JOY KIRTON SMITH
I was born in Netherton in the Black Country. As a young child most of my leisure time was spent in the Worcestershire countryside where we had a holiday bungalow.
When I was six years old we moved to Holt Fleet, a small village on the banks of the River Severn, where I attended the local school.
Our home was next to a lock and a weir on the river. My childhood was filled with memories of adventures: boating, swimming, fishing and playing in the woods behind the bungalow. I can recall the house being flooded on several occasions.
My father was a highly respected and adventurous painter and decorator. He also had a keen interest in fine art and history. I learnt a lot from him about paint effects and new techniques. During my early teens we would spend our summer holidays driving through Europe visiting many famous museums and art galleries on the way. With all this influence, I started to draw and paint from an early age.
My formal art education occurred many years later. After completing my A level course at Halesowen college, I became part of a local artists’ workshop for five years, under the guidance of my lecturer, Geoff Mills.
My professional art career began in 1994, when my work started to be published. To date I have had more than sixty of my original paintings published as limited edition prints.
My work is figurative with a strong emphasis on movement and dance. I have travelled widely to seek reference for my art from many diverse sources. My trips have included visits to Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Prague, New York, Philadelphia, Barcelona, Florence, Sienna and London. I studied the drawing techniques of the masters of the Flemish school for three days in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. There are still plenty of places I intend to visit, as I am constantly looking for more information and experiences as well as trying out new techniques. The main inspiration for my drawings and paintings comes from the Italian Renaissance period. I have been greatly influenced by Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Raphael and Della Francesca as well as other artists like Bernini and Velasquez.
I have also found reference from the study of Greek mythology, Shakespeare, Mediaeval Italian theatre and even the Moulin Rouge in Paris. All of these sources have featured prominently in my paintings.
Over the last few years I have made many appearances in art galleries from the south coast to Scotland. One of the most pleasing aspects of my career has been to meet and get feedback from people who are interested in my work. It is both humbling and gratifying to know that my originals and prints are hanging on walls all over the UK, Europe, USA, and Asia.
I work in my studio at home every day. When I am not painting I enjoy relaxing in the garden studying the wildlife movements. My husband and I enjoy live classical music concerts. We are also regular visitors to the theatres at Stratford upon Avon. We look forward to going out to our favourite French restaurant, or just relaxing with a glass of wine after a hard day’s work