This is where I began as a painter

Dharma Rain Series
Around 2005 I started working on a series of paintings and drawings that I titled Dharma Rain. While still using vibrant and multiple layers of color, the mood of these works is much quieter. The exuberant density of the earlier Biophilia paper pieces has given way to contemplative calm and quiet. The vertical motif of lines and drops/circles that is evident in most of the 48 inch square paintings symbolizes the beneficient rain that nourishes all beings. The series has become, in the broadest sense, an ode to the natural world and her place as spiritual sanctuary.
(Here are several examples from the series. I am still working on locating some of the photographs of the many other paintings in this particular series.)

I painted these after we moved to Beacon. I had a studio in what was then affectionately known as "Bulldog Studios" which was the old high school. I was there for two years and accomplished alot of work during that time because of an almost daily practice. Here is a small selection.

In late 2015 I embarked on a new series - I'm riffing on the same pose of a horse, seemingly in mid-gallop, approaching the viewer. Most of the works are oil on birch panels, 16 x 16 x 2 inches.

Riffing on an old photograh of myself taken by my mother in Étretat, France in 1959. (I was 6 years old in the photograph). On the back of the photograph she had written, "Étretat, a wonderful beach."  

Ink, watercolor and/or graphite on paper. Each piece is 15 x 15 inches.

The work in the Guardian Series explores memory as well as the ambiguity of nostalgia. Girl by the Sea and Guardians Series are both inspired by the discovery of a photograph of the artist taken by her mother when the family was in Étretat, France in 1959. Girl by the Sea initially riffs on this one image in dozens of smaller sketches, later developed into “memory flags.” The larger Guardians Series eliminates the peripheral details of the memorialized Étretat photograph and brings the ever-changing girl holding the bird front and center. Working through the losses and grievances inherent in a personal history – especially the sudden loss of a mother – Smolen experiences a cathartic release in the creation of this new body of work.