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Libby Smith Paints “Magical Beings” at CityArts Through October 13

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Painter Libby Smith is preparing her canvas.

“All it is, is to give myself an idea and to start throwing some colors.”

She’s roughly sketching with paint and brush what will become the different elements.

“I know I want her face in this area, so I’m going to keep it a lighter color. Her hand is coming up here. Her neck is actually there. When you start a painting-if you start on white you’re absolutely miserable. Looking at a white canvas is one of the most miserable things in the world. And this is the only time I get to sit back and relax and toss some paint. It’s also why I have a curtain over my bookcase.”

She’s been asked to paint one of her heroes, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. But done in her style which means Frida will have wings.

“I love the surprise of people coming into a show that they know something about, but they don’t know everything about. And then when they walk in they’re completely amazed at what they see.”

We’re in Libby Smith’s home that doubles as a studio. The walls are covered with her colorful vision of the world done up in oils and acrylics. People both realistic and fantastical. Recognizable faces like David Bowie next to fairies in woodland scenes.

And it’s all on display to the public for the first time at her Magical Beings show at CityArts. Smith took a break and put down her brushes to talk with me about the magic and beauty she sees in everything around her. Even while losing the one thing she relies on most as an artist: her sight.


To listen to our full conversation, please click on the clip above. Tune in every Friday for Spotlight at 5:50.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur


Danielle Prieur grew up listening to her grandfather’s stories of swimming across the Detroit River from Canada and many other adventures. She’s been into storytelling ever since. She studied writing at the University of Michigan. She trained in public radio at WDET’s Detroit newsroom, and is really excited ... Read Full Bio »