Sunday, September 27, 2009

Arrival of the Buffs – A New Painting by Ken Smith

Vonore, Tennessee, Sept. 12, 2009. The war paint speaks loudly as three Cherokee Warriors sit waiting on the outskirts of Fort Loudoun. They watch the Provincials that have come to provide provisions for the Independent Company of South Carolina, who are garrisoned at the British fort in what would become known today as Vonore, Tennessee. The year is 1759 and this is the subject of the latest Ken Smith historical art print commemorating the 250th anniversary of the life of Fort Loudoun. A limited edition of 250 prints will be available for sale to the public, and the art will be on permanent loan to the Fort Loudoun Association, to be displayed at the Fort Loudoun State Historic Area Visitor Center..

This is the forth painting by Smith in the five-year build-up to the 250th anniversary of the fall of Fort Loudoun. The Fort Loudoun Association commissioned Smith to create historical paintings based on events of each year of the fort’s existence. The first painting was Over the Hills: Sergeant Gibbs and the Advance Party, which depicted the partnership between the Cherokee and the Redcoats in securing a site for the building of the fort. The second painting was Mud and Blood: Carolina Builds a Fort in the Overhills. A grimy crew begin the tiring process of building the structures of the fort and its protective earthworks. The third was Hard Bargain: The Cherokee Prepare for War, which depicts the British leadership of the fort supplying their allies, the Cherokee, with guns to help fight the French.

The current painting’s subject is more terse then the other three before it. In this, there is a definite division between the Cherokee and the British. Hostilities are mounting, in what will culminate with the Cherokee besieging the fort and the eventual massacre of thirty-three members of the garrison at Cane Creek after the British surrendered the fort.

“It’s interesting to depict the declining relationship between the British and their Cherokee allies. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out,” says Smith about his latest painting.

Smit is the recent recipient of the U.S. Coast Guard Art Program’s George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence for his painting Air Station Savannah. In Knoxville, Smith’s Over the Hills from the Fort Loudoun series is prominently featured in the Museum of East Tennessee History’s permanent exhibit.

Arrival of the Buffs was unveiled Saturday, September 12, 2009, during Fort Loudoun’s Annual Colonial Trade Faire and will remain at the park’s Visitor Center after the Trade Faire is concluded. Limited edition prints of Arrival of the Buffs are available for purchase, as well as prints from the previous years.

For more information about Fort Loudoun’s Colonial Trade Fair or to purchase prints, call Angie King at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area (432-884-6217), or visit

Ken Smith Wins Coast Guard Art Program Award

Sort of a late post (but better late than never, they say)

Air Station Savannah, the oil painting pictured in the previous blog post, has won the Coast Guard Art Program’s George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence

Each year the United States Coast Guard recognizes one artist from among that year’s many submissions to the Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) to receive the coveted George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence. This year’s recipient is Radford University professor Ken Smith for his painting, Air Station Savannah, depicting AET2 Taylor Anderson (Avionics Electrical Technician) pausing in her work aboard the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, near Savannah, Georgia.

Potential Coast Guard artists apply for acceptance into the COGAP program, and if accepted, are then allowed to submit works for possible inclusion in the Coast Guard’s Permanent Art Collection. The 2009 additions to the collection include 34 works by 19 artists. Of these, one work is selected to receive the George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence. Smith’s painting, Air Station Savannah, was granted this honor for 2009. A participant in the Coast Guard Art Program for the past two years, Smith was one of only six artists who were chosen for official Coast Guard Artist deployment in 2008, from which the painting Air Station Savannah was created.

Mary Ann Bader, coordinator of the Coast Guard Art Program says, “This year's collection was among the very best collections we've had, so the competition for the award was very pronounced. [Ken Smith’s] excellent and stunning painting captivated the jurors as well as all present that evening.”

The George Gray Award is named after one of the co-founders of COGAP. Gray was an artist for more than seven decades and served as the chairman of COGAP for over 20 years. The Coast Guard Art Program uses visual arts to communicate the history and the current life of this branch of military service. The collection, which includes over 1,800 works, is shown at galleries, museums, and Coast Guard bases, as well as at other U.S. government locations both at home and abroad. To learn more about the United States Coast Guard Art Program, visit

Air Station Savannah will be included in a number of works to be displayed this fall at the Pritzker Military Library in downtown Chicago.