British landscape artist David Smith was born in Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex, in 1949 to a modest family. He was strongly influenced by the artistic talents of his paternal grandfather, a larger-than-life character. David’s grandfather earned a living in his youth as a bare fist pugilist. He also sailed the world on ocean-going liners as a printer, producing menus and other shipboard paraphernalia. He was a keen amateur artist and taught his grandson not only to defend himself but how to wield a paintbrush.
School holidays were happily spent with his maternal grandparents in Derbyshire. David’s voyages into the countryside were where he first became aware of its beauty, the undulating mountains, tree-laden valleys, fast flowing rivers and quiet twinkling streams.
It is to this idyllic setting that David would return many years later as a full-fledged artist to create some of his finest masterpieces. David could, even in his youth, visualize the completed picture. He only lacked the skill to achieve the end result.
While working as a bricklayer, David spent most of his spare time trying to improve his artistic technique. He studied the work of Tony Sheath, who he later befriended and from whom he received crucial advice on how to impart his thoughts on to canvas. David also received invaluable direction from a prestigious gallery owner in Raleigh, Essex, who continually critiqued his work until it had enough merit to hang in his gallery. Finally, in 1974, the gallery took four of David’s paintings. They sold immediately. All the years of artistic dedication had paid off and David Smith, the artist, realized his dream. In 1976, David made art his career.