In the winter, Hailey artist Natalie Smith works as a Sun Valley ski instructor. She has just finished a painting from the vantage point of a narrow descent along Bald Mountain with a hidden village in the distance.
“That fearlessness that you have to allow your body to feel just to step into something that is potentially dangerous or that you may not be able to handle,” Smith said. “It really has to do with courage: walking into a crack and being able to overcome those fears.”
This job has been sitting at his bedside for a while, begging to be finished every time he opens his eyes in the morning. He never knows when a piece is finished.
“For me, creating paintings involves a lot of staring: the blank canvas, the colors, my visions of space and spirits and nature in all its forms,” said Smith. “My inspiration comes from the vivid images of nature that are fixed in the eye of my mind.”
For her, each piece tells a story. She will sometimes she will dismiss the paintings as a mess. Then, months later, she will discover a path to her meaning.
“Art guides me to create something and the story becomes clearer as the image emerges,” said Smith. “Sometimes our stories have to rest in order to see us again.”
However, the work she is most proud of, no one has ever seen. She has been painting a warrior goddess for six years.
“I keep changing the background,” Smith said. “Maybe because I move a lot. I have had so many accidents that have changed the course of my life … It is a continuous work of art. It’s like recreating myself over and over again.
Starting June 26, his painting “Luxoro” will be exhibited at the MADS Gallery in Milan, Italy, and Fuerteventura, Spain.
“Luxoro follows the intuitive flow of nature’s gemstone shapes, as the veins of 24k gold intersect through dark purple textures and ocher lines,” said Smith. “Gold reminds us that we are strong and fragile, fleeting yet eternal”.
Earlier this month, his paintings “Ouroboros” and “Murex” were exhibited at the Boomer Gallery in London.
“Ouroboros is a Gnostic and alchemical symbol that expresses the unity of all things, material and spiritual, which never disappear but continually change shape in an eternal cycle of destruction and recreation,” said Smith.
In the modern era, getting selected for an international gallery can be as simple as submitting a photo online. In the old days, artists would have had to build a portfolio of 30-50 pieces on the same theme just to set foot in the door.
“It’s completely changed,” Smith said. “Just like everything else has changed… It’s very different. It’s much faster. “
The desk in his bedroom / study faces north, just like many Parisian artists of the 1920s. That way, there is never direct sunlight to affect his sight.
“Art reminds us of our unlived potential,” he wrote on his website. “There is no plan. It is a spiritual work ”.
In much of his work, he will use concrete or coffee to create visceral textures under the abstract landscapes.
“Sometimes how we feel that life happens to us, with us, with us, not everything is smooth and easy,” said Smith.
It is inspired by the work of Louise Fletcher.
“It exhibits a lot of freedom with its colors and choices,” said Smith. Through that door of freedom, I explored my version of doing things. “
We talk on the balcony of his apartment in Hailey on a recent Wednesday, overlooking a tiny orange playground surrounded by a sea of wood shavings. The tomato plants grew on his chairs.
She was born and raised in Germany.
“Europe in general supports artists in a much more effective way,” said Smith. “I already felt validated in Europe as an artist, that I could pursue this career”.
Her grandfather wanted her to become a banker.
“It was easier for me to gravitate towards the arts,” Smith said.
She first fell in love with art as a child during dinners. Her mother dated a millionaire.
“He took us to very elegant restaurants, which were extremely boring to my sister and I, of course,” Smith said.
He spent his time drawing with crayons and snacking on hors d’oeuvres. The restaurant owners resumed his work.
Moving to the United States, she has always been inspired by her surroundings. When she lived in Texas, she painted in Southwestern colors, using Native American images. While she lived in Boston as a sailor, she was inspired by winter sunsets. Kauai inspired her ocean landscapes. She earned her master’s degree in Montana and fell in love with the Rocky Mountains.
“My paintings invite a change of perspective, often focusing on details of precious stones, mountains, bodies of water or metaphors,” said Smith. “Whether it expands or reduces the focus of the topic, I hope the viewer feels the in-between moments of different dimensions or spaces. This is where I find art to be the most interesting “.
Smith has lived in Wood River Valley for four years. She used to drive to Elkhorn to take her daughter to ice skating training.
“Mom, I have to live here,” said the youngest daughter.
Having children changed her art forever. For a while she couldn’t concentrate on her work at all.
“It disintegrated a lot in me: identity, who I thought I was an artist,” Smith said. “I was taken apart and then rebuilt again as something new.”
One recent Wednesday, Smith showed me all the pieces of his apartment. From his art of him, he hopes that people get new ideas, new visions, a sense of tranquility.
“I hope they never get tired of watching it,” said Smith.
Next month, she will be at the Ketchum Arts Festival, an event that, in her opinion, showcases the “inspiring” concentration of artists in the area.
“It brings a lot of people to appreciate the art,” Smith said. “Enlarges our valley and shows the most beautiful part.” ￼