Contact Information

Woodbine, GA 31569

Olde Towne Gallery

304 Osborne St

St Marys, GA

Carol Jo Smidt | Biography

Carol Jo Smidt’s fascination with the beauty and grace of horses greatly influenced her artistic path. Drawing horses as a 4 year old is Smidt’s first recollection of her passion for art. Her bedroom walls were covered with pencil drawings of her beloved horses. Hours were spent drawing horses and other animals. It was in kindergarten that she realized others would want her art. Dissatisfied with her work, she took a horse drawing and threw it in the trash can. A classmate reached into the trash and took the drawing because he liked it! Even at that young age, she was amazed that people would want her work!

After high school, Smidt attended the St. Paul School of Art. Fast-forward with her through marriage, a son, 21 addresses in 26 years during her husband’s Navy career, and a BA in Advertising Design from Iowa State University. She finally settled in an equine community outside of Woodbine, a small town in southeast Georgia. Smidt finally could have her horses on a small farm, but although her passion for art was there it still resided deep within and struggled to come fully alive.

After a dozen years as a self-employed graphic designer and periodic dabbling with a paintbrush, Smidt learned that her passion for art was to call her back via yet another path. Enrolling in Savannah College of Art and Design and taking a number of graphic design graduate courses, Smidt was finally brought back to her first love. It was on this part of her journey that she realized her need to leave the work and world of graphic design to get back to her first love – the visual arts and painting!

What is Smidt’s painting world like today? She recently moved from a small loft on the third floor in her house to her new studio, which is the entire first floor of her home. Smidt has set herself a fairly structured schedule, and she focuses on some aspect of her artist’s life on Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. Many mornings are spent with paperwork and research. Without a schedule, Smidt feels her painting time would vanish, and she would have a lot of blank canvases! Her work is best done with some breaks. She take small vacations, but after a few days, she hears the call of her paints, brushes, and canvases, and eagerly get back to her easel and pour herself into painting.

For Smidt, painting is like working on a puzzle, without the picture on the box to guide her. Most times the answers do not come particularly fast. But by experimenting, nudging here and there, her ideas begin to take form and a new painting comes to life. Smidt normally paints by adding layers over layers. When the paint becomes too wet or her eyes too fatigued by looking at the colors being used, she moves on to another painting. Smidt have between 4 to 12 paintings in different stages of completion.

Smidt has heard it said that there is “beauty in the everyday”. She agrees. She enjoys painting ordinary subjects with extraordinary colors. Her painting subjects are usually animals, but she likes the challenge of painting other subjects. She has branched out by creating landscapes, still life, and figurative art.

Wanting to expand beyond oils, Smidt started painting with pastels and gouache. She has grown to love these two new media. Changing her media and changing the size of canvases from ultra-mini to very large helps her move into a new creative arena.

Not wanting to become too comfortable with her art, Smidt strives to continue to learn by trying anything new; subjects, color combinations, techniques, and media. Knowing that you need to discover by doing, she has learned that her “best teacher is my canvas”. Smidt has come to believe that “to learn is to paint” and “to paint is to learn”.

Participating in regional art shows and festivals is one of the ways that Smidt promotes her art and to develop relationships with collectors and potential collectors. Smidt belongs to a number of local and national art organizations. Painting is a solitary pursuit, and she can easily become a hermit. In addition to getting out of her painting world, it is necessary to have the support from other artists. Smidt’s contacts with other artists have become a great learning tool to see their art up close and personal and to get to know the artist behind the painting.

For Smidt, the journey of a painting is part ability, part technique, part intuition, part sweat, and hours of learning from past paintings. The reward and joy of this journey is the painting process and continues to the person who emotionally connects to one of her paintings. Pet paintings of animals that have passed have provided Smidt with some of her most powerful emotional connections. One owner of a loving pet, Savannah, who recently passed shared this: “my sister and brother-in-law had this painting done for us (by Smidt) and it captures her just perfectly!” This is one of the big reasons Smidt paints!

Artist Statement

Drawing from my background in graphic design, I have a strong emphasis on color, design and drawing in my paintings. Throughout my painting career, animals have been my major interest with other subjects being a more recent pursuit.

My paintings are a result of a thoughtful, ongoing, creative and intuitive process. Creating art is a spiritual journey. It is somewhat of a surprise where a painting will lead me. I find that my paintings are more vivid and saturated than real life. I see color in a subject and intensify those hues in a painting.

I strive to bring honor and respect to the subjects that I paint. As I create, I want the viewer to feel a deep, positive connection with my art