Posts By: Teresa

I Am A Dirty Woman

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Blog | No Comments

It has come to my attention that I am a dirty woman.

I am an artist.

I live on an Island. Not that living on an island constitutes dirty living, but there are more opportunities for unkempt activities.

I cook.

I garden and I hang around with horses and hounds.


I start my day in the studio. I have noticed that making art is messy. Painting from my heart takes courage and abandon. Being tidy will only hold me back. Be creative; throw paint around and don’t worry about the drips. Paint goes on canvas as visceral experience. Smell it and feel the smoothness of it. Pencil, pastel, oil stick and tube. Powder, mica, water, oil, flake. Wipe, rub, smear, squish, push, dab, and stroke. Drip. Wipe. Rub. Turn. Start over. Filthy work if done right. Thin watery passages building to thick pronounced texture. Painting session ends with paint on hands and clothes.


After lunch I find myself immersed wrist deep in dark beautiful moldery soil. I pull a tender baby plant from its pot, gently caressing its roots and taking in the rich aroma. I make a pocket in beautiful black loam alongside other fledglings in the raised bed, imagining all the while how this new plant will send out new shoots almost immediately. Bursting with fertility, robust, rich, fragrant. Mmmmm. Tender bright green curled up leaves, not yet unfurled. I will check back tomorrow to see if the leaves have opened. Touch them and feel the life force within. Mumble sweet words of love. Water, wait in wonder and awe.


Three pm. Head for Plum Pond. Horses are dirty. A good dirty. Not really dirty at all. I just get dirty when I hang out with them. The smell of horse brings me right back to my ten-year-old self. Brimming with excitement at the prospect of galloping through the woods. All cares and worries buried in another world. Thrill like no other. Better than Christmas. Better than a new love affaire. There is no other place I would rather be. Memories of long ago are accessed immediately and vividly at the first whiff of my aromatic horse.


I get home by 6pm and start dinner. Cooking is visceral and alchemical. If I were to follow recipes and use spoons and whisks and implements at all times, it may not be a dirty job. The feel of the dough squishing between my fingers informs me. I want a relationship with each ingredient. Harvesting and fondling each tender lettuce leaf as it goes into the salad. I feel the romance of the olive oil mingling with the balsamic. The entire making can be a love affaire. It will be a meal that satisfies.


Two smelly dirty Irish Wolfhounds are my best friends. Muddy paws, bad breath and burrs. I roll around on the floor with the beasts after dinner. Scratching and fussing over them until I am covered in dog hair, bits of grass and weeds.


It is the end of the day.

My clothes are covered in dog, I smell of horse, there is dirt under my fingernails and straw in my hair. Daughter says my feet look like cave man feet- dirty. I have paint smudged on my forehead.


I am a dirty woman.

I do dirty things.


Opening Artist Reception

Posted by on Mar 3, 2016 in Blog | No Comments

Pond9502Teresa Smith’s oil paintings are on dislay at the San Juan Community Theater March 1-31st.
The opening reception is Saturday March 5th 3-5pm.

Teresa paints our local landscape. It is an abstract view of  mystery beneath  surface, the layer woven between worlds. She paints  the romance and richness of beauty, earth, salt air, wild roses and pine needles. She paints the poetry.

Island Wants me a Little Bit Chubby

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in Blog | No Comments

periwinkle-1077272_960_720Island wants me a little bit chubby

It’s January on San Juan Island and everybody is buying Peso’s.

Dark drizzly days make me hungry. I am not alone.

I don’t feel too bad about being a little chubby because everybody else is too.

What am I to do? Lunches, dinners, breakfasts and lots and lots of latte’s. Wine and dessert, bread, stew and pot roast.

Have to get out of the house. Only place open is Kings Grocery.

Only thing I need is pie. Lots of people are there buying pie.

Head for bed at 5:30 in the afternoon thinking it must be at least 7:30. It’s been dark for two hours. Hold out until 7:30. Watch Netflix until I fall asleep ten minutes later.

Get up at dawn- 8:30am. Nothing like a good 13 hours sleep to feel refreshed.

