Ken Smith Photo Journal

Archive for the ‘News’ Category


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Over a year has passed, and a recovery is slowly evolving. I have a new home, studio, and some of the things I once had. Enough to begin work again.

There is a difficulty in returning to creative work, after a year and four months working on all things external. The creative work comes from the interior, and little time has been allowed for languishing there. Instead it has been about time schedules, money, people, building details, acquiring lost possessions from the insurance list….an entirely different discipline. What Chinese Buddhist monks call ‘living in the world of red dust.’

So I now attempt to swim my way out of that red dust before it swallows me up. I have my new and beautiful space for living, and also a dedicated workspace and darkroom. I have some tools and materials. The difficulty, as it usually is, is the interior. The getting back to somewhere lost over time where one was comfortable and happy to reside. I am looking for that inner space and it eludes me. I roam about my space, arranging things, but cannot find my vision. I must simply begin…a blank piece of paper, a piece of charcoal, or peering at an old film negative. Print something on the new printer that has yet to be plugged in. Begin, with a kind of fear of the unfamiliar. The transformation that took me away I have to now take to the present. There is no going back; the past is history. I am new, everything around me is new, and yet I look for something I once was, to help me take the next step.

Written by Ken Smith

December 20th, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Posted in News,Philosophy

fire storm

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After living in my idyllic natural landscape for many years, making art in its presence, my home and studio and their surroundings were destroyed in the August wildfires. I barely escaped with a few belongings hastily thrown into my vehicle. Luckily, the first things saved were my film negatives and digital master files, so I may start once again.

One more curve in the constantly moving stream – this time made of fire. If one removes oneself from the moment, it can seem like a grand new adventure, and in most respects that is what it is. A time to look at oneself, belongings, priorities, from a cleansed perspective. I try to see it that way, for one cannot go back. Something good must come from this renaissance. All is not lost, but is simply transformed. Brutally, history evaporated…but now what happens? I feel less a participant, and more an observer.

Late one evening, standing quietly among the ashes, the trees of carbon, the gray…I suddenly heard a chattering and saw a red squirrel running headfirst down a charcoaled tree trunk. ‘You made it!’ I may have shouted. Then I heard a chipmunk chirping away behind me. A white breasted nuthatch, came to land, hanging sideways over the dish of water I had put out. There still was life in the dead zone. Hope. Maybe even art in time.

Written by Ken Smith

October 2nd, 2015 at 6:54 pm


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evidence 1 & 2 (diptych)

This Sunday, August 2, from 5-7pm, Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, Washington will be having a reception in its gallery for four artists, myself included. I am showing eight framed works, a combination of landscapes and still lifes. Not limited to a theme or any particular boundaries, I chose some of my most interesting works.

Evidence 1 & 2 is a diptych that I made years ago but it has always been close to my heart. I told Laura, one of the curators, that in the 24 years I’ve been doing art full-time, Evidence most clearly expresses what I wish my art to be. I find it the most succinct and beautiful of anything I’ve ever done. I’ve felt that before in a new piece, but after a time it fades. Evidence has always been at the pinnacle in my mind’s eye. Strange, to be aware of that, and I continue to look at it and wonder what it has that stuns me.

I remember finding the emaciated branches, down by the stock tank, one early spring day. They had been a plant of some kind, dried and buried in snow all winter, leaves gone, and then, just a line drawing was left. The branches coming off the grey stem were just like tiny strips of paper, but they also were like messages, or musical notes. Each one twisted and reaching a different way, beautiful. I took them back to my studio and went to work. The two stems were only about a foot high each, and I put them in a vase, and they sat on the windowsill for years after. Until, breezes thru the window, time and dry air, they slowly came apart. Looking at the artwork that is left, I love the simplicity, the symmetry and asymmetry, and what they tell me about time. There is something else that intrigues me, but it cannot be put into words – only be shown in a piece of art…instantly recognized but indescribable like a profound mystery.

Evidence 1 & 2, diptych. Pigment ink on cotton printmaking paper. 29″ x 15-1/4″ each. Framed 36″ x 18″ (each).

image copyright © Ken Smith 2015 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

July 31st, 2015 at 8:26 pm

sun mountain

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McLaughlin Canyon Tree

Six of my images are part of a group show at Sun Mountain Lodge, in Winthrop, Washington My selection of floral still lifes and landscapes will be on exhibit into the mid-Summer. Sun Mountain Lodge draws an international clientele to the Methow Valley and the stunning North Cascade Mountains year-round. I am happy to be invited to show at this beautiful location.

