"I started this painting after a few month's break from painting. My hands get a tingly feeling when I'm really inspired. My hands started really tingling one day out of the blue and I needed to paint. I dropped everything and started finger painting. I used brushes in a few small places, but the majority of the painting was done with my fingers. It was one of the most enjoyable paintings I've ever done."
- Rhiannon Smith
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OIL ON CANVAS
48" x 24"
"My biggest accomplishment without a doubt is not a visible one. It's how my perception of my world has changed because of the challenges I’ve faced and overcome. I’m thankful for the difficulties I’ve had. Having to find resources within me to shift my circumstances has transformed me into someone who finds the good and the useful in almost everything, and that can never be taken from me.”
Upon viewing Rhi’s striking talent with a paintbrush, few could ever guess that Rhiannon is a completely self-taught artist. She has loved making art for as long as she can remember but had not actively pursued a career in art until some years ago, she decided to teach herself to paint by studying books, videos, and hours and hours of practice. Of her process, she writes: “I make art really because it's my favorite thing to do. I get lost in the process and it brings me a peaceful pleasure.”
Rhi’s art is a reflection of both her inner and outer journey of learning to both see beauty everywhere and then to interpret it in her own way, creating something even more beautiful than “reality.” Through this process of creation, she has uncovered a love for life and herself. She describes: “I've struggled with very low self-esteem and depression my whole life. Then I married an abusive alcoholic, which just made this worse. When I left my husband, my two children and I spent time in a homeless shelter. It was there that I decided that I would do whatever I needed to do to heal myself and my life.
Even still, six years later, I have daily practices of prayer, meditation, gratitude and monitoring my self-talk. I've come incredibly far and I would say I now have a fearlessness in the form of living for my own authentic joy and expression, not swayed so much by the criticism or praise of others. My paintings have changed to reflect this. There’s luminosity, life, and movement in them that wasn’t available to me in years past. I couldn’t express it because the light and life in me was caked with mud. It’s a new life now."
Rhi is a participant at Crossroads based in Providence, RI which has helped her get back on her feet, into housing, and connected with ArtLifting. She continues to create daily.
ArtLifting champions artists impacted by homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Learn more here.