Monday, November 26, 2012

New Work and an Updated Website


At long last, Ken has officially released two new prints:
Wacht am Rhein, The Battle at Marvie and Green Hell: The Battle of Suicide Creek. Wacht am Rhein features the German Panzer Lehr division and Green Hell is the American 7th Marine. Both are offered as giclee prints.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday 2012

Okay, I have to get in on the act too.

Black Friday sale at Ken Smith Historical Art!

Midnight Thursday to midnight Friday: all prints are half off! That's right, half price.

This includes the brand new German print, Wacht am Rhein, and the pretty darned new Marine print, Green Hell

$100 prints are on sale for $50
$185 prints are on sale for $92.50
(and so on and so on -- you can do the math)
$10 shipping for your whole order.

A few details on the production of the two new prints (Wacht am Rhein and Green Hell): 

Starting with these two prints (and henceforth), I'll be doing all WW2 prints using the giclee printing method. This means several things: 1) smaller editions - 125 prints 2) better color 3) heavier paper 4) higher costs 5) slower turnaround time. 

These giclee prints are done one-at-a-time by an expert digital printmaker in Knoxville, Tennessee. Stated turnaround time is 4-6 weeks. I can do it faster, and I will for this sale, but be aware that the prints are not sitting at my house as I type this. If you have a particular timeliness need, let me know when you order (and be aware that there's no way I can get them to you quicker than a week, and even that's pushing it). The glicee method is also used for all the actress prints and the one civil war print (At First Light).

I'm not reprogramming the website for this, so you'll need to just send me an email (, telling me what you want, and the total cost including $10 shipping (if it's international, I'll have to calculate the exact shipping price). I'll double-check your calculations, and you can pay by Paypal.

Any questions beforehand, send me an email
Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 5, 2012

"At First Light" Print Signing

As per the McClung Museum Facebook page:

On Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 2pm. Dr. Earl J. Hess will give a lecture on new Civil War book, The Knoxville Campaign, and will be available to sign books after his talk.

At the same time, artist Ken Smith will be at the Museum to sign prints of his work, “At First Light” an image of the 1863 Confederate artillery position excavated on the site of newly built Sorority Village.

Dr. Earl Hess of Lincoln Memorial University is known and respected nationwide as a leading expert in Civil War history. The author of over twelve books, 23 articles and 100 book reviews, his latest work is entitled The Knoxville Campaign: Burnside and Longstreet in East Tennessee. Published by University of Tennessee Press, this extremely well organized and precisely illustrated book is a great asset to our understanding of local history. Top-notch research and writing applied to the complicated subject of East Tennessee’s under appreciated contributions and sacrifices during the Civil War, have produced an academic success and a surprisingly good read in one volume.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Scene of Conflict: Museum Opening, Reception, and Lecture

Press Release

Who: Historical Artist Ken Smith and Glencoe Museum, Radford VA

What: Museum’s Gallery to Exhibit “Scene of Conflict: Paintings of World War Two, The Civil War, and the Victorian Stage by Ken Smith”

Where: Glencoe Museum, 600 Unruh Drive, Radford, VA 24143

When: November 9, 2012 through January 10, 2013
Artist’s Reception – Friday, November 9, 2012, from 6 pm to 8 pm
Artist Lecture – Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm. Radford Public Library.

Contact: Scott Gardner at Glencoe – 540-731-5031 |

The Scene of Conflict: a phrase that brings much to mind, and in the world of Ken Smith’s historical art, it sets the stage for both the conflict of arms and the conflict of the intellect. Smith’s paintings of military history (the French and Indian War, the Civil War, and World War Two) hang beside the greatest of the Victorian actresses, each painting depicting a drama both profound and emotional, whether it be a moment of impending battle (Green Hell) or the agony of the moment of truth in Sarah Bernhart’s Lady Macbeth (What is Done Cannot be Undone). 

Lining the gallery walls of the Glencoe Museum, the public is invited to view not only the history offered by the museum, but also the history featured in Smith’s work. 

“My paintings show these individuals in a very up close and personal way, always seeking to show a vision of the world in which these people lived – and sometimes died – with a portrayal that is both authentic and heroic,” said the artist.

Glencoe will host an opening reception for the exhibit on Friday, November 9 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the museum. On Tuesday, November 13, Smith will present a lecture on the process of creating historical artwork. The lecture will be held at the Radford Public Library and will begin at 7 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.

Smith currently resides in Pulaski, Virginia and is an assistant professor of graphic design at Radford University. Before this, he lived in the Knoxville area for over thirty years and is an alumni of the University of Tennessee. He also holds a MA from Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York) and an MFA from the University of Hartford (Hartford, Connecticut). He is a member of the Coast Guard Art Program and has twice won their prestigious George Grey Award of Artistic Excellence. His paintings are featured at both the East Tennessee Historical Society and the McClung Museum in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area museum in Vonore, Tennessee.

