Mike Smith

15th Annual ARC Salon (2020-2021)

Mike Smith

United Kingdom

I live and work in Gloucestershire, England.

I studied art at Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, Wiltshire, England during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Alongside my painting I am also a musician and an experienced photographer. 

In both my music and painting I enjoy the traditional values of technique and skill in execution, and either pleasure from a beautiful image or the stimulating experience of live music. My instrument of choice is the hurdy gurdy. This instrument requires great concentration, attention to detail, and like my paintings, need endless fine tuning and adjustment for perfect results. 

I realise there are parallels between the demands of my instrument and the satisfaction I get from refining the detail in my paintings. 

Like the classicists - Leighton, Godward and Alma Tadema for example, I use light on the figure to enhance the natural form of the model. Deep shadows dramatise the atmosphere of the moment and accentuate the detail in contrasting textures of flesh and textiles. It is always important that the models in my paintings are believable, although they may appear in a dream like or theatrical setting.

I always paint with oils, sometimes on canvas but mostly on gessoed board. I hope my paintings go beyond the photographic, as the qualities of the paint and its ability to create a realtity are a great fascination to me. The female body as a classical form is capable of endless interpretations. Over the past year or so I have been painting a lot of portraits. 

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 15th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.