An artist since birth


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Corrine Smith thinks each day is an aesthetic surprise.

Smith, a resident of Rock Island, Ill., works as an abstract artist creating work that evolves on a daily basis. Her work can be viewed at the Chait Galleries, 218 E. Washington St., in an exhibit titled New Abstract Art Will Brighten Any Day until Feb. 26.

Featured in the display of abstract artwork are three to five different paintings by artists such as Cathy Patterson, Brad Krieger, and Marcia Wegman that combine bright color and rich fluidity. The colorful exhibit contrasts with the frosty temperatures and dull colors the last couple months of winter can bring.

“The exhibit is bright and cheerful, and it’s kind of gray outside,” Chait Galleries owner Benjamin Chait said.

Smith’s passion for the arts developed during childhood. Unlike many adolescents who want to be a teacher or an astronaut, she had no other career interest except for the creative.

“I remember in third grade I had a need for a creative release,” she said. “I enjoyed it from the get-go.”

Her two children from her marriage of 29 years did not become artists, but they grew up with art and learned to appreciate it. Their friends, who often visited the Smith household, also learned much about art.

“I felt like I was educating half of the neighborhood,” Smith said.

Originally, she intended to be a landscape artist. She attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky, creating works such as still-life paintings. Though she enjoyed that type of work, it wasn’t exactly what the college wanted from her.

“They wanted a little bit more from me,” she said, noting that the university pushed her toward more nonrepresentational artwork.

She believes in self-discipline in the arts and possesses a drive that pushes her to create work on a daily basis. Although her pieces tend to be conceptual, she does teach traditional basic drawing and two-dimensional design courses part-time at Augustana College. She bases her curriculum upon guidelines set through the college to teach the fundamentals of art to students.

When she’s not teaching, Smith finds a creative release by working with acrylic paint and handmade paper applied to canvas. The art she creates is textural as well as visual from the different kind of fibers the paper is made of. The 52-year-old enjoys the immediate result of color in paper because there is no drying time.

“Art just kind of feeds itself,” she said.

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