Colin Smith taught high school art, theatre, and English for 20 years. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout NB and is included in public and private collections. For 11 years, his drawings and cartoons were featured weekly in the Salon section of the Telegraph Journal. He works out of his studio in the River Art Centre in downtown Florenceville-Bristol. He is represented by the Spicer Merrifield Gallery in Saint John, NB.
Colin Smith a enseigné les arts, le théâtre et l’anglais au lycée pendant 20 ans. Ses œuvres ont été exposées dans des galeries d’art dans tout le Nouveau-Brunswick et font partie de collections publiques et privées. Pendant 11 ans, ses dessins et ses caricatures ont été présentés chaque semaine dans la section “Salon” du Telegraph Journal. Il travaille dans son atelier au River Art Centre, dans le centre-ville de Florenceville-Bristol.
“Life inspires me. Right now I spend a lot of time drawing birds: sometimes in imagined situations, sometimes in an eighteenth century engraving kind of way – sometimes they are Nature, sometimes they the Wings of Time or the Broken Heart of a Poet, but usually they are just birds. The landscape around here is slowly driving me crazy, because every time I look at it, after looking at it for thirty years, I see it moving like a live thing, just a series of slow undulations, studded with trees and potato fields.
For years I drew people interacting, in supermarkets and streets. I drew high school kids, simultaneously terrified and deeply self-assured. And I drew thousands of cartoons, and published some of them in the Salon Section of the Telegraph Journal for a decade – historical, topical, linguistic – really anything but overtly political. I don’t hate enough to be a political cartoonist.
I draw constantly. I doodle on paper, in books, over shopping lists, throughout my teacher planning book. I have done it since grade one. I have been a nanny, a bookbinder, a used bookseller, a warehouseman, a handyman, and now I am a teacher, but it’s all to support my doodling habit. If I wasn’t selling anything, I would still be drawing.
When I was eight, I found a copy of Syd Hoff’s “How to be a Cartoonist” in the Saint John Public Library. That, along with Jim Corbett’s “Maneaters of Kumaon” and the Freddy the Pig Detective books, was my Bible. Syd Hoff claimed you could make a living as a cartoonist, so I started in third grade. I filled notebooks with comic strips, and mailed some cartoons off to Playboy, which they politely returned. My rejection notice collection is still growing.
I have a sketchbook with me always, which I fill with phrases or doodles or ideas of what I see around me, and what I am thinking about. If I don’t set them down, they are lost. I roughly block out a drawing in pencil, usually working from these sketches, and then have at it with pen and ink. I like the finality of ink – once you put the mark on the paper, it is there. It encourages a mix of fluidity and improvisation. I tried technical pens, but I prefer the dip pens. The ink is usually richer, and the line of a dip pen modulates – it gets thinner and thicker as you go. The drawing is crosshatched and toned in with pen lines, then sometimes coloured ink washes or watercolour are added. A lot of my tonal squiggles have come from old engravings, where shading and tone were built up with marks, then a flat wash would be added to finish it off, and the ink and the wash would work together to create a strange volume.
I draw everything. It is, after all, a way of seeing.”