KAC Member Spotlight - Ron Smith
by Anita Jansman
Ron Smith has had a successful career as a highly technical land surveyor, but his passion for painting far exceeds his interest in measuring and mapping out land. He prefers to paint the scenery rather than apply mathematical formulas to it.
It was in northern Quebec where his father worked in a logging depot, that Smith developed a love of nature.
“We were completely isolated there and the great outdoors was where I played and where I was educated,” says Smith.
In his youth while canoeing on the Madawaska River, he discovered that a camera could capture nature’s beautiful images, and since then, his camera has remained one of his best friends.
As so many young people are advised and choose to do, Smith took the practical route and studied, not fine art, but land surveying at Carleton University, resulting in a good, steady career. But his need to create beautiful things never left him and in 1982, he applied the drafting skills needed as a surveyor to drawing. He discovered something – he could draw.
“As a surveyor, I had to think linearly and rationally, because as a society we are so linear. As a painter, I want to get away from linear thinking and be more abstract,” he says.
Since the mid-1980s, Smith has pursued painting with a fierce passion. He continues to hone his craft by taking drawing and painting lessons – with an added bonus – his daughter, Julie Davidson Smith is on an artistic journey with him. A well-known Kingston painter, Julie received the 2012 Hilary Scanlon Award in the KAC's Juried Art Salon, and the 2013 OKWA 25th Anniversary Exhibition award. In fact, Smith names Julie as one of his inspirations and sees himself as a role model for her.
Today, Smith believes as strongly as ever in the pursuit of beauty through art. With his trusty camera, he seeks out his subjects in natural settings and in the urban landscape. He then creates his own abstract paintings based on what he sees and on where his imagination goes, using both acrylic and encaustic mediums.
“I have long been fascinated by the beauty in conventional landscapes and the striking images that can be found in the urban built environment. My imagination is inspired to abstract these images to various degrees depending on the subject matter,” says Smith.
A resident of Gananoque and member of the Kingston Arts Council, Smith sees real value in participating in the arts community.
“Our culture trivializes art so we need organizations like the KAC that genuinely promotes and advocates for artists. Every municipality realizes that art is good for business,” he says.
But more importantly, Smith has come to realize that living an artistic life means belonging to a community, to a group of like-minded artists, and that is the greatest benefit an organization like the KAC offers.
“When one of my paintings was selected for the Juried Art Salon, it clicked for me. I realized that I was part of a community. It didn’t matter whether I won or not, it’s that I was included,” says Smith.
To see Ron Smith's painting and all other submissions and award winners, please visit the 13th Annual KAC Juried Art Salon currently on display at the Wilson Room of the Kingston Public Library until the end of May.