Behind-the-scenes look at a Matt Smith plein air session
Matt Smith’s early artistic influences included living as a child in Toulouse, France, for two years while in grade school. He spent his high school years living with his family in Geneva, Switzerland. His travels in these and other countries — Italy, Germany, Austria, and Spain — exposed him to the work of many of the great masters.
Smith graduated from Arizona State University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. Since then, he has made his home and studio in the desert near Scottsdale, Arizona. Most often, he paints plein air. “I enjoy working in areas where you can travel without seeing human impact,” he says. “I appreciate the tradition behind classical landscape painting, and I’m particularly inspired by pristine locations.
“When a painting captures a balance between mood, look, and feel, I consider it a success. What I experience outdoors is important to me,” Smith says. “My paintings are more than just a re-creation of a particular view. I try to imbue them with the feel of the wind, the sounds of the day, and the smell of fresh air.”