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Gillian Lee Smith

Welcome! I am a professional artist and teacher. I paint from the heart and I believe in the life-changing power of art and creativity. I am delighted to bring to you this collection of online art courses and resources to support you in your own journey of creating art.

With a degree in Performance Costume from Edinburgh College of Art, I graduated in 2005 and moved to Nottingham where I returned to my first love of drawing and painting. I now work from my studio focussing on narrative art inspired by individuals and communities and their impact and relationship with the land and the environment in which they live. This combines my fascination with history, people, the coast and storytelling.

I travel throughout the UK, Europe and the US where I love to encourage students to capture A Moment in Time – being inspired by a sense of place and community to create art that reflects the individual experience – combining portraits with the landscape that surrounds us. Strong foundations in drawing and art practice build your confidence so you can interpret your story and narrative in your own unique way.

My online courses build on this desire to teach the fundamentals of art whilst also inspiring you to create your own pathways in expressing all that is inside.

Originally from the East of Scotland…

I recently moved to the beautiful, rugged and inspirational North-East coast of England having previously been a reluctant city dweller for the last 15 years. My own art is all about connection – connection to people both in the present and in our individual or collective past. I also seek to portray a connection between people, communities and the places in which they reside.

Coastal communities live between the land and sea where my work portrays remnants of my own family history and those who came before me. Old houses provide backdrops to people who are between spaces, part of our past but also alive in our memories and consciousness.

What Students are Saying

“As a beginner, I’ve wondered how do you mix paints? Use pastels? What papers? Surfaces? Pencils or charcoal? And how DOES one use the colour wheel? So many materials, methods, and all so confusing. Can’t someone please explain it all? Well, Gillian has. It’s all here, beautifully demonstrated in excellent video. Gillian is the most talented, generous, inspiring teacher. I’ve gone back over the lessons again and again, each time deriving more benefit and seeing improvement in my work. I’m so grateful for this extraordinary course.”

Arlene Lombardo

“I want to share my extremely wonderful experience of taking Gillian’s class Unearth Gather Create. As a returning painter with years of no active drawing or painting, this thorough, intense complete class of wonderful tutorials, content, tips and writing exercises revived my passion for art. I have done many drawings, paintings and sketches. I have redone a porch to use as a studio and I am working in my journals to ready myself for two new series of paintings. Please take this class and trust you will have a wonderful journey.”

Joan Tucker

Latest from the Blog

Forever a Student – Painting Big in Spain!

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence. (Abigail Adams) One of the most important things I did last year as far as my art goes, was to take some time to be a student again. After teaching for the last three years I was...

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New Scholarship Program

Hello! The next session of Portraits - Your Art, Your Way begins on 9th January 2017. The October 2016 class is soon coming to an end and the work the students have been sharing is incredibly inspiring. They have been working in a variety of mediums to create...

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Announcing Amsterdam Retreat for 2017

I am so excited to announce that I will be teaching a drawing and painting workshop in Amsterdam 2017. It is many years since I have been to Amsterdam myself but I am so looking forward to going back to walk by the canal and visit the wonderful galleries there and to...

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