There is a periwinkle flower blooming in the garden.

The Studio Rat

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Blog | No Comments

IMG_0283The Studio Rat

I drive along a narrow lane to my studio. Passing by rosehips, snowberry, and nettle. Madrona trees lean dangerously, as if wanting to rest on the earth. There are moss-covered knolls and little flowers poking their heads up fearlessly in the nippy fall air. This is Dale’s house and he collects equipment, machinery, and parts of different things. Sometimes the parts and equipment are little things and sometimes things as tall as a house. On any given day, there may be a hoist or propeller or something resting on saw horses awaiting his magical ability to fix and transform.

As I drive along slowly, quail scuttle ahead of the truck, annoyed that I have disturbed their scratching and pecking. I pass a pond on the left, pretty much grown in by willows and birch. Two wood ducks and a fat bullfrog call it home. Two mama deer and three fawns are grazing on the far side the pond. The babies are teenagers now and fuzzy with a warm winter coat.

I pull in and park the Tacoma in front of Dale’s venerable wooden barn. I open the tailgate and lecture the wolfhounds to PLEASE not chase the deer like they did the day before.

I grab a propane tank from the back of the truck and make my way through Dale’s workshop. I pass precious pieces of Madrona and alder, carefully salvaged and waiting to become a counter top or shelf.

My studio is on the second floor of the barn. I start up the stairs. The propane tank is heavy and I am hoisting it from step to step as I go up. I get almost to the top when I notice a rat on the top step. It is staring at me with its one good eye. Its body is about eight inches long and its tail the same. So about 16 inches total. The rat seems quite content to sit there, his tail curled around him. I thought rats were supposed to scuttle off to their ratty hiding places at the sight of humans. I look at the rat. The rat glares at me. I suggest to the rat that this is the time when he should break for it. I am not exactly afraid of walking past the rat on the step, but I need a minute. I go back downstairs to get another armload of stuff from the truck. The rat watches me through the slat in the stairs as I pass beneath. On my return I bravely ascend the stairs giving off the impression that I am a formidable human and the rat should run for its life. As I stomp on the rat-step, it lazily climbs up and lumbers under a cabinet where it stays and stares at me for the next hour or so, as I paint.

After awhile Dale stops by to say hello. “We have a rat”, I tell him, “under that cabinet”. “Alright says Dale, “I will get a trap”. We don’t need a trap, I say, “We can just shove him in a box I insist”. Dale rolls his eyes like he does when he thinks I am being ridiculous. But he humors me. We collect a bucket and a box to use as a lid. As we approach the rat, Dale gallantly in the lead and I graciously holding the bucket and lid only inches behind. The Rat scuttles up over some paint frames as we try to snatch it. Dale lunges for it and bravely grabs the rat. I have seen Dale stick his toe in squishy things on the beach but I have never seen him pick up a rat with his bare hands. I am dazzled. Dale drops him in the bucket and I shove the lid on. Dale then takes the box from my hands and heads for the stairs. “Are you going to let it go”, I ask? “Oh yes,” he says. “Where?” I ask. “A good place,” he insists? I am suspicious. “Are you going to kill it,” I ask? “Of course,” he says, as if there is no other option. I love Dale with all my heart, but this is where we differ. “Give me the bucket, Dale,” I demand. I take the rat-bucket and set him next to my worktable. I tell him he needs to wait until I am finished with my painting day then me can go on to find his forever home. Rat waits patiently in my studio until my painting day was done.

Ready to go. Dogs hop in the back of the truck. Rat rides in front with me. I stop at the side of my private road where I can imagine a rat could set up a very nice home amongst the hawthorns and snowberries. I am imagining him to go on to meet a very pretty girl rat, and the two of them having babies and enjoy a lovely life together. I take the rat-box out of the truck and commence to remove the lid. The box/bucket lid is stuck. I squeeze the bucket between my feet so I can tug on the box-lid to free it. Cant’ get the darn thing off. Squeezing tugging, pulling, when suddenly the box lid frees itself and I stumble backwards. The rat by this time is agitated and freaking out. It leaps out of the bucket and runs straight at me. Revenge pops into my mind, at that fleeting second that happens between sensibility and panic. I spring out of the way and thankfully rat turns and runs off into the hedgerow in pursuit of his prospective future and the pretty girl rat.



