Smokie Kittner


Primarily I work in oil and pastel.  These traditional mediums are used to create conceptually / idea based artworks.  The images created are emphatically imagined.  Visual elements are used as symbols in all of my paintings.  They are the expression of ideas that change and evolve.  Because all of the elements are symbols, light, shadow and color are used not to imitate nature but as part of the vocabulary.  Land or seascapes when used, do not illustrate actual spaces but create context.  Light, darkness and structural elements also serve to control what, where and how far one can see into the picture plane.  Recent ideas and concepts, from which works are conceived are based on my response to the observed.  While it is not important to me that others understand the conceptual bases for an individual work, I hope that each painting resonates with the viewer in some intuitive way on an emotional level.

Decisions on scale and medium depend on the idea upon which a particular work is based.  Pastel appeals to me because of the purity of the color and because it is free from gloss, making the surface appear soft and seductive.   The dichotomy between the lushness of the color and surface and the starkness of most of the images is a cornerstone of works done in this medium.  OIl is used mostly for the larger works, when the size relationship between the viewer and the art and the impact it has, become an essential part of the dialogue.  As most of what now concerns me is not personal but the shared conditions of many, be they environmental, political or cultural the scale of the ideas have changed.  Huge, immense, enormous, vast, all these adjectives are part of the emotional response that I hope to evoke with the imagery in the paintings.