About Maria J. Smith
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About Maria Smith And Her Work

Born in the Netherlands at the onset of World War II, Maria J. Smith began painting in oils at the age of twelve.  Completely self-taught, she began learning about painting by reading everything she could get her hands on and by studying the Dutch Old Masters.  Not surprisingly, the primary influences on her work are Rembrandt and Vermeer.  Maria's art is characterized by quietness, mood, sensitive use of color and she seeks to capture the beautiful qualities of light.  While her work can lean toward Impressionism, her oil paintings are always within the realm of realism.

Although her subject matter includes landscapes, flowers, wildlife, animals, and still lifes, she specializes in oilportraits of pets and people.  She has always loved portrait work and sold her first commissioned oil portrait in 1958.   She continues to accept portrait commissions today.  She enjoys using the alla prima, or direct, painting method, working wet into wet, creating contemporary works under the name of Maria Smith.

However, to honor her Dutch heritage, under the name of Maria van Eikeren she also creates fine oil paintings using the painstaking—but extraordinarily beautiful—Flemish or Verdaccio method of painting.  This is the indirect method of the European Old Masters, involving a completely modeled monochrome underpainting, followed by carefully crafted multiple layers of transparent oil paint.  Each layer of paint must be thoroughly dry before applying the next layer.  This process must be done in the correct sequence with no mistakes, otherwise the special radiance, for which this Old Master method is known, will be lost.  However, if done correctly, this time consuming and difficult method can result in a beautiful optical mixture of colors and great luminosity that seems to emanate from the within the painting itself.  No other oil painting technique can achieve such an effect.  That is why she, as Maria van Eikeren, utilizes these Dutch-European Old Master techniques and methods - to create high quality, museum-worthy art.  

Maria van Eikeren's pieces are generally related to 16th and 17th century Dutch masterpieces, both in style and subject matter.  So, if you've ever been to a museum and admired some of those masterpieces, know that you now can own an "Old Master" painted by Maria van Eikeren.

Maria Smith's entire life has revolved around art.  In fact, she has painted in oils for more than 60 years now.  She is not only an artist, but an author and teacher as well.  Her book "Think Better - Paint Better, Using Both Sides of the Brain" was placed in the collection of the Public Library in Soldotna, Alaska.  In addition, she also self-published a booklet titled "Intuitive Thinking for Artists and Other People", dealing with the mental processes involved in creating one's art and life. Beginning in the 1960's she  taught in various states of the Western United States.  She is the founder and director of The Artist's Atelier in Twin Falls, Idaho which was established in 2003.  Her work has been shown in the Netherlands and in galleries in California, Alaska and Idaho.  Today, her work can be found in private collections in Europe, Australia, Mexico, England, Canada and throughout the United States.

She is a member of Oil Painters of America and the Portrait Society of America.
Chilly Day Greeting  32x24 Oil on Linen


Sheltie Portrait

16x12 Oil on Canvas
by Maria J. Smith 

MARIA SAYS:  "In the course of my life - in fact, since was about 10 years old - I have become increasingly aware of the workings of my mind. Eventually, by exploring and observing this mysterious inner world, I came to understand its profound nature, leading to a gradual, but fundamental transformation in my life because of a revolutionary way of thinking and a new awareness.  I call it Intuitive Thinking.

In brief, as it relates to art, I learned that the Right Brain is designed by nature for conceiving ideas and creating art in intangible form and that it is truly objective, whereas the Left Brain is designed by nature for producing or materializing an idea or a work of art in tangible form.  Intuitive Thinking is revolutionary in that the power of the Right Brain (Intuition and intuitive understanding) and the power of the Left Brain (Intellect and learned knowledge) can and should, through awareness, be consciously directed to interact harmoniously (instead of adversarially and unconsciously), as is usually the case.  This harmonious interaction can be observed in real time and allows both sides of the brain to function at their highest level.

It has taken me more than 50 years to understand this phenomenon and the value of it - and it is, without doubt, the most important thing I have learned in my life. As an artist, author and teacher, I enjoy using this understanding in communication with others through my art and with my students through art instruction.
Intuitive Thinking allows me to become deeply acquainted with my subjects—especially in portraits—and express that insight in paint. It makes them look real, according to my clients.  This intangible quality is, I believe, what makes my art meaningful to others who perceive that "certain something" that attracts them to my paintings.  Thus, it becomes a joy for someone to view—or experience living with my art.
If you really want to get to know me, I suggest you read a condensed version of my life's story.  I promise you'll not find it boring!  In fact, you'll find it quite engaging because - well - it reads like a novel!  Beginning with World War II, through a time of adventures involving gold and guns and the East European Mafia to life in the Last Frontier and survival in the wilds of Alaska, culminating with a new (peaceful) life in Idaho.
From reading this you'll get a good idea of the kind of person I am and you can form your own opinion of me and how I got where I am today - and what the prospects may be for you as a student at The Artist's Atelier!

Click Here to Read it..... 

The Maria Smith Story

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