Trip To America

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Blog | No Comments
Trip To America

Off Island to America

Woke up at 2:30 this morning. Catching the redeye at 5am. Emma agreed to tag along for the day. Nice day; mother and daughter. Eighteen year olds don’t readily wake up at 4:30 so she hobbles to the truck tucked into her Costco fuzzy blanket and sleeps on the ferry.


I ordered a brand new gas range from a store in Seattle. The boys on the mainland called to say they are too old and what with their bad backs, were not able to load it. They suggested I bring four strong men to heave the thing into my truck. With that news I had it shipped back to the warehouse where they had one strong dude and I figured Emma and I together might make up a second. They said if I removed the canopy from my Tacoma they could load with a forklift.


I had never removed the canopy from my truck but it also requires four strong dudes. My friend Dale got the thing unhooked, we sent out some texts and within a few minutes had our four. Cost: 3 bottles of wine. Which we drank—the five of us—at 3:30 in the afternoon.


Drove to Bothell the next day, picked up the range then grocery outlet for discounted wine for bartering and drinking, quick stop at value village for old new clothes, Costco for gas and provisions then on to home depot for light bulbs.


Have any of you been shopping at Costco with a teenager? I live in a 950 square foot unfinished house. Emma lives up the hill a bit in a 30-foot travel trailer. The day began to get challenging as Emma got her own cart. She shows me a gallon size bag of baking soda. “Can we get this?” she asks. “No,” I say, “what are we going to do with a huge bag of baking soda”. She says, “There are millions of things we can do with baking soda.” “NO!” I insist, “we don’t have anywhere to put it when we go home.” Then she presents me with a gallon of apple cider vinegar insisting we NEED this gallon of apple cider vinegar because it is so good for us. “NO Emma NO!!” This went on until we had $500 worth of stuff that we did and didn’t need. I pay for the stuff and get out of Costco with most of my sanity still intact.


Emma helps me find the truck because I can’t remember where I parked. Why are parking lots designed in diagonals? We get to the truck and middle daughter calls. “Oh mom I am feeling so stressed. I really need to talk to you right now.” I keep her on the line with the phone cradled under my ear as we unload the cart. I back out of the parking space with Michele stressed and needing to talk and Emma mad at me for not buying the gallon bag of baking soda. I am looking at the clock not wanting to miss the 4:30 ferry. We are deadlocked. My number one pet peeve is when someone is parked in the middle of everything, waiting for a shopper to unload their groceries and pull out so they can take their parking space. There are parking spaces in the next row for God sake. I am beginning to rant at this point.


We are finally on the way to Home Depot for light bulbs. I am having track lighting installed and have 13 tracks. Some assembly required. Bulbs not included.

I drop Emma off at Ross and I am on my way to destination. Light bulbs. Have you ever been to the light bulb isle at Home Depot with a little piece of paper describing the various bulbs that will work for your project? I have half an hour to find the right ones and I need 39 of them. This requires two workers, a store manager and a set of portable stairs. Done. Did you know 39 light bulbs cost $300? I pick up Emma and she helps me pack $500 worth of stuff from Costco, a Bertazonni 36 inch gas range and $300 worth of light bulbs in a truck with no canopy.


We make tracks for the ferry with no time to spare. Pick up speed along highway 20 and notice white light bulb boxes rising up out of the back of the truck and dissolving into the traffic behind.



Island Museum of Art (IMA) Opening Reception

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Blog | No Comments

Hidden Meaning
Join us for an opening reception.
Island Museum of Art.
Tattered, Torn and Sepia
Artist Registry Show
Friday November 20th 5pm-8pm

Horses, Hounds and Me

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Blog | No Comments
Horses, Hounds and Me

The Irish Wolfhounds and I pile into the pick-up truck. Dogs in back, me in front and we head for Plum Pond. The dogs ride in the back because they are the tallest dog there is. They can grab a roast off the kitchen counter without taking their feet off the floor. Wolfhounds are kind dogs and beautiful too. They don’t start fights but they do finish them.

