Sunshine Over Hilltops: Nature in Color


Photo Credit: Noah Etoka

Representing “The Little Things in Life,” Smith depicts a lush, green landscape with trees casting shadows in the summer heat.

Callie Rice, Managing Writer

Iris Smith, a Boise High junior, embodies this month’s issue’s theme, “The Little Things in Life,” in a piece she painted at Catalpa Park this last summer. At the time, Smith was spending time with a friend, driving around town and enjoying the simplicity of the occasion.

She used a naturistic scene for reference, creating the general shape of hills and trees; then, she splashed watercolor across the background, layering and adding final touches to bring the piece to life.

“Taking time out of your day to admire the foothills, finding beauty in everyday life…are things I believe give life its meaning,” Smith said. “Appreciating the little things…makes everything more colorful and beautiful.”

Smith first took to art seriously beginning in 2013, though considers it to have always been a major part of her life. She indulges in mediums including graphite, watercolor, and acrylic. Works by Maxfield Parrish inspire her, particularly the “fantasy landscapes.”

The junior believes one of the most important aspects of a piece is the audience’s response through interpretation and emotional reaction. “Concepts like contrast, balance, the golden ratio, etc., are important,” Smith said. “…but the audience’s and artist’s response to the piece is more important than technical mastery.”

This issue’s theme of emphasizing the little things is a stark contrast to our previous issue’s theme, which focused on the upcoming decade as a whole. The big picture is certainly important, but taking a step back when life gets overwhelming and allowing small joys to lift your spirits is just as significant.

Smith considers not only, “…figurative things for happiness like picnicking, music…a kind gesture…” as prime examples of life’s simple treasures, but “literal” things such as buttons and quarters as well. This idea that there is value in anything you choose to put into is timeless, and as Smith concluded, “Meaning isn’t found in a big overarching theme of life, but the little pieces.”