I found my calling in my forties - better late than never - when I moved upstate to a very rural environment surrounded by the natural beauty of woodlands, stone walls, overgrown abandoned apple orchards and the wildlife outside our back door. After years of working in NYC at various non-profits, corporations and health centers, my dream became to move out of the city and to the country. It was the solitude and quiet that allowed me to start to paint (see Beginnings) in a small upstairs bedroom of a little farmouse situated at the top of a winding, s-curved dirt road. It was quickly apparent that this was meant to be as my attachment and attention to the natural world around me was hypersensitive; I remember walking through an overgrown path of an apple orchard with my two Akitas at the time, thinking, really, I could do this every day for the rest of my life...and be very happy. I had found my utopia.
Entomologist Edward O. Wilson has hypothesized that our affinity for the natural world is innate, genetically coded within our DNA.  He coined the term biophilia to describe this phenomenon. He called the natural world the refuge of the spirit, greater than any human imagination.
My husband David and I resettled in Beacon, New York where we have come to enjoy the "in-between" of both worlds - the beauty of the natural world as well as the community of involved individuals. It is here that I opened a small gallery (TheoGanz Studio) on Main Street, a long-standing dream. And it is here that, in Beacon's Centennial Year (2013), I started an annual - now award-winning - public art project called Beacon 3D.
I hope to find more of a balance between running a year-round gallery and annual public exhibition and my own studio practice which I had never intended to give up; Drawings 2017, an ongoing series all beautifully photographed by Howard Goodman, are the most recent evidence of that effort.
Eleni Smolen
February 2017
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