Make your own free website on



New Paintings
Danielle the Author
Character Illustrations
Artwork Archive
Small Series+Drawings
Freelanced Book Covers
About Danielle
Appearances + Exhibitions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you come up with how a piece of art will look?
The image will usually form in my head at first, sometimes fairly fleshed-out, sometimes barely a skeletal concept. Inspiration can come from ANY source: books, television/film, my own photographs, or flat out of my head. I am notorious for tearing pages out of fashion magazines where I find interesting poses, hording the photographs, and leafing through them when I need a little inspiration. Often, even if I have a concrete idea before I begin sketching, the painting will take on a life of its own. I allow my process to be very organic in order for the piece to become infused with its own vitality. Painting, the creation of the work itself, is sometimes very much like a miracle.
What sort of media and materials do you use?
 I create my works using a variety of media. Materials of choice include oil, acrylic, coloured pencils, graphite, pastels, and coloured inks. Oil paintings are created using high quality water-soluble oil paints, which retain the luminous qualities of traditional oils, but are more user and enviornmentally friendly (I have a sensitivity to traditional chemical-thinned oils, which prevented me from using this medium in the past) and can be mixed with other media. Artworks are usually executed on board, vellum bristol (a good, heavy acid-free paper similar to cardstock with a nice toothy surface), canvas, or fine art paper. I usually use synthetic brushes, both golden and white, which are suitable for both oils and acrylics. I have a horrible habit of trashing my brushes in the heat of the moment, and these allow me to keep tossing old and purchasing new brush sets without putting me in the poor house, while still allowing me to work with a smooth, high-quality bristle.
What are the cultural styles that inspire you? What stuff in general inspires you?
I am strongly inspired by a number of cultures. My strongest leanings are Celtic (the bulk of my own heritage), Viking, Teutonic, Jewish, Mayan, and Haitian influences. In general, I adore mythology, folklore, and ancient symbolism from around the world. Fashion and historical costuming also bear some weight in my work.
What other artists inspire you?
Oh my God/Goddess, that is SUCH a long list! Well, have a look at my links page and that will give you a rough idea. A reeeeaaalllyyy short list here would include the Dutch masters, the pre-Raphaelites, the Italian Renaissance masters (especially Michaelangelo), Michael Parkes, "dark" artists like Brom and James O'Barr (creator of The Crow), realist painters like Sharon Sprung, Celtic artists Jim Fitzpatrick and Cari Buziak, all of my wonderful artist friends like Kurt Thompson and Celene and Lydia Martin and Vicky DeLong--aw, Hell, just look at the links page, dammit! ;)
What music inspires you?
Aw, Hell! That list would be nine years long...well, either way, I am VERY inspired by music when I paint and write. A definite "short list" would include The Church, Dead Can Dance, Portishead, Bush, Live, Loreena McKennitt, Enya, Clannad, Peter Gabriel, Tori Amos, Nine Inch Nails, Led Zeppelin, Mozart, Thievery Corporation, Iron and Wine, Peter Gabriel, Fleet Foxes, Snow Patrol, and all kinds of world/ ethnic music and mixed soundtracks (including, yes, the Riverdance soundtrack!!). I will listen to LOTS of different styles of music for inspiration. BTW, if you want to check out really good single songs, these are keepers: "Under the Milky Way" by The Church, "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult (I want this played at my funeral!!!), "Host of Seraphim" and "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" by Dead Can Dance, "Winter" by Tori Amos. I'll add more here later...
How long does it take for you to finish a painting?
 It depends on the piece itself. Things like materials, size, and complexity all need to be taken into consideration, as well as how many other projects I am working on at the time. Many paintings have taken me several weeks, sometimes even months to complete, especially those pieces requiring painstaking layering of media.
What is your educational background?
I have actually had very little formal education--I am primarily self-taught. As mentioned in my bio, my only stint in art school was at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Although SCPA is a quality arts-based primary school, I learned only a few very basic (albeit important) techniques in art class-- techniques in figurative drawing, oil painting, complex composition, etc. were all learned in private through trial and error (and error and ERROR). I do not have a formal college degree. This has allowed me to develop my own unique style, rather than be "molded" into an art prof's "box".
How do you figure pricing for your work?
Pricing one's work is probably one of the most difficult tasks for an artist. Many different things must be taken into consideration, including time spent conceptualizing, working on, and even struggling with a piece, the cost of materials, etc. Originally, when I was faced with this challenge, I spent a lot of time researching how other artists priced their work, especially work somewhat similar to my own. I have found that, frequently, most artists either price their work way too low (below even the cost of materials, a total moot point), or way too high (setting the price of a single painting at the same cost as a new BMW seems to be just a tad too high to me). So, as a rule of thumb, I attempt to hit a good "middle ground"-- not so low that I'm cheating myself, and not so high as to be rediculous about the whole thing. 
Do you have any special projects going on right now?
I am working on a series of urban fantasy novels--I have finished book one and will be developing three books to follow.
Are you represented by any galleries? How do I purchase an original?
I am currently represented by the San Diego-based District 117 Gallery, who manages the sale of select original works online, and exhibits my art in a variety of venues throughout the city. To view/purchase an original, click on the following link: and click on "Artists". If you are interested in a piece that you see here that is not available through District 117 Gallery, contact me via e-mail at and I will respond with purchase information. I would also love to hear from you if you are a gallery or organization interested in representing or displaying my work.
Do you accept commissions?
Absolutely! Drop me a line at: to discuss your project. Illustration, tattoo, and fine art commissions are always welcome!
What sort of commissions have you done in the past?
Commercial illustration (book/magazine), custom tattoo designs, murals, and private fine art commissions.
Can I post an image of your work on my website?
   Absolutely, if it's a not-for-profit site and you give full credit, including a functional link back to this site. All of my work is copyrighted and any violation of that copyright will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
How can I get site updates?
You can get site updates by joining the e-mail list. You can join this list by visiting the Contact page.
Can I link to your site?
   Absolutely! And thank you for your support!
Do you do link exchanges?
I like hearing from and exchanging links with fellow artists. E-mail me an inquiry with your link and contact info and I'll be in touch. 
Do you ever create art that is political?
I get this question a lot, especially from other atists, and it is a well-intentioned one. But the answer is a decided never. To me, putting a political slant into my art just feels tacky. I understand that art has always been a big platform for political free speech, so to speak, and if someone wants to go that way, that's ok. I'd defend his/her right to do so any day, whether I were to agree with their viewpoint or not--that's what freedom is. But you won't ever see me doing it.
You're really into Celtic stuff. Are you Celtic? British?
   Yes. I'm mostly Welsh, Scottish, and Irish on my mother's side and English on my father's. I'm basically what my mom calls a "Celtic mutt", what others might call Anglo-Celtic.
Any other ancestry?
   Sure, like almost any American-- Franco-Dutch, Germanic , and Jewish. I'm just damn proud of every little Picto-Celtic-Teutonic-Semitic inch of me!
What are your goals for the future?
I plan to eventually open my own art gallery, so that I may share my art with a broad audience and have complete control over how my work is displayed and promoted to the public. I also plan to continue writing novels and short stories.

Copyright Danielle D. Smith. All art and images appearing on this site are the sole property of the artist and any unauthorized use is strictly forbidden. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of copyright law.
Logo design by ohkimma