Kay_Smith_Water_Color_Paintings
Classes & Workshops
American Legacy Gallery Famous Horses Gallery Sites Painted Springfield Event Invitation Artist Kay Smith on Facebook Artist Kay Smith on LinkedIn Artist Kay Smith on Word Press Blog Artist Kay Smith on Twitter
Lectures, talks & art events presented by
Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith

When Kay Smith Talks
people listen, they hear and see America come to life through the eyes of an artist and through the words of a master storyteller, educator, and historian.

A painter of historic sites, Kay Smith has traveled extensively in Canada, France, England, Italy, Spain, Cuba and the length and breadth of the United States to paint our nation’s historic events and landmarks.

Her American Legacy Collection is a magnificent body of work consisting of 270 watercolor paintings and black and white drawings. It is the largest collection of its kind ever done by a single artist in one medium, watercolor. In 1994, in recognition of the importance of this work for education and preservation of our history/heritage, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois invested Kay Smith Artist Laureate of Illinois as a life time appointment.

Kay Smith has an unique perspective on the men, women, and events that shaped our American lives. With humor and charm she gives insights into past and present America that are not found in most chronicles of history. Her three stimulating talks described below are realistically illustrated with slides of her paintings and can be adapted to any audience.

Titles of Kay's Talks & Lectures
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history" Holding Hands With History,
The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln

click image for description of this talk
   
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history" At Home With The Illinois Governors,
A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003

click image for description of this talk
   
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history" Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor

click image for description of this talk
   
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history" The Lewis and Clark Expedition,
1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation's history"

click image for description of this talk

 

Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history"
Vicksburg Battlefield
Click for the Gallery

Through her paintings and words, the artist, weaves a powerful narrative of Lincoln’s passage from childhood to rustic frontiersman to successful lawyer: from log cabin to the White House and how and why the decisions not made and the actions not taken at Independence Hall by Washington and the Founding Fathers in 1775 affected Lincoln’s life choices, led to the Civil War and the “inestimable loss of Abraham Lincoln to an assassin’s bullet.”

Holding Hands with History is an exhibit of paintings on the Life of Abraham Lincoln by artist Kay Smith. You will feel the triumph and tragedy of Vicksburg. You will grasp the life style of the frontier as she relates Lincoln’s half-year travels as an Eighth Judicial Circuit lawyer. How he formulated insights into the desires, passions, thinking and struggles of the men and women living on the open prairies that would help him govern our turbulent, troubled country during the Civil War.
30/40 minutes illustrated with slides

top of this page

 

 

At Home With The Illinois Governors,
A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history"
Illinois Executive Mansion

Kay Smith skillfully blends stories of the lives of Illinois governors and their families with her personal experiences of being a guest at the Mansion while she completed the watercolor paintings of the interiors and gardens for the book. Stories of Illinois political life in context with national events, spectacular marriages, tragic deaths, life-affirming births, and ghosts that walk the halls. From the portico of the Mansion. Gov. Richard Yates addressed the Illinois regiments as they marched off to serve in the Civil War.

 

Here Governor Adlai Stevenson gave a deposition on his friendship with accused spy Alger Hess at the height of the Cold War. Stories of how the Mansion was saved from the wrecking ball in 1961; how the Executive Mansion Association was created. These incomparable real life stories are illustrated with slides of the artist’s paintings. It is a revealing 30/40 minute talk laced with humor and insight. This full color coffee table book is for sale at each talk and is only available through the Artist or at the Abraham Lincoln Bookstore in Chicago.
30/40 minutes illustrated with slides

top of this page

 

 

Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history"
The Old Man Sees the Marlin
Click for the Gallery

Using the writer’s own words in passages from “The Sun Also Rises”, “Death In The Afternoon”. “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Old Man and The Sea,” the artist has illustrated in thirty paintings, scenes that tell these stories and the writer’s purpose in watercolor. They were created for and exhibited during the Hemingway Centennial in Oak Park, Illinois for the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Museum.

 

Using power point or slides of these unusual paintings, the artist reveals another perspective on the works and life of Ernest Hemingway: explains the grammar of reading a painting and the symbols used to interpret the intent of the author visually. The artist gave this presentation in Havana, Cuba for the Hemingway Museum of Cuba’s Colloquium for Hemingway scholars that commemorated the 40th anniversary of his death.

30/40 minutes illustrated with slides

top of this page

 

 

The Lewis and Clark Expedition,
1804-1806, "the wildest adventure in our nation's history"
When Artist Laureate of Illinois Kay Smith Talks about her American Legacy Collection she has four talks, Holding Hands With History, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln  -  At Home With The Illinois Governors, A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion 1855-2003  -  Ernest Hemingway in Watercolor  -  The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, "the wildest adventure our nation;s history"
Buffalo Dance
Click for the Gallery

Lewis & Clark’s Expedition opened the Great West for settlement and the expansion of our nation to the Pacific Ocean.  Led by Merriwether Lewis and William Clark, they and their Corps of tough frontiersmen “endured incredible hardships and saw incredible sights, including vast herds of buffalo and Indian tribes that had not had contact with white men."