McLaughlin Canyon Tree. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 13″ x 20″ image, framed 22″ x 28″.

image copyright © Ken Smith 2015 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

April 17th, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Landscape,News


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Tracery 3

Tracery 2

Another show at my local gallery has opened. At Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington, artists were asked to interpret the idea of “Tracks”. I chose some imagery that was inspired by the larvae trails beneath the bark on the firewood I put up for the winter heat. I am intrigued by natural forces like erosion, and these serendipitous waunderings with purpose . I question what made these simple insects construct such an intricate and beautifully-unique pattern? I have more in the series that I did not exhibit, and if interested, please contact me. The show opened January 10 and ends February 14. There is a variety of interpretations and mediums in the show, and if you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by.

Tracery 3. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper, on wood panel, varnish. 14″ x 11″.

Tracery 2. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper, on wood panel, varnish. 12″ x 12″.

image copyright © Ken Smith 2015 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

January 15th, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Fauna,News,Still Life

two shows

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Winter Lake

Right in the middle of my recovery from a left total knee replacement, two shows opened exhibiting my work. At Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington, is the show titled, “In the Land of Snow and Indigo”. The winter-themed show is supposed to get us ready for winter, but good luck with that. Who really wants it to come again? Well, the climbers in the top image are enjoying it. The show runs from November 15 to January 20, 2015.

At Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery, on Bainbridge Island, Washington,, is the show “Doorways: Photographs”. This show runs November 7 to December 1. I am exhibiting four pieces in this show, and one is “Recollection of a Woman in White”, below. This is a great gallery, always well-curated.

Recollection of a Woman in White

The receptions to both these shows were well attended, and there is still plenty of time to stop in and see the work before they close.

Climbers. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 14-5/8″ x 15″ image size, framed 22″ x 22″.

Winter Lake. Carbon Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 21″ x 14-1/2″ image size, framed 28″ x 22″.

Recollection of a Woman in White. Carbon Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 15″ x 15″ image size, framed 26″ x 26″.

image copyright © Ken Smith 2014 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

November 21st, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Landscape,News


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Leave-behind 1 (left) and 2 (right), is a diptych made for a group show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington. The show title is: The Big Sleep. The curators asked artists to discuss with their various mediums their thoughts about things that come to an end, what we call Death. The show, that is scheduled during the Halloween season, ironically also comes after much of the area around the valley where the gallery is located, was devastated by the largest wildfire in Washington State history. The curators did not know of this when they began organizing the show in April. Much of the Summer the valley suffered with loss of homes and property, power outages, and the physical and psychological affects of Loss. The show is bound to reflect those feelings and runs from September 27 – November 8, with the opening reception on Saturday, September 27 from 4 to 8pm.

Each artist was asked to write a one page statement about each of the works. My particular piece comes about from finding a stack of wilted flowers that laid in a trash heap thru one winter, after being discarded by a friend. Using the abandoned flora as metaphor, my work looks at the idea that objects, people, places have spirits that go on long after the physicalness changes form. The work suggests, as does Japanese Shinto belief, that spirit lives in all things, and may continue as long as there is admiration, love, and remembrance. In that context, death or the end of things, is not as finite as one might think. Though these inanimate flowers were forgotten and left behind by one person, my discovery and retained admiration for them, in a sense, brought the spirit within them back to life.

The timely show and its poignant theme promises to bring a lot of good artwork to the gallery, and I hope if you are in the area, you will visit. Many of the artists will be attending the opening reception and the discussion will flow.

Leave-behind 1 & 2. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper, mixed media. 22″ x 16″ image size, framed 28″ x 22″ – each piece.

image copyright © Ken Smith 2014 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

September 26th, 2014 at 11:54 am

mayo clinic

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Brazil Flower 2

Four of my Brazil Flower series have been purchased into the collection of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I am pleased to have my work included in their collection which is used in the healing arts.

Brazil Flower 2. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 24″ x 20″.

image copyright © Ken Smith 2011 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

April 22nd, 2014 at 10:11 am

Posted in Flora,News,Still Life

35th anniversary

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reverie 14

Olson-Larsen Galleries, in West Des Moines, Iowa, is celebrating their 35th Anniversary! I am proud to be represented by this fine gallery. All gallery artists will be exhibiting one piece in the show, and I have chosen, reverie 14, from my new series. The show opening reception is April 11, and the show runs till June 7.

reverie 14. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 26-5/8″ x 20″.

image copyright © Ken Smith 2014 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

March 4th, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Flora,News,Still Life


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queen of flowers

nude with spheres

I am proud to be invited to participate in a group show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington. The show is titled, “Woman: Lady. Girl. Female. Chick. Dame. Broad. Lassie. Wench. Maiden. An Artist’s Interpretation.” I am exhibiting four pieces in the show, two shown here. The show opens on International Woman’s Day, March 8, and runs thru April 19.

Queen of Flowers. Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper on panel, beeswaxed. 20″ x 20″.

Nude with Spheres. Carbon Pigment ink print on cotton printmaking paper. 8″ x 11-1/2″.

images copyright © Ken Smith 2014 all rights reserved.

Written by Ken Smith

March 4th, 2014 at 9:20 pm

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