Off The Wall Magazine Q&A with Holly L. Smith



Maine.  My great grandfather, Captain George Lane, sailed to the West Indies from Rockport, Maine with cargos of lime and wood in the early 1900’s. I have always had a strong connection to the islands and towns from which my great grandfather sailed.  

Inspiration.  Plein air painting is how I immerse myself in nature. I listen to ocean waves and birds singing. I smell the aroma balsam fir trees and the salt breeze.  Non-painting days are my “gathering days” and I spend them observing colors, light, and possible compositions for future projects.  

Medium.  I began painting with watercolors when my children were young.  It was easier to clean up when my children needed attention. When the children left home, oils became my preferred medium.

Artist Hero.  M great aunt Bert, an artist and art teacher, inspired me to pursue art. I was motivated by impressionists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Mary Cassatt, as well as the artists Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I’m inspired teaching artists including Stan Moeller, Wilson Ong, Colin Page, Ann Blair Brown, Colley Whisson, and Frank Bruckmann. 

Studio.   My summer studio is in Maine. It’s a finished room above our garage with a view of Chickawaukie Lake.  In the winter, my Florida studio with its large window allows ample natural light.  Every year, I travel to Maine’s coastal villages and islands to plein air paint.  

Where in Maine.  For over forty years, my family has lived beside Chickawaukie lake; a serene and beautiful place.  I love the colors of my flower gardens, the morning light shimmering on the lake, and the magenta, yellow, and orange colors at twilight.  My favorite places to travel are Monhegan and Eagle Island.

Fun Fact.   One branch of my family tree dates back to the early 1700’s from Wiscasset, Maine and I am a Mayflower descendant and a member of the Mayflower Society. 

Study. As a child, my parents arranged private art lessons.  I earned a BS in Fine Art from the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham and pursued a career as an artist and art educator. I taught high school art and photography or three decades.






Learn more about this artist:


Available artwork


Radio Maine podcast interview


Art Matters blog article 


Off The Wall  magazine Q&A


Mini-documentary film