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DECEMBER 2014 JANUARY 2015  (back cover)

 

Welcome to the bimonthly

Leon County Senior Gazette

Tallahassee, FL

SPECIAL SENIORS

 

Robert DeWitt Smith

Robert DeWitt Smith (Bob, for short) has taught painting for Leon County Senior Outreach in Fort Braden for a pretty good while, he says.  Ive got a regular following now.  I encourage my students to do things that are part of their experience, he says.  If youve never smelled an elephant, don't paint one.

 

Bob's many years of living in Leon County -- and his love of north Florida's people and places -- radiate from his work.  His paintings continue to win awards and are shown at venues such as the Gadsden Arts Center and the FSU Museum of Fine Arts.  I grew up in Tallahassee. My family goes way back in this area. The original Smiths lived in the area around Old Pisgah Church on Centerville Road," he says.

 

Bob's life has been all about art. "I've been doing art since I was a little bitty fellow," he says. He discovered oil painting in high school when he tried to impress a teacher by copying an ornate portrait of King Henry VIII.  Oil paint has been his favorite medium ever since. 

 

At Florida State, he graduated with majors in advertising design (I wanted to make a living) and painting.  During his career, he ran the graphic arts departments at universities in Florida and New York.  For two years, he ran an art education program in Nigeria.  "It was rewarding, except midway through, hostilities started between people in the north and east regions," he recalls. "It was a terrible, terrible conflict. My original mission did a complete flip-flop. After that I was mostly doing artwork rather than training."

 

Bob retired on April Fools Day in 1999. I haven't had a real job in this millennium, he laughs.  He and his wife, Meredith, live in a house they built on Lake Talquin some 25 years ago. 

 

For an online art show, visit his web site at rdewitt.net. You may not find any elephants, but you will probably see some familiar places.