There is a winding dirt road that leads to Plum Pond, heavily wooded and jungle like with tall ferns, alder and fir. At the end of the lane with its abundant potholes is a meadow and a picturesque pond, fruit trees and beautiful pastures. On the way down the hill I pick some fruit from the old apple trees to give to the horses later, and one for each dog. Then I pick blackberries for me. They are sweet and fragrant even at the end of summer.

The dogs and I arrive at the little weather-worn barn. It’s somewhat sagging and missing a few boards but still standing solid. As I prepare saddle and brushes I notice newly hatched swallows in a nest above the barn door. The mama and papa swallows dive-bomb us as we come and go. The babies chirp relentlessly.

We go looking for the horses. Sometimes they are under the big cedars keeping out of the sun and flies, sometimes in the lower pasture where the witch grass grows taller than me. Today is a warm day, so I guess they will be under the trees. And there they are, standing close, tail to nose working cooperatively swishing the flies off each other. The air is thick with pitch and evergreen and horse. I make my way through the herd safeguarding Lanie’s apple. I give it to her and watch how she lustily devours it, juice dripping down her chin.

Lanie is the sister of a movie star. Her brother, Raswan, was the star in “The Black Stallion Returns”. Lanie is a black Arabian, and is a beauty.

Lanie follows me down to the barn; I brush her, enjoying the feeling of her silky coat and noticing her enjoyment. I love her horsy scent. Then I saddle her up and lead her to the nearest rock and climb on.

We begin our ride past the hedgerows of wild roses and blackberry bushes. The quail families scuttle along ahead, and then dodge in to the safety of the bushes. Sometimes we ride through the expansive fields. It is never a relaxing ride however, because the horses are on the alert for creatures lurking in the hedges.  I keep my leg on, for I know in an instant a deer could jump out frightening us both and sending Lanie off at a gallop, hopefully with me still onboard. For this reason I prefer the trails. I whistle to the dogs we start along a wooded path. On this particular day we begin the ride by jumping over a ditch. We head up Jungle Trail at a gallop. Passing by ferns and huge old growth fir trees. I notice alizarin, golds, rust, emerald and forest greens. Colors are so much richer after a rain, like stones under water. Then up to the meadow with a magnificent view of the sound, islands and snow capped mountains in the distance. We pause to take in the view, then ride on through the old growth forest to Lawson Ridge. Trotting and galloping along we weave through gates and jump over fallen trees.

It is important that I trust my horse. I feel her movement under me and keep my balance as she dodges branches and trees and rocks. I have faith that she will get me home safely. The woodsy trails are often grown over, making it imperative that I constantly duck as we approach the low growing branches. The times when Lanie is full on galloping and the branches are coming on so quickly I just give in to faith, grab onto her mane, hug her neck and watch the blur of the forest going by. This is both exhilarating and terrifying. It is like flying.  Sometimes I peek up and lift my head long enough to see where we are going. One of these times on a new trail, I saw only dense trees ahead. It was a little terrifying because it looked like we would crash into them. I remind myself that I can trust my horse, even though we are galloping full speed towards what appears to be our doom!

Suddenly and at the last possible second with out slowing down, she veers sharply to the left, following the trail up the next hill. My heart was beating fast and I was laughing with the pure joy and exhilaration. Another great ride.



Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Blog | No Comments


August  2015

On horseback, on foot and with my wolfhounds inspiration and motivation come from being present in the woods and near the water.

Like secret lovers, the senses and sensuality of the place with its ambience, aesthetics and vibration provide seed for the work. If truly present I stumble upon color combinations, line, and form that I never would have conjured on my own.

My paintings are about the mystery beneath the surface, the layer woven between worlds. The romance and richness of beauty, earth, salt air, wild roses and pine needles. I paint the poetry.

Hidden Meaning

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Blog | No Comments

Hidden Meaning“Hidden Meaning” 30″X40″ oil on canvas

Weep for what is lost.

Growth is complicated.

Hidden meanings arise from thought.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook