Christa Smith grew up in rural Ohio, and remembers discovering the fun of simply playing with paint in a high school art class! “I had finished my assignment early so the teacher allowed me to do whatever project I wanted. I painted and re-painted my surface, because I just loved playing with the paint, and was caught up in how fun it was to get variations of colors with only a few strokes.”
Then, in college, Christa experienced a profound moment while taking a Life Drawing course. “As I progressed through the assignments, I was getting better and more realistic in my renderings. I figured all the students were. But on critique day, it was apparent that drawing from life made sense to me, and I was coming along better than my peers. It was the first time I realized, ‘Oh, maybe I could actually be good at this!’” And indeed, she became very, very good at it!
Christa moved to North Carolina in 2006 to start teaching visual art at the high school level. Christa’s time in public education taught her that everyone has the capacity for creativity and that they just need to be given the tools and opportunity to develop it.
In 2014, Christa founded Joy of Paint, Inc., which is a mobile service that facilitates painting parties in restaurants, schools, churches, and private residences. Christa guides all the participants through a 2-hour hands-on painting lesson with all the materials provided! Christa loves what she does. She says, “I am helping people to create beauty, one canvas at a time. I see Joy of Paint events as an enjoyable, non-threatening way of allowing anyone to experience the thrill of creating something beautiful.”
Christa works mainly in acrylics, and she loves working from life and nature. Lately she has been pushing her creative boundaries to juxtapose real items in surreal environments. “There is something about creating that I believe is very human, and therefore I gain so much from just the simple act of adding beauty to one canvas. The paint itself is so fun to work with. I really don’t know how to explain it; It’s very rewarding to be allowed to switch to my ‘right brain’ and take the time to figure out a visual problem.”
The artists that have inspired her the most are Gustav Klimt and Robert Henri. “Although I don’t love Klimt’s subject matter all of the time, his use of gold leaf, patterns and realism is fantastic. Henri’s loose and captivating portraits are just so beautiful. His use of paint reminds me of a cake with extra bits of frosting. You can tell he also really liked the texture and action of painting.”
Christa Smith lives in Raleigh with her husband and two cats. We are extremely proud to have her work on our gallery wall for the month of July!