The artist tells the life of the men on the Trail. With humor and insight she includes in-depth stories of the men’s character, hardships. and loyalty and how together they achieved their historic mission and of Sacagawea, the Indian girl whose invaluable help was never recognized or rewarded by the U. S. government.  

40/60 minutes illustrated by slides

A letter of Commemdation
Pritzker Library 2009

"Holding Hands With History, had a profound effect on our visitors. Kay's efforts and willingness to provide outreach brought a record number of school groups and students  to the Library. This helped open their eyes to art, history, and the contributions of our Citizen Soldiers. Adults also had an enlightening experience and were mesmerized by Kay's words during the lecture she gave for the exhibit's opening, which was webcast live to a wider audience on the Internet.

With Kay, one gets not only her beautiful art, but also the history of the places she painted, told with her reverence and respect for our country and its leaders. She is one of  Illinios' great treasures. We deeply appreciate her sharing her great art with us."

Colonel Ryan Yantis. Executive Director
Pritzker Military Library
Chicago, Illinois

 
Excerpts from newspapers reviews

Circle of Arts to host event for Artist Laureate
The Charlevoix Circle of Arts will host a reception for Kay Smith, a well known Chicago-based artist and Artist Laureate of Illinois 

from2-4 pm on Saturday, Aug 21. .......Smith is well known as being the artist who was commissioned by the Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park,Illinois to illustrate  the life of Ernest Hemingway in watercolor paintings for his centennial birthday in l999. 

...during the reception, Smith will answer questions about her work and give a painting demonstration. 

Charlevoix Courier, Charlevoix, Michigan 2010

Historical painter to visit Circle of Arts
An artist who has been described as the foremost living painter of the United States historical sites, landmarks, and events, will be in Charlevoix this weekend.

Kay Smith will hold a lecture and demonstration from 2-4p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Circle of Arts.

Petosky News-REview, Petosky, Michigan 2010

Rave Reviews for Kay Smith

A Brush With History
Kay Smith paints the pages of our past in watercolor hues . 
Kay Smith, who lives in and works in Chicago, is in Decatur this week giving lectures at Millikin University about her exhibition in Kirkland Hall,  "In the foot steps of Columbus".

 The Herald & Review, Decatur, Illinois 1992

Brush Strokes of Genius,
Kay Smith gave  a lecture on Lincoln and the Civil War illustrated with slides to a full house at the Fayette County Historical Museum. in Vandalia on Sunday. The Museum hosted a tea for the artist following the lecture.

 The Leader-Union,
 Vandalia, Illinois 2009

History in Art--
Watercolorist Kay Smith is currently featuring her artwork at the Canton Museum of Art depicting the historic scenes and events spanning 500 years in American history.

She will give two lectures while the exhibit is here. Mrs. George Ryan, First Lady of Illinois, Shirley Madigan, chairman of the Illinois Arts Council , and Rhoda Pierce of the Illinois  Arts Council were present for the opening as was Ohio Senator Ralph Regula and Mrs. Regula.

 The Review, Akron, Ohio 2000

Awash in History
Kay Smith, Illinois Artist Laureate,has logged 300.000 miles to illustrate our country's great moments in watercolor.

Chicago Tribune, 1994

Kay Smith, well-known, historical site painter,will travel to France this month to paint Omaha Beach for Amvets. 

Kup's Column, SunTimes. Chicago, Il. 1994

Local woman followed her calling to the life of an artist
Using watercolors to capture the spirit of Americans, Lincoln Park artist Kay Smith is a leading authority on the country's historical sites. With more than 250 paintings of historic
buildings, battlefields, and national landmarks, Smith frequently lectures on American histaory and is currently displaying om DePaul University's Richardson Library. She will share secrets or her craft starting this JAanuary by teaching a 10 week course at the Old Town Triangle Art Center, 1763 N. North Park Ave. 

Lerner Papers, Chicago, Il. 1996

History as art
What sets Kay Smith's historic watercolor illustrations apart from others of the genre is that Smith is first and foremost an artist. Her research and watercolor techniques are flawless. 
Kay Smith's visual interpretation makes learning about history a treat.

The Zephyr, Galesburg, Illinois 2009

top of this page

The American Legacy Collection Foundation is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 Tax Deductible Arts Organization
Copyright 1974-2009 Kay Smith. All Rights Reserved