Q&A with Ashland artist Pegi Smith

Ashland artist Pegi Smith created the gorgeous painting that graces the cover of Balance of Fragile Things. The original painting, “On the Wings of Butterflies,” was completed in 2010 and is on exhibit at 38 Central in Medford, Oregon. Visit Pegi’s website to learn more about her work as well as upcoming exhibits…and check out this article in the Ashland Daily Tidings to read more about Pegi and the story of the cover.

Your artistic life began in music—when did you transition to visual art?

Although music was my first “real” artistic venture in life, I always knew who I was from the time I can remember remembering. I wrote and illustrated a book for my mother before starting violin at age eight. I loved creating things out of found objects when I was quite young and still do. My father was a watercolor painter, and my grandfather and one of my uncles played violin in the various symphonies. My mother had an artistic touch herself—her gardens would take your breath away. Art in so many ways is just such a huge part of me life. I began sculpting in the 1980s and then had some sort of epiphany in 2006 when I began painting. This is when I feel I truly came to life.

How is sculpture different from painting?

Painting brings me more into the picture, so to speak … I can engulf myself more in the moment than when sculpting. When I worked in clay, it was quite a process.

What are your inspirations for your paintings?

My inspirations for my paintings come from so many aspects of life … from sorrow to joy to just about everything I see and experience!

How long does it take to complete a painting?

The question of how long it takes to finish a painting is a tough one … it can take from three days to a year, depending on the piece.

What is your favorite aspect of “On the Wings of Butterflies”?

 My favorite aspect of “ On the Wings of Butterflies” is the sense of freedom that I get when I look at it. I love painting large format, and this piece is 6’x4’—and that in and of itself is a sense of freedom to me, as I dance around the canvas; I paint on the floor, not on an easel. Butterflies are free, and that to me says it all!

What are you working on now?

I will begin painting again in a couple weeks. I have been doing shows all summer, and it is difficult to do both. I am very excited to see what transpires, as usually when I am off the canvas for some time, something new emerges … as I am but the distant director, I have to be patient with my work as I never know what is coming. The canvas is my palette, and I start with color, whichever combination of color makes me feel something to begin the process … then I listen and begin.