Artists Pam and Larry Smith display their original paintings and works by other artists at the recently opened 2 Smith Gallery on Main Street in downtown Duluth.
The 1,250-square-foot gallery, filled with northern light ideal for painting, also serves at the site for weekly art classes they teach.
Larry paints landscapes in oils and acrylics and describes his style as impressionistic. Pam specializes in portraits of adults, children and dogs. ‘His style is real loose, mine is real tight,” she said. Both accept commissions.
They paint mostly from photographs. “It’s a more efficient use of time,” Pam said.
The Smiths met while attending Auburn University. Larry was studying art, and Pam was majoring in elementary education. “She loved watching me paint,” he said. They dated, married, and had three children.
Both graduated from Auburn. Larry utilized his degree in graphic design by working for advertising agencies in Birmingham, AL, and Atlanta. Then the Smiths started their own ad agency, Larry Smith & Associates, which they operated in Atlanta for 20 years.
“Pam wanted me to paint,” Larry said. “I told her I would start painting again when our children all went away to college. That Christmas, Pam gave me a big easel, paints and some canvases.”
After painting for about a year, he entered some of his paintings in an art show in Pickneyville. “Two of my eight paintings sold, and it was a lot of fun, so we started going to art shows,” Larry said.
Then someone at their church (Perimeter Church in Johns Creek) asked if he could teach a painting class. Pam took the first class along with a handful of students.
“She’d never painted before,” Larry said. She painted a bowl of fruit and then a landscape. Then she wanted to do a portrait. Her first portrait, an 11 x 14, took her 90 hours to complete. She painted more portraits and kept getting better and faster. “Now she can complete a portrait in about 25 hours,” he said.
“I didn’t think I was a painter,” Pam said. “I loved watching him paint. I didn’t realize it was something I could do. Now, when people tell me they can’t paint, I ask them if they’d like to paint.”
The painting classes continued in the dimly lit basement at the church for several years until they took a class home one day to paint. The students liked it so well that classes were moved to the Smith home and conducted there for the past five years.
The gallery features works by the Smiths and artists they met while showing their art in shows for several years in the East and Southeast. Besides original paintings, there are watercolors, wood carvings, and sculptures for sale. At the moment, the gallery also has a Picasso and a Peter Max hanging on the walls.
2 Smith Gallery is located at 3150 Main Street, Suite 101, in the Mathias Building. It is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For information call 404-996-8922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They teach three oil painting classes a day (mornings, afternoons and evenings) on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Six-week classes are offered in the winter, spring, summer and fall. Classes are available for beginning and experienced artists. Currently they have 58 students.
The gallery had its grand opening Dec. 8. The Smiths relocated their studio/ gallery and art classes from their home in Norcross. “There were too many people coming to the house,” he said. Their classes attract students from Alpharetta, Atlanta, Conyers, Decatur, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Norcross, Smyrna, and Snellville, among other places.