GREENFIELD — You can see the tree from artist Deborah Smith’s dining room — a big, old sycamore with a trunk branching out into two separate but equally regal trees. Smith has painted that tree — the namesake for her Sycamore Ridge Studio — more times than she can count, in all seasons and in all kinds of light.
Trees, Smith said, are among her favorite things to paint, despite her being best known locally for her paintings of buildings and homes — many of which depict historic Hancock County locations.
Smith, 61, has been a painter since she was in high school, following the creative lead of her older sister and her mother. Smith’s sister did art, and her mother enjoyed ceramics and clothing construction.
“They always had a project going,” Smith said.
Growing up in the old Civil War town of Lexington, Missouri, Smith said people recognized her artistic talent and began asking her to do paintings of historic buildings in the community.
Upon graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in art, she honed her artistic skills doing freelance pen-and-ink sketches for ad agencies and real estate agents and soon became known for her architectural paintings. It is a reputation that followed her to Greenfield in 1984.
Though you might not recognize her name, you’ve probably seen Deborah Smith’s artwork hanging in offices throughout Greenfield. A watercolor of Hancock Regional Hospital hangs on the walls inside.
Smith’s paintings of the NineStar Connect building have been made into coasters as gifts for clients. Her mural, “The Donor Tree,” decorates the wall of the Senior Services center.
“Townships,” an original acrylic
“When you do artwork,” Smith said, “it’s imprinted on your soul.”
“Artists among us” is an occasional series about creative people with Hancock County connections.