Adrianne Smits is a painter ecologist (University of Washington Ph.D, Ecology ‘16, Yale, BS Biology, painting ’10). She spends months at a time conducting scientific field research in the natural systems that inspire her paintings. On assignments to remote parts of world such as Alaska or SE Asia, she collects more than numerical data from these diverse habitats. She locks into her memory the visual experience of prolonged immersion within a natural landscape, aided by a single watercolor sketch. Upon her return to her downtown Seattle studio, she begins monumental paintings in order to capture this human response to a vast, infinitely complex nature.  The paintings grow from her memory of this initial encounter, over a period of 3 months.  Each time she recalls a landscape in her mind, the imagery alters slightly, integrating more recent experiences within an urban setting. By the end the painting takes on a flattened, more vibrant and mystical quality, suspended somewhere between reality and story.

Her passion to paint monumental  landscapes is derived from her desire to recreate immersion within these wild places. It is about being surrounded months at a time, encapsulated in the trees, shrubs, watersheds, and undulating topography. There is no vista, just the canopy of nature around her. She harnesses these spiritually grounding emotions and translates it into her canvases. It is about locking in a “good memory,” of what it means to co-exist with nature on this planet.


Roots in Streambed, 2017, watercolor on paper, 19'' x 22'', $1,800

Untitled, 2017, watercolor on paper, 23 1/2 '' x 27 1/4 '', $2,200

Maple in Streambed, 2017, watercolor on paper, 22'' x 19'', $1,800

Mad Rock River Outcrop I, watercolor on paper, 19'' x 22'', $1,800

Mad Rock River Outcrop II, watercolor on paper, 19'' x 22'', $1,800

Mad Rock River Outcrop III, watercolor on paper 19'' x 22'', $1,800

Mad Rock River Outcrop V, watercolor on paper, 23 1/2'' x 27 1/4'', $2,200

Serpentine, 2016, oil on cavas, 8' x 13 1/2', $24,000


June 7 - July 14, 2018


Franscican Complex, 2017, oil on canvas, 8' x 13 1/2', $24,000, on display at CoCA