Mark T Smith

In the studio with Shakespeare and Melville, 2015

A day in the studio, a week, a month, several months. I lose track – and on some level I don’t care to keep track. The discipline of a studio practice – the process of making, the avocation, the  compulsion – over decades – this is something that can’t be changed or even tempered. It is simply part of the struggle to create meaning. Every day starts or ends in that room.


Process is the cornerstone of my creative experience. Process is the part of making that I am the most infatuated with, the revisions, the thought, the drawing. Starting with a multitude of drawings, notes, ideas and research, the final work begins to take shape. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet.



The final work on 30 X 40 inch canvas in mixed media. An image inspired by the Shakespeare play Hamlet. “To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and, by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet


Details of the painting above.



The sketch below was created on a 600 mile boat trip through the Bahamas. In a tranquil moment this piece was drawn. This drawing became the starting point for a piece about Melville’s Moby Dick. Inspired by the relatively long journey, through storied waters in a short amount of time. (Of course fueled by rum, a fast boat, good friends and a daily infinite blue landscape).


The final piece of artwork. Mixed media on 30 X 40 inch canvas. The sketch that was inspired by the boat trip through the Bahamas shifted slightly to become a piece about the literary master work of Herman Melville – Moby Dick. “As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick.


As the two works hang in the studio at the end of September. “…that one most perilous and long voyage ended, only begins a second; and a second ended, only begins a third, and so on, for ever and for aye. Such is the endlessness, yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick.

Another day in the studio.


Portrait Photograph above: Reni Candelier. All other photographs by the artist.


About Mark T. Smith

Mark T. Smith is a celebrated American painter. He is best known for his colorful, complex paintings and his passion for the application of art into the fabric of everyday life.

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