Sudbury plein air artist Christy Smith spending February painting the outdoors in isolation

She is now 11 years in her 12 year project to paint nature 365 days a year

For the past 11 years, local outdoor artist Christy Smith has spent a month on a painting retreat in a rustic cabin on the edge of her wooded property between Wanup and Wahnapitae.

She sees her husband once a week when he brings her fresh food, but otherwise she has no contact with civilization – no cell phone, no television, no radio. Smith said she brings art books to study when she is not painting.

In an emergency, she would have to walk two kilometers through the bush to get home.

Smith’s annual art retreats are part of her 12-year project of painting nature 365 days a year – she is now a decade old. Every year she chooses a different month to paint in the great outdoors.

In 2021, Smith is spending the month of February (this month) on her art retreat. She will complete the project in 2022 by spending the month of September in the bush – a nice way to end her mission.

Before heading out into the bush, Smith emailed

“I’m going to dinner tomorrow and I’ll be back March 1st,” she said.

“I plan to paint outdoors for the next 30 days, whatever the weather … although warmer than colder is preferred.

“In this eleventh year I have now completed 303 days of outdoor painting, up from my 12-year goal of painting 365 days in the bush and documenting the Sudbury surroundings.

“I’m proud of my successes so far and I’m looking forward to this next winter challenge outside of painting. We, my husband Thom Pepin and I, pulled all the wood, 3.5 maple cords.

“I precooked, packed and frozen food every 30 days. I packed and pulled all of the art and cabin gear for a month.

“Tomorrow we’ll bring out the last 40 gallons of water and my fresh food. Then the fun begins when I start painting from February 1st to March 1st when I return home. I’ve learned so much over the past 10 years and improved my artistic skills immensely.

“I was delighted to be able to document this beautiful landscape in Sudbury in color. I’ve also learned that isolating isn’t such a bad thing, in fact that’s what I make a living from. To be one with nature is a real blessing. I really enjoy my experience as a solo artist and I look forward to each one. This February is no exception. “

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