Artist Tina Smith paints what she knows. Her eagerness to recapture the tones and forms of nature were kindled in the time that Tina was associated with Betsy Whitney, wife of the philanthropist and art collector, Jock Whitney. From her desk on the second floor of the Whitney’s vast town house on Manhattan’s east side, she observed the grand bouquets of flowers brought on alternate days from the Whitney hothouses on the family’s 500-acre estate in Manhasset. She recalls first being dazzled by the array of orchids, flowering plants, and leafy boughs, and then stimulated to reproduce these with her watercolor brush.
Those early efforts were cultivated by intensive instruction in from Xavier Barille, Shannon Kelly and Bridget Loritz, artists whose teaching skills were shared by a whole bevy of successful, contemporary artists.
Her unique watercolor technique emanates out of her appreciation for transparency and layers. Surrounded by the Whitney floral arrangements set out on antique tables that once graced the castles of Europe, flowers (and villas of Tuscany) have been her concentration ever since. Her style, eclectic within this range, offers backgrounds depicting petals shyly hiding behind leaves with a naturalism bred from her intimate contact with the armfuls of flowers brought into the Whitney home. Her work has attracted attention nationwide. Her aspirations are to share nature’s beauty as she discovers it.