Article & images by Bill Hornbostel

Colborne-based painter Bärbel Smith has been making great strides to be relevant and current in today’s art scene. From her home base in Colborne, she has established an international clientele with buyers across North America and in places as far away as India.

Smith has a very cutting edge online presence with her Fine Art Gallery which provides an online view of her work in augmented reality through the Art Beamer application. Available for all Apple and Android devices, it allows the prospective art buyer to preview Smith’s art on one of his or her walls.

Additionally, her Online Print Gallery provides access to most of her work which is available either on canvas or in a framed print, as well as other merchandise. Smith states, “It takes almost 50% of my time for marketing and since I would rather be painting I was happy to have my husband offer to do the full-time marketing, online website and unique Art Referral program while I do what I enjoy…painting.”   

Specializing in Contemporary Canadian Landscapes, her style is strongly influenced by Group of Seven painters and similar Canadian artists. Bärbel Smith says, “You know, Lawren Harris-ish, throw in some Emily Carr, and toss in a little bit of Doris McCarthy, and a little bit of Ted Harrison, stir the pot, and voilà!”

Smith’s style is one of simplification. “I try to remove all the busyness from the scene and leave what I want to focus on. I paint actual locations, going on-site with my camera, sketchbook and pochade box and creating colour studies and sketches. The location is still there but changed, looking at it through filtered glasses.”

Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art in the early 80’s, Smith has travelled across Canada painting landscapes and maintained active membership in the Federation of Canadian Artists since 1985.

She currently provides art instruction through her studio, and the Grand Opening of the official gallery at 16 Robertson Street in Colborne will be celebrated on Saturday, April 14, from 1 to 5 PM.

For more information, please visit her Web site,