Old Hotel December Artist of the Month

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Emry Dinman/Sun Tribune - Robert Smitha’s “word feelings” layer famous quotes on top of themselves. This one reads “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that,” originally of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Othello Old Hotel has named Robert and Judy Smitha the December Artists of the Month, and will be displaying the husband-and-wife duo’s art throughout the month.

Robert, who has a background in fine art and art history, has a number of pieces on display. Most are of “word feelings,” a chaotic rendering of a famous quote layered on top of itself, creating a wild image he describes as a rising cityscape. A style he first developed twenty years ago while layering the first verse of the Bible, Robert said it’s just one of the many eclectic forms he’s been drawn to by curiosity and serendipity.

Also on display are some of Robert’s oil pieces, including a large bald eagle portrait currently resting above the art gallery’s front desk.

Judy’s works make use of recycled materials, layering textures and colors to create pastoral scenes out of reclaimed wood and other assorted objects. Her pieces also make use of clever puns to highlight the objects used, including a hunk of wood found on the side of the road she used in a piece called “Road Block.”

Though Judy has a creative background, having owned a picture frame shop in Redmond for a number of years, she said she has only been able to find the time to develop her creative pursuits in the last year.

The couple has distinct styles and create their art in separate spaces, but there are advantages to having two artists in the household, Judy said. The two critique each other’s art and help each other develop their interests, she said.

For Robert, having his work on display for an open house is a validation of decades of creative work, and for Judy, being honored by the Old Hotel is a welcome surprise for a newly minted artist and a chance to show the community their unique art, they said. Being able to show their work together gives a larger audience a chance to find something they connect to, Judy said.

“Anybody could do what either of us does, but people are different and bring their own touch to it,” Judy said. “These are two different styles, two different styles of thought.”

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