Paula Smith’s mother still has Paula’s Grade 8 sketchbooks. At first she drew from photographs and pictures cut from magazines, but as her creative bent took root, and she began taking additional courses, Paula began to draw from life while studying the work of other artists. It was about this time that the dream of being an artist — even a starving artist — took hold. It hasn’t let go.
College programs provided opportunities for skill development, but also presented challenges in conflicting art ideologies, and so when romance led to marriage which led to children, the pencils and brushes were shelved for a time.
And yet the creative drive was never far away, surfacing again in the medium of stained glass and a side-job of creating custom glass panels alongside ongoing art projects with growing kids. Her recent multi-venue exhibition, Blueprints of Youth, celebrates the journey, and also served as an introduction in her new home of Nelson. She’s happy to be here, where the creative juices have begun flowing in earnest.
“People back in Ontario thought I was crazy for leaving a good job at City Hall,” Smith explains.
“We moved for a better lifestyle: calmer, clean fresh air, cool summer nights, not over-populated, peaceful, and most of all, creative.”
Now, kids grown, Smith has arrived heads, hands, and heart back in the art world, and celebrates with works in acrylic, pencil, and mixed media exploring subjects from abstract to realist.
Her work is now on display at the Nelson library, including a wall hanging in the stairwell inspired by Smith’s earlier stained glass work.
The show continues through March.