Maria Smith And Her Work
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.
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.
a member of Oil Painters of America and the Portrait Society of America.