Sally Smith was born in Memphis, Tenn., graduated from Duke University with a major in English and a focus in art, and has taken continuing education classes and workshops intermittently. Along the years she has had such diverse careers as Chief Librarian of Duke University Chemistry Library, fashion model, and in historic restoration. Her works are in corporate and private collections in more than 225 cities across the United States and abroad. She lives in Charleston where she and her husband have raised their four children.
"Painting is my bliss," said Smith. "Whether it is a day spent with oils doing plein air canvases or a rainy day in my Charleston studio reworking a field sketch, it's where I want to be. It all began with art history and fine art at Duke University, moved to Museum of Fine Art classes in Boston, and a total visceral commitment the first time I saw the Impressionist collections in person in Paris. From that time on I have always made time for painting. Rearing four children and working along the way, but never losing sight of my deep desire to translate the natural world and my reaction to it into paint. I became a committed full time painter after discovering that I have a seriously threatening eye condition (occular histoplasmosis) in 1988. The awareness that I do not know now and have never known since then just how long I will be able to see well enough to paint has been hugely motivating. As scary as it has been, I feel that ultimately it has been an extremely positive factor in keeping me highly conscious of the excruciating beauty all around us. I believe I see things with different eyes as I look through this filter. Since then, I have had over 50 one-woman shows, participated in numerous group exhibits, shown in museums in the southeast, won several poster contests, was artist in residence in Florence, Italy, in 2012, culminating with a one-woman exhibit at the Jules Maidoff Palazzo there, written and illustrated a children's book that has gone into its fourth printing, been commissioned to do the Charleston Visitors Guide cover which turned into posters and a gift line for the Charleston Aquarium, among other recognitions."