We had the good fortune of connecting with Darcie Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darcie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
After reading books such as Daniel Pink’s, “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future,” and Ingrid Fetell Lee’s, “Joyful,” I don’t think there are many jobs out there that don’t benefit from creativity. I also believe that being a creative thinker will continue to be important if we want to pursue work were technological advances enhance our productivity without replacing our jobs. Empathy, creativity, and problem-solving are human skills that everyone should develop. The more we practice our creative outlets, whether that is in painting, photography, or woodworking, the better we are at utilizing creativity across all life pursuits. For me, creativity is a life value, and my personal outlet is drawing and painting. My intention to pursue an artistic career was never defined in a specific moment. It was the act of prioritizing my values and following that path. Over time, I developed a style and preferred subject matter that resonated with people and allowed me to grow a supportive audience. I’m grateful for that, but I make things for the joy of creativity.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love painting the memories of my adventures in nature. While many landscapes are scenes from a distance or of Manifest Destiny where humans are removed from the scenery as a spectator or dominator, my intention is to evoke the experience of being within nature and a part of the dynamic adventure. In Chase Jarvis’ book, Creative Calling, his major piece of advice is to “make it till you make it.” Artist, Christopher Niemann, advises that you must be proficient in your craft to the degree that you can confidently reproduce your style, and so my goal remains to work with enough consistency and freedom to understand my voice and express it in my painting. Committing despite expense of time, materials, and continuing education is my greatest challenge, and I am not immune to self doubt. Like hiking to the top of the mountain, you must first take a few steps, then a few more, and before you know it you’ll be looking back at where you started from shocked by the progress. For me, painting is an adventure with no final destination.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week in the Colorado mountains! First, we’d head to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs to soak in the pools and acclimatize to the altitude. Remember to drink lots of water! We’d spend the next day rafting down the Arkansas River with an overnight camping spot tucked along the banks. The next morning, we’d cook breakfast around a campfire and then finish our rafting trip. After hot showers and a change of clothes, we’d head to the Surf Hotel for dinner on the patio alongside the river, watching as the kayakers practice in the play wave. The next morning we’d set out on a guided tour with the prospectors who have mineral rights on Mt. Antero to search for semiprecious gemstones, such as Aquamarine, at the top of the 14,000 ft. peak. Later, we’d return to downtown Main Street and enjoy a gourmet burger and an old fashioned from the Buena Viking and the Deerhammer Distillery. Let’s rent stand up paddle boards from CKS and head up to Cottonwood Lake for a casual mid-morning paddle surrounding by mountain peaks. We might not make it out of the store right away with all of their cute clothes and fun hats. After our paddle, we can enjoy a hike in the area or drive up to the top of Cottonwood Pass to take in the views. If we still have plenty of energy, a mountain bike ride on Sausage Link, Bacon Bits, and Unchained offers intermediate biking and stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks. We could also visit Salida’s S Mountain for more biking trails than we have time for. Later, we can wander the historic downtown, check out the local art galleries, enjoy a bite to eat and relax at the park.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I find that I’m most creative when I’m in a place of continuous learning, when I have the space to work on and complete projects regularly, and when I’m healthy. The people and things that help me achieve this are my small community of friends and family who encourage me to continue painting, hold me accountable, keep me playful, and support me when I take risks. I’m a podcast junkie, and the ones I’ve enjoyed most for creative inspiration include Design Matters by Debbie Millman, Chase Jarvis Live and his book, Creating Calling, How I Built This, Ologies, The Happines Lab, and Song Exploder. I’m currently reading Better Entrepreneurship 2.0 by Bill Collins, which I think it significant for all career paths. I love diving into compelling literature, and spent a large part of the pandemic absorbed in novels such as The Great Alone, The Vanishing Half, the Giver of Stars, Samurai’s Garden, The Nickel Boys, All the Light We Cannot See, Where the Crawdads Sing, The Knockout Queen, Dune, The Goldfinch, the Nightingale, and the Tattooist of Auschwitz. I’m inspired by the artwork and business acumen of local Denver artists such as Noelle Phares, Leslie Jorgensen, and Evelyn Gottschall Baker