Artist Statement

Doug Smith


I have always been fascinated with the patterns in nature. As a youngster, I often traveled through the American west in the family car. My gaze would be fixed at the window, taking in the rural landscapes – excited by the striking differences of scene with each passing mile, and yet mesmerized by the soothing sameness, sometimes for hours at a time. The countless impressions became vivid and lasting memories.


As I became an adult and traveled by plane (always in a window seat), I still observed the textures and patterns of the earth. Now I could see in a glance the very landscapes the ten-year-old boy used to contemplate from the car. For decades, over thousands of square miles, the west was transformed into these wonderful land mosaics. There are fields, orchards, pastures and ranches –punctuated by homes and buildings, and accented by roads and nature’s erosion, waterways and coastlines – all strikingly different from one another and together composing a harmonious whole.


 It is natural to connect the dots between the childhood memories and the aerial views. Along with these memories, I also have been influenced by modernist’s Hans Hofmann’s bold color grids and George Morrison’s dramatic landscapes. In addition to these artists, the abstract aerial landscapes of Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud have inspired this current body of images reflect America’s vast rural landscape.

Along with this inspiration, I find that my years of experience as a graphic designer invests my work with strong organization, color, balance and texture. Painting with acrylic on canvas, I interject a modernistic montage with a small dash of realism. My art conveys a sense of vast distance and space; to evoke a mood of timelessness, and a feeling of nostalgia.


Some of my paintings depict specific locales, but most are composites of American agrarian images held dearly and indelibly in my memory.


A few years ago I found this interesting anonymous quote: “Man, despite his sophistication and his many accomplishments, owes his existence to a six inch layer of top soil and the fact that it rains.”