Wind. We can feel its soft touch on a balmy day, hear it rustling through trees, smell it when it’s about to rain, even perhaps taste it when we breathe in a big breath through our mouths.
But we can’t see it. We cannot see wind.
Unless you are an artist with the imagination of the artist Claudia Smith.
Local artist Claudia Smith will show her series “Dancing with the Wind” on April’s online exhibit on the St. Anthony on the Desert website, st-anthony.net.
The inspiration for the series started when Smith lived in Echo Hills. Her patio overlooked Red Mountain. One day as she was watching a storm roll in, she was taken by the billowing whirlwind, the spirals and the swirls of the dust in the storm.
She said she saw the colors and shapes of wind in her mind’s eye, and driven to paint them, she started her first painting in the series entitled “Come Dance with Me 1.” In subsequent paintings such as “Come Dance with Me 3” and “Yellowstone and Beyond,” all kinds of colors shape the wind’s movement, sometimes creating giant waves and other times smooth waltzes, while in “Arches,” the wind swifts through a mountain’s openings.
In all the paintings, the wind dances in and around objects in myriad kaleidoscopic color and in varying force.
Wind holds a lot of meaning for Smith. It evokes for her a feeling of freedom, not only the wind itself moving in the way it chooses but also the freedom in her arms as she swishes the brush across the canvas to depict it. The wind holds spiritual meaning for her as well.
When she paints, she said she feels like God is working through her, expressing something through her work.
She said her art reflects “the reverence and respect I feel toward life, and my understanding of myself.”
Her paintings “proclaim, celebrate and reflect the ‘oneness’ that is the soul of my creativity,” she said.
Smith has spent her lifetime doing art and encouraging others to foster their creative instincts as well. Early in her career, she taught art at a secondary school in Michigan. Later she worked in interior design and mural painting. She ultimately became a published cartoonist, illustrator and author.
She has exhibited her art in Arizona and Idaho. A Claudia Smith diptych is in the permanent collection in the Community Center.
Access Smith’s virtual show at st-anthony.net, then click on “adults,” “social connections” and finally “arts council.”
The Arts Council is a hub for artists and art lovers, or anyone who is willing to help put up exhibitions when COVID-19 restrictions are over, or help with technology.
Membership in St. Anthony is not required to join the council. For more information call St. Anthony and leave a message for the Arts Council, 480-451-0860.