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Click on the image for information and accompanying poem.

I paint in search of meaning, for understanding, 

to find my place in the world and in the universe.

I paint to contact the spirits.

I paint as if I’m praying.  I ask for wisdom and revelation.

I paint to find, point out, and honor the spiritual.

I paint in preparation for death.


I worry that painting is frivolous and meaningless in the modern and post-modern world.

I worry that it is not enough to give to a society with such suffering, injustice and greed.

I worry that I must formulate concepts, ideas 

and social messages in order to be a responsible painter.

But when I put these, or any boundaries, around my work, it falls flat.

I try to open my head and allow the spiritual to guide me.

I do divination and I paint.

I paint and I do divination.


Jacob Lawrence said: “My belief is that it is most important for an artist to develop an approach and philosophy about life – if he has developed this philosophy he does not put paint on canvas, he puts himself on canvas.”


Thus, my philosophy:


I believe in the soul.

I believe in the earth.

I believe in earth, water, fire, and air

with God in the middle, as my eight-year-old daughter says.

I believe in the ancestors,

in all who have gone before, 

those who are named, and those whose names have been forgotten in the sea of time,

in all whose bones lie within and upon this earth.

I believe in the spirits.

I believe in ancient and contemporary access to the spirit world.

I believe that art can serve “the same purpose as ritual, in that it can help one to overstep the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical life.” *


I believe in the wisdom, support and protection of the Ancestors.

I believe in Divine Assistance.

I believe in standing at the Crossroads.


Tremain Smith

April 2003


* Ulli Beier, The Return of the Gods

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