Roberts Gallery Blog

Roberts Gallery Blog

Spotlight on Kelvin Smith

“My earliest plein air studies date back to 1996, when I was painting in the Gatineau Hills and then along the Georgian Bay. It wasn’t until 2001 that I first camped on Lake Superior, my first night in a tent being welcomed by a gale. The skies the following morning were some of the grandest I have ever beheld, and I was hooked. I seek to explore other more northern regions annually, typically in late September and early October – most recently Mississagi, on the eastern side of Algoma; however, I almost invariably end up on Agawa Beach in pursuit of those vast and complex Lake Superior skies.

The impact of warmer autumns, accompanied by what sometimes seems like interminable strings of cloudless days, has made this quest for atmosphere more elusive, and, in many ways, this has affected the sketches, with resulting pieces that are more leisurely in their observation. That said, the lake always delivers, and with the dramatic shifts in weather come the impulsive opportunities for quick tonal and colour notes at the easel, a recording of aesthetic emotion, for pieces often finished later in the studio.

Of the resulting studies, those that make it to canvas are typically landscapes that demand a more imposing scale, naturally including the ever awe-inspiring hills of Algoma and the north shore of Superior. Canvases of architectural interiors, long a counterpoint for me to these pieces, tend less to be worked up from sketches and often painted on site. In contrast to these subjects, I am currently working on a number of larger and somewhat more abstract compositions, attempting to capture fleeting impressions of just sky and water – which rarely fail to entrance, whatever their mood!”


See Kelvin’s featured Sketches works here.