my alma mater San Domenico, was perfect.  When my sons were small, they walked around the sun on their birthdays at Montessori School, so the sun symbolizes our journey as we travel around it and through the seasons each year.  From my early love of calligraphy to quilts, textile art, dyeing and collage, the quilt embodies my art journey, but also symbolizes where I have been, who I have become, and the people, places and things most dear in my life.