Scene of Conflict will be on exhibit from November 9, 2012 to January 10, 2013 during Glencoe’s regular hours, Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm. For more information about the exhibit, the reception, or the lecture, please contact the Glencoe Museum at 540-731-5031. Signed, collector’s prints will be available for purchase. To see more of Smith’s work, please visit

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A New Commission - The Battle of Peleliu

Ken on the path to creating a new painting on the Battle of Peleliu.

Sometimes wars have their quiet moments, hushes in the sounds of gunfire and expletives. And so it is in the reenacting world.

Ken and I found ourselves in the throes of such a moment during a recent private reenactment. We had driven five hours to the site of a WWII-based reenactment involving Japanese and American troops – all this in a most unlike spot for such a battle – Gettysburg, PA. As we drove down a dirt road, we wondered if we would time warp and if so, would we not find ourselves in the August heat of the Civil War?

Instead we did find ourselves in the pseudo-1940s, seemingly quite alone in an abandoned registration area. Ken had hoped to time our arrival toward the end of the reenactment, but we were early. We listened, expecting to hear the various shots and dramatics of those participating, but all was quiet. Ken walked down the road a way, hoping not to stumble into the middle of anything, but only found the deserted Japanese camp.

Ken gets comfortable during his latest photo shoot.

The things that one must do for their art. Finding Japanese re-enactors has been a definite challenge for Ken. In his latest historical art pursuit, his subject is the WWII Pacific Theatre Battle of Peleliu. This is why we were here, hoping to find a picturesque and authentic portrayal of the ill-fated Japanese troops.

As we waited for signs of life and organized ourselves for the photo shoot, WWII marines began to filter out of the shadows and into the registration area. Several carried large plastic containers of water. The reenactment had culminated and many seemed most enthusiastic about retuning to the 21st century.

The organizer and property owner also emerged and introduced us to the models Ken would spend the next few hours photographing. We moved our vehicle, and created a space in their camp for the photo shoot. The guys who posed were wonderful to work with and extremely patient, even in the heat.

As I monitored Ken's light situation, I looked over at a truck that had pulled up along our beaten path. A man lounged against the driver-side door and commenced to watch Ken's efforts. As my eyes focused, I realized I was looking at a civil war solider. Oddly, he was the one out of place.

Posted by L.S. King

Friday, May 11, 2012

At First Light Artist Talk

On May 10, 2012, Ken Smith was the guest speaker at the John R Massey Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #152 meeting. It was a wonderful evening in downtown Fayetteville, Tennessee (hometown of the artist). The artist wishes to thank those who attended – both members and the general public.

Ken Smith (left) is presented with a copy of a local history book, presented by the SCV Camp #152.

His presentation was based on the creation of At First Light and all that went into the final painting. This included the research, model construction (using landscape models made from board and clay, evolving into using Google Sketch-up to understand the landscape of 1863 Knoxville), traveling to find the right type of uniforms and cannon, and the actual painting of the piece. He also discussed the history of the moment he choose to depict in this Civil War-themed painting and the current changes in the actual site.

This presentation is available to other organizations, schools, and groups Please contact us at for more information.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Morgan Hill Today (site of "At First Light")

While preparing for Ken's upcoming talk in Fayetteville, Tennessee about "At First Light," we made a quick stop in Knoxville. Specifically, we wanted to see the construction progress that is occurring at the site where the first shots of the Battle of Fort Sanders were fired. This is currently what the site looks like today, featuring the new University of Tennessee sorority complex. Needless to say, it is extremely different from the muddy hill it was as seen in "At First Light."

Though we tried to get to the exact spot, our little adventure was halted by security and we were not allowed beyond what you see in the first photograph. The second is a view from the parking lot at a nearby apartment complex.

iPhoneography by L.S. King

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ken Smith Art Talk In Fayetteville, TN

Press Release
Submitted by Dr. James R. Armitage, Camp Commander

The John R. Massey Camp # 152
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Fayetteville, Tennessee

SCV Camp no. 152 will meet at 7PM, on May 10 in the City Municipal Auditorium. The guest speaker will be Mr. Ken Smith, who lives and works in Southwest Virginia.

Mr. Smith is a native of Lincoln County, TN, and is an avid history buff, illustrator, artist, reenactor and living historian. Work that Mr. Smith has designed, art directed or illustrated has appeared in the Print Regional Design Annual, New York Art Director’s Club, Society of Illustrators and Society of Publication Designers annuals, Graphis, Communication Arts and Print magazine. He was formerly Design Director/Vice President at Whittle Communications, and co-founder and creative director of Media-South in Knoxville, TN. He is a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Society of Publication Designers, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the Coast Guard Art Program as well as the Garrison of Fort Loudoun (the premier French and Indian War living history program). Mr. Smith holds a BFA from the University of Tennessee, an MA from Syracuse University, and an MFA from the University of Hartford, and is currently Assistant Professor of Art at Radford University, where he teaches graphic design.

