01 Jan Smith, Daniel
Born 1954 in Mankato, Minnesota; lives in Bigfork, Montana
2021, acrylic, 16 x 30 inches
I have had a fascination with incorporating water in my work for decades. It began during my early years designing Duck Stamps. Steppenwolf is an example of how it’s transitioned into my current paintings. To render water convincingly, one must have a thorough understanding of the reflective, translucent, and transparent qualities it possesses. It can be a challenge, but also rewarding when it creates a unique narrative.
ONE OF AMERICA’S foremost wildlife artists, Daniel Smith enjoys wide acclaim for his depictions of the natural world. Born in Minnesota, he now resides in Montana where he is inspired by his surroundings. One of the most rewarding elements of his work is doing fieldwork, which is the genesis of all of his paintings. Smith is passionate about his subjects and travels frequently in search of artistic inspiration. His meticulous field research and insistence on directly observing the animals he paints are driven by a personal penchant to achieve greater authenticity.
Smith’s interest in art at first led him to pursue a career as an illustrator, but even then he spent his evenings painting wildlife, his first love. After winning the 1987 Federal Duck Stamp competition, he abandoned illustration and has been painting wildlife ever since. He is noted for his use of muted lighting, soft colors, and mist to enhance and exaggerate depth.
Because he feels indebted to the natural world that has been his sole inspiration, Smith uses his art to aid and endorse many conservation efforts. He has been chosen Artist of the Year by several conservation organizations.
Notable Awards and Achievements
2013 Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Victor Higgins Award
2013 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Small Works, Great Wonders, Cynthia Post Buyer’s Choice Award (also 2012, 2011)
2011 Autry Museum of the American West, Masters of the American West, Bob Kuhn Wildlife Award, Sponsored by Carl and Rosella Thorne
2011 National Museum of Wildlife Art, Western Visions, Featured Artist
2011 National Museum of Wildlife Art, Western Visions, People’s Choice Award (also 2009)
2009 Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award
2008 National Museum of Wildlife Art, Western Visions Miniatures and More, People’s Choice Award
2007 Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Artist of Distinction Award
Society of Animal Artists
Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, Arizona
Trailside Galleries, Jackson, Wyoming, and Scottsdale, Arizona