Local artist loves to paint ocean scenes
After retiring a few years ago from a 43-year career in nursing, Peabody resident Carol Smith now has lots of time — and paint — on her hands.
“I love art,” Smith said. “I decided early on that I was going into art.”
But as she neared college age, she realized she’d need to find a career that would pay the bills.
“Someone showed me a flyer from the Wesley Hospital nursing school,” she said. “I checked it out and decided to go.”
Although she did a little painting during the time she was raising her family, she wasn’t able to squeeze in much art.
“There just wasn’t enough time,” Smith said.
Now that she doesn’t have interruptions, she works on her rocks every day, sometimes painting one to three in a day.
“I do a lot of memorial rocks for people,” she said. “Sometimes I get 25 requests per day for them.”
Smith handpicks her rocks, usually buying Colorado river flats in Wichita. Although the rocks are smooth, she prefers Santorini stone from Greece, which is also smooth but much thinner and of lighter weight.
Her art is featured on different home pages of rock websites across the U.S.
One project she enjoyed was making small rocks for children who were in the hospital on their birthdays.
A non-profit organization, Wichita’s Littlest Heroes, supports children and families with medical issues. The group packages small items together to give as birthday gifts.
“I usually don’t paint small rocks any more, but for this group I’ll paint something that’s really special to the kids, like a Dallas Cowboy rock,” Smith said.
A cause close to her heart is Panama City Hurricane Michael’s Locals Helping Locals project.
After the hurricane and tornado devastation in Florida this summer, portions of the area are still without electricity, people are living in tents or on the street, and food and clean water are in short supply.
“I’m working with a woman in Florida to raise money for the effort,” Smith said. “I’ve been spending all my time lately getting rocks ready for this.”
She has 50-60 painted rocks at home.
Smith will send three to four painted river rocks or seven to eight Santorini rocks through the mail to her contact, who will auction them off and use the funds to buy supplies for people still living on beaches in tents.
When she starts, she likes to continue until she’s finished the piece. On average, a rock with simple details usually takes her about three hours to finish. Bigger projects, like a nativity scene she painted, take eight to ten hours to complete.