Macon-based artist featured in March First Friday exhibit
By Kathryn Purcell
While he currently resides in Macon, First Friday featured artist Lewis Smith’s connections to Madison begin in his childhood.
Smith’s grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Atkinson, once lived on North Main Street. Mr. Atkinson owned and operated the Morgan County Freezer Locker, according to Smith.
“I spent many summers in Madison as a young person visiting my grandparents, and feel like I practically grew up there,” Smith said, in an e-mail interview.
Since his childhood, Smith has since returned to Morgan County and currently owns property on Brownwood Road.
A painter, whose preferred media are oil and pastel, Smith draws inspiration from his experience here.
“Most of my inspiration comes from settings and material which I find in the vicinity of Madison, and throughout Morgan County,” Smith said.
Smith specializes in the painting of antebellum homes, rural Georgia landscapes and wildlife and equine subjects.
“For architectural paintings, I try to choose subjects that portray the grandeur of our Southern heritage,” Smith said. “When painting landscapes, I choose subject material in which I sense a feeling of solitude, and I try to incorporate an awareness of the magnificence of creation to the viewer. My wildlife and horses are selected for their regal bearing or for the restrained power and energy these animals possess.”
Even within his various areas of interest, Smith chooses different media to paint different subject matter.
“I especially enjoy painting thoroughbred horse portraits, most of which are done in pastels because they give me the opportunity to incorporate vibrant and intense colors while still retaining a refined look,” Smith said. “Most of my architectural paintings and landscapes are done in oil, and are frequently painted in a wide format that enables the viewer to experience the broad expanse of the land…My inspiration comes from the deep appreciation of the beauty in creation, particularly as it relates to the land itself, and the uninterrupted expanse of the sky.”
Smith paintings are often on display at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon as well as having been featured in numerous private gallery events, he said. Smith has work in private homes and collections throughout the state, including the home of state Senator Cecil Stanton.
Locally, through connections with the Madison Artists Guild, Smith’s work has been shown at the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art in Buckhead and is currently on display in the James Madison Inn in Madison.
“I am honored to be a member of the Madison Artists Guild, and to be the featured artist for March,” Smith said. “I am especially grateful for the opportunity to be part of this very active and forward-thinking group of highly talented individuals.”
The opening of this month’s First Friday exhibit, sponsored by the Madison Artists Guild and The Shops at the Ice House Underground, will be held on Friday, March 7, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Shops at the Ice House Underground, located at 271 West Washington Street in Madison. As with past First Friday events, wine and refreshments will be served. Further, there is no cost to attend.
To see examples of Smith’s work, visit the Madison Artists Guild Web site at www.madisonartistsguild.org.