The program is free and open to anyone interested in Southern history. The regular business meeting will follow the program. For more information on the SCV go to

Friday, February 10, 2012

At First Light on Exhibit

This photograph was made at the University of Tennessee's McClung Museum's Civil War permanent exhibit during the summer of 2011 and features At First Light. The actual painting is almost twice the size of the reprint used in the display.

To read more about the museum's "Civil War in Knoxville" exhibit, click here to visit the McClung's web page.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Official PR Release for At First Light

It was a cold Sunday November morning in 1863 when the Gwinnett Artillery lead by Captain Tyler Peeples fired the first shot at Fort Sanders. Cannons sounded and the men from Georgia signaled the beginning of the disastrous attack on Union-held Fort Sanders. Now on that same spot, later called Morgan Hill, the University of Tennessee is busy building a new sorority complex. Much has changed since the bloody 1863 battle. Where there were just hills of mud, now interstate highways and modern structures sprout from the landscape. And yet, with the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, those first shots on Fort Sanders are remembered and are depicted in At First Light by historical artist Ken Smith.

“It’s still hard to picture the Battle of Knoxville taking place in that denuded 1863 landscape with all the hustle and bustle of modern Knoxville covering every salient feature of the original ground,” said the artist.

During the excavation of what is believed to be the only known archaeologically confirmed Confederate battle site in Knoxville, Smith was commissioned by the University of Tennessee’s McClung Museum to paint what transpired on Morgan Hill on that infamous morning. This particular event was part of the Siege of Knoxville and ended with over 800 casualties for the Confederate Army, leading to the Confederate retreat from East Tennessee. A reproduction of the painting is currently on display at the museum’s Civil War exhibit and plans also include using the image on a historical marker at the battle site, where 60 feet of the original trench will be preserved once the complex is completed.

Using research from UT’s archeological team, Smith began recreating the moment using period maps and contemporary descriptions to recreate the landscape and conditions that Tyler Peeples and the Gwinnett Artillery faced on that morning in 1863. The artist traveled to Petersburg National Battlefield (Petersburg, VA) to view and photograph one of only two functional Napoleon cannons in the Eastern US. And he recruited accurately garbed reenactors to pose as the Georgia artillerymen.

Smith currently resides in Pulaski, Virginia and is an assistant professor of graphic design at Radford University. Before this, he lived in the Knoxville area for over thirty years and is an alumni of the University of Tennessee. He also holds a MA from Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York), and an MFA from the University of Hartford (Hartford, Connecticut).

At First Light can be seen at the McClung Museum (Knoxville, Tennessee) or on the artist’s website at Limited edition prints are available for purchase. For more information, please contact Ken Smith at

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ken Smith Historical Art Becomes Social

The Cyberworld – like dabs of paint upon an unfinished canvas – slightly abstract at first and then blending together to create a recognizable image – Ken Smith’s business as an historical artist makes for the beginning marks of a social media project. Rather than a creation made from the physical reality of brushes, the tools of this endeavor are a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Linked-In, a blog and website. Though the artist has been involved in several of these social media venues in the past, this is Ken Smith Historical Art’s first coordinated effort to actively engage in ongoing online content. With this, our goal is to keep those who are interested in Ken’s paintings up-to-date with his current and new projects and also to introduce new viewers to his efforts.

Due to Ken’s southern heritage, we have chosen to launch our social media ventures around his first Civil War painting effort. We are hosting a social media scavenger hunt to acquaint you with our new sites and also to unveil one of Ken’s latest painting (and limited edition prints) called “At First Light.” Originally commissioned by the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), this image depicts the opening cannon fire during the Battle of Fort Sanders on November 28, 1863 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Though the scavenger hunt will provide you with a special prize themed around this painting, for those who prefer to see the painting now, please visit

Wondering about the nature of the prize? Here’s a clue – wallpaper. To begin the hunt, please visit our Facebook page at for the first clue. Other clues maybe found on the following sites:

For more information or questions, please contact or leave a comment on the blog.

Completing the At First Light Social Media Scavenger Hunt

If you have visited our four social media sites (,,, and, you have found a series of clues that will provide you with the password needed to reveal your reward for indulging our fun and games.

For each clue, you should have a one word answer. Put those words together in order (no spaces, all lowercase) and you have the password. If this is problematic or you are stumped, leave us a message or comment on any of these sites and we’ll help you out.