Regional Artist, Alice Smith’s, work in Where the Crawdads Sing
by Abby Henthorn
The Moon in the Mist, Alice Smith
In the film adaptation of Delia Owen’s best selling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, South Carolinian artist and Charleston native, Alice Smith’s, work can be seen. As the film takes place in the marshes of North Carolina, director Olivia Newman wanted the artwork shown in the film to “capture Kya’s (the main character) world”. Alice Smith’s scenic watercolors of the Charleston streets and marsh vistas does just that.
Alice was born in Charleston in 1876 and remained close to the area until she passed in 1958. She was self-taught aside from taking some simple art classes at what is now the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC and experimented with different mediums ranging from architectural drawings, soft portraiture, and even woodblock Japanese prints until finding her preferred style of watercolor painting.
Sony Pictures, 2022
Smith fully realized her connection to nature and the beauty that surrounded her hometown in 1924 when she switched to almost exclusively watercolor. She believed watercolor could best produce the “atmospheric effects she sought in her landscape” (TJC). In her work there are seldom any humans and if they do appear they are hazy and non-specific as to not draw too much attention away from the landscape.
Smith’s landscapes are often soft and use cool tones with a touch of pale pink or yellow to convey the setting sun. These backdrops are realized through thick, sweeping brush strokes across the landscape and her works were mostly painted by memory to create an idealized likeness of her surroundings.
Alice was also a catalyst for the Charleston Renaissance and a founding member of many artistic bodies in Charleston including the Charleston Etcher’s Club as well as the Southern States Art League. Later in life Alice Smith became a notable illustrator as well and published many works in books about the Carolina Lowcountry.
While she remained in South Carolina for her whole life, her work has traveled all over the nation and can be seen today in institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, The Ogden Museum, and museums in San Francisco, just to name a few. Now Alice’s work will be seen by millions in this new major movie!
Meet the Author
Abby has a strong passion for Art History and the stories and inspiration behind any given piece.
Summer Intern at Artists Collective | Spartanburg
We are so excited to welcome Intern Abby Henthorn to the Artists Collective! Abby will be joining us for the summer and interning under Operations Manager, Merry-Beth Noble. Abby is a Spartanburg local and just finished her first year of college at The New School, NYC and will be transferring to Vanderbilt University in the fall to as a double major in Vocal Performance and Art History. Abby has a strong passion for Art History and the stories and inspiration behind any given piece. Though not an artist herself, she is quite a talented singer, and she’s also fascinated with the process of creating.
She will be helping out around the Collective, learning how a Collective runs and taking on a variety of projects throughout the summer. She is helping with the upcoming Juried Exhibition as well and writing content for our social media! Please feel free to reach out to her via email, abbyhenthorn at gmail.com, with any questions or concerns!