About The Arist
Helen Smithwick lives with her husband, Bob, close to the mountains in Colorado Springs.
After retirement, Helen returned to her first love – that of drawing and painting. She began taking classes at the Denver Botanic Gardens in 2010 and fell in love with everything – the opportunity to study, the different media to which she was introduced, and the excellent instruction. She graduated with distinction after completing the requirements for the Foundational Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration in 2013. She received the Sydney Parkinson Award for excellence in botanical illustration, and the best overall portfolio of her graduating class.
She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Illustrators, the American Society of Botanical Illustrators, and the Commonwheel Artists Coop in Manitou Springs where her work is displayed. It has also been displayed locally in many juried exhibitions.
Botanical illustration is my escape – it’s a way of disappearing from this world and entering my own, where time and place no longer exist.
From the first time I picked up a pencil and realized I could express myself on paper, I knew I had an escape route – it was always there. When I discovered botanical illustration it was a logical progression. I love the essential detail. I could totally lose myself. I never looked back!
When I start a piece, I have a picture in my mind and it is perfect. Although I try to recreate that mental picture I’m never able to reach it and so I am driven to keep on trying …..maybe the next piece will be “the one”.
I am awed by the beauty and complexity of the plants I see. I want to gather them all, study them all, draw them and capture their wonder on paper.