Libby Smith


One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, what if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?
— Rachel Carson

In 1970 I moved to Santa Barbara.  I tried living up north twice but soon returned and knew that Santa Barbara was my home.

I studied Fine Arts at University of California Santa Barbara, taking a BA and MFA. Later I transitioned into teaching and spent 36 years in the Art Department at Santa Barbara City College and Adult Education teaching painting and drawing.

Painting and drawing the figure was my first love.  In 2010 a close friend convinced me to try plein air landscape painting.  I was hooked!  Not only do you get to travel to beautiful places but you see color and animals, and light changing. You feel wind, sun and cold, hear the birds and the breeze in the trees, smell warmed brush and sense the passage of time.  It's a wonderful experience to be alone in the landscape!

I look for a composition highlighting a path into the distance.  Then I use strong color and contrast to create a sense of place.  Usually I spend a couple of hours painting on location until the light changes and then finish up in the studio.

I've been hiking, swimming, camping and exploring the Santa Ynez River watershed for 40 years.  I look forward to sharing portraits of the river habitat from narrow canyons to rocky pools, through fields and finally joining the ocean.