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Healing through her art

Kitty Smothers might seem like a more artsy name but, even behind the name, there’s no mistaking the talent of Amanda Smothers.

Kitty Amanda Smothers has earned the reputation as an exceptional visual artist and also as a musician in, around and outside Pike County. However, recently she has turned her talents more toward her art rather than her music.

“I’m not giving up music completely,” Smothers said with a smile, “but, right now, my main interest is art.”

Smothers recently organized an art guild in Troy and initiated “Painting in Plein Air” in Pike County. Then, COVID-19 brought most everything to a standstill. However, Smother’s creative juices continued to flow.

Although Smothers is a versatile artist, she is highly acclaimed as a portrait artist and the wait for her work is often long. When the coronavirus temporarily closed Troy University where she has worked for 20 years, Smothers took advantage of the time off to donate more time to her portrait commissions.

But, as with most people, COVID-19 cast a cloud of uncertainty over Smothers and she began to long for something to brighten her days.

“Everything I was seeing, hearing and reading brought about a sense of hopelessness.” she said. “My faith is strong and I began to look for things that heightened my hope for our future.”

Smothers found that hope in the waves that lapped the sands along the Panhandle of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“I love the mountains and peacefulness that surrounds them,” she said. “But, during these very uncertain times, it has been the sand and surf that have brought me the most peace and the greatest hope. As I watched the tide go out and take the sand with it. I knew that, in its time, the tide would also bring back the sand. And, I realized that, no matter what was going on in the world, the darkness would eventually lift and hope would return just as surely as the sand would shift back and forth.”

That realization, coupled with the beauty and serenity of the beaches, inspired Kitty Smothers to create a collection of paintings titled “Day at the Beach”  that are bright and happy and filled with hope.

“The ‘Day at the Gulf’ paintings were painted at different times throughout the last year as personal work between the tedious work of portrait painting,” Smothers said. “I have always found the beach to be a very spiritual place. For me, it’s a place of reflection, hope, rest and joy.

“When I painted these pieces, it gave me an outlet to be loose with the brush and to paint in a more impressionistic way. It was also restorative for me because portrait painting is very detail oriented.”

Smothers said she noticed a theme while looking through her personal paintings in that they made her feel joyful and happy.

“The thought occurred to me that the world, with all this is going on, needs some joy and encouragement right now,” she said. “I hope that, when people look at this work, they will be reminded that there is much more to be glad about and maybe they will bring a bit of that notion into their homes through these paintings.”

Although the five paintings are beach related, they are different in subject matter. There’s a pineapple, a pink flamingo, a cluster of tropical fruit (Laughing and Lemon) sand and surf and the Delta.

Kitty Smother’s original paintings are, or perhaps “were,” for sale. Prints are available. Also Smothers now has an on-line store with several “Day at the Gulf” themed items available.

“I’m so excited about the ‘Day at the Gulf’ items,” Smothers said. “Having my artwork on something other than canvas opens new art opportunities. At my on-line store, I have pillows with all five of the ‘Day at the Gulf’  designs. “

The pillows look great indoors or on decks and around pool.

The Laughing and Lemon design is on a phone case and also on a small clutch-type bag that is ideal for change, cosmetics and a dozen other uses.

“The Laughing and Lemon design is also on a weekend bag that is made especially for the beach but also is a go-anywhere bag,” Smothers said.

Smother’s online store is now open at www.kittysmothers.com. Kitty Amanda Smothers invites everyone to browse the shop and, hopefully, in so doing, her artwork will bring a little sunshine into their lives as it has into hers.

“The Day at the Beach collection has confirmed that personal painting is really healing for me and that I have things to say to the world,” she said. “I’m excited to explore the possibility of new collections and ideas.”