Archive » Arts and Entertainment

Sharon Wadsworth-Smith – calling from Nova Scotia

March 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Well known Hockley resident and artist, Sharon Wadsworth-Smith spoke to the Citizen about her and her husband’s recent move to Nova Scotia. A winner of the Reed Cooper Visual Arts Bursary (2014) and Orangeville Arts and Culture Award Artist of the Year in 2018 [plus many others], Ms. Wadsworth-Smith has deep roots in the arts community here. Once her husband Dean Smith retired though, they decided to move to the East Coast.

Some time before that they went to Cape Breton Island on a tour. “We weren’t prepared for the different terrains and the beauty with the ocean nearby everywhere,” she told the Citizen. It was the revelation that led them to actually move to Nova Scotia in 2019.

“A lot of my work is different here,” she commented. “The rocks here are a different colour – blue. Even the rocks on the road aren’t the same gravel as Ontario, they’re blue.”

The impulse to move was so strong that the couple sold their Hockey home, packed their things and moved to Nova Scotia without even having found their new house. There were several choices and they visited many of them over five days. The house they did choose was one they had seen online while still in Ontario.

Among the first people they met were their neighbours, singer and musicians Sharon Nauss-Hughes and her husband Mike. During Storm Dorian, winds brought a tree down over their road, leaving them without power for four days. It was her neighbour, Sharon who called the county to “come and get rid of this tree!”

“Sharon is strong and sweet. They’ve been amazing neighbours,” said Ms. Wadsworth-Smith. “They are from Nova Scotia but a lot of our neighbours are from Ontario. Other friends from Erin [Ontario] own a studio nearby. Monika and Dave also have a fabulous art school.” 

Recalling how much she used to love cycling on the Island Lake Trail, she commented she has to go some distance for a place to ride. Their new home is on Crooked Lake, about a 15 minute drive to Rissers Beach.

There are differences in her technique in recent years. Ms. Wadsworth-Smith enjoys using her pallet knives for her wonderful paintings, primarily seaside pictures, dramatic skies and rolling waves. Fine rocks on the shore.

She explained that one of her pallet knives is a large square; she has several different sizes. She had started to introduce them into her painting before they left Orangeville.

“I have fun with my pallet knife making waves.” she said, telling the method, “If you use several different colours on them, it seems to work with different waves.”

Outside the isolation of work, the marketplace calls to the business of art.

“There’s an artists’ website, Faso but heavy fees. I just show my paintings on the website and people can contact me personally. I’m a fast painter but not instant.”

The Reed Cooper Bursary gave Ms. Wadsworth-Smith the chance to go back to art school for a three-month intensive course at the Haliburton School of the Arts. This course was about gearing up her production with much more efficient time utilization. She learned about Studio Process Advancement (SPA): how to maximize her time.

“There is only so much you can blame on the muse,” was the lesson, “You have to just go into the studio and work.”

After Haliburton, she set about doing a collection of paintings of Island Lake and discovered there was more to her painting than before.

“I opened my mind to other styles of painting. I was much more literal and then I just starting to loosen up. I am much more loose now and I’m having so much fun doing what I love.”

When she moved, Ms. Wadsworth-Smith didn’t think she would be so involved in the local arts scene as she is. This happened last year on the wharf of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. She is now the coordinator of the Lunenberg Arts Festival, planning for it to be bigger this year with fresh air art and a market place of vendors and artists.

“And for this first time,” she said, bringing her past with her, “a Studio Tour!” with the

Lunenberg Art Gallery Society. “A great organization.”

The tourist season in the Maritimes starts in March and ends rather abruptly in October. In Nova Scotia we were told, there is a definite trend to close the tourist restaurants in October.

In Lunenberg on Lincoln Street every other building is an art gallery.

“The area is literally booming with art galleries,” she said. “This is where I want to be – how lucky we were to get here [when we did.] There are no houses for sale now.

Friends have come out to visit and we have guest rooms.”

With the supply and demand in some shops and the accelerated costs of some goods, she commented, “A lot of people are making homemade wine.”

Fish is high the provincial menu and lobster is available all year round, “pretty much always in season for lobster,” was her information. “The season goes around the island. There’s a lot of fish – rainbow trout, haddock and halibut,” and she is learning to enjoy them all. 

Invited by the new Muir Hotel in Halifax, Ms. Wadsworth-Smith was pleased to be contacted to do quite a few paintings for them last year. It was a time driven project that pushed her skills and really loosening her up.

In other news, “We bought kayaks – a whole new skill for me. We got the last two kayaks in Halifax.” Another source of exercise, interest and inspiration. The shore looks great on land – how is it from the water?

What matters very much to Ms. Wadsworth-Smith in this moment of history, is her involvement with a group of artists drawn together by Sue Rosson, who has started an initiative to raise funds for Ukraine. Calling them Artists for Ukraine, Ms. Rosson is responsible for the Facebook page with the support of Lunenberg Art Gallery. The artists donate paintings for sale. One of Ms. Wadsworth-Smith’s paintings sold and all the money goes to the Red Cross. There has been coverage of the group by local media, including the paper and Global TV interviewing Sue Rosson, which she arranged.

Sharon Wadsworth-Smith said, “This is our battle cry for the artists for Ukraine. The need is now. There are a lot of agencies that are good and this is where humanity pulls together.”

To learn more about Sharon Wadsworth-Smith, her website is

For the video with Sharon Nauss-Hughes here is the link:

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.