Don Smith: From Photography to Fine Art Of Pastels


My name is Don Smith. I am a retired Information Systems Analyst, a semi-professional photographer

and a lover of watercolors and pastel paintings. My brothers and I had a lot of experience drawing

when we were young. You could be relatively poor and still enjoy art. My Dad was a struggling farmer

who still took very good care of his family.

After I retired, I looked for an additional outlet for creative abilities beyond my photography and

camping trips in the USA. I found a watercolorist that inspired me to apply my creative juices using

watercolor. I took a workshop from him and was even more inspired. While searching artists online, I

came across Johannes Vloothuis.(www.improvemypaintings.com). I liked his style and that he gave online live workshops in oil, watercolor and pastel. It was with his class I first used pastels. I liked the way it could be applied – dark to light, erased, layered and its vibrancy.

One of my favorite paintings was done following his workshop. It was a night painting which I had never done but found night painting an exciting avenue for art as well. I liked the way you could use a watercolor or a thin oil base underpainting and then complete it with a few well-placed strokes. It was enlightening.

Still searching for more training, I found a workshop by Richard McKinley. It was to be held in St. Louis and I pleaded with the Gateway Pastel Society to let a non-member enter. Thanks to Vic Mastis and Michele Wells, I was permitted. Many of the things one finds a little intimidating were removed by the considerate guiding and leading

of Mr. McKinley. The value of the St. Louis workshop is not only in the learning and wonderful art by all who attended, but the friendships of others who love art and promote it.

I am painting more pastels now than watercolors, though I like watercolor art. I like the feel of the direct application of the pigment to the paper and producing something that meets my artistic vision. Most of my art is landscapes and abstract art at this point.

It is my pleasure to have met Dasha at St. Louis and wish her and the staff of Red Rocks Pastel Society of Nevada the very best. Hope to see you all one day at one your meetings.


Gallery includes:

Oil Underpainting- Afternoon Swamp -Original, Direct Plein Air Painting – no underpainting - “Forest Park Reflections” Original,

On-line Workshop – Night Scene – Vienna Restaurant 12x16 Art Spectrum Colourfix Paper,

Lamar Valley Aspens” 12x16 Art Spectrum Colourfix - Original