Hawk Merlin Studios is proud and excited to invite you to the closing weekend of our current exhibition March 24/25. Come see the amazing work of a wonderful and talented Northwest artist.


JEN SMITH - "Life Captured"

A celebration in charcoal and watercolor of nature in its ever evolving state. The softness and perfect state of birth, the flexible expansiveness of living, and the quiet beauty and stillness of death.


We are looking forward to seeing you!

For more information about Jen and her work visit Jen Smith Art on Facebook

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Artist Statement


Bones, wood, feathers, rocks, and skulls

Wildlife and nature

Birds of prey, and towering ancient forests

Tiny pine cones, walnut sprouts, and little eggs tucked neatly in a nest

These are my subjects. These are as beautiful as life gets to me.

The softness and perfect state of birth and early life, the flexible expansiveness of living, and the quiet stillness of and beauty of death.

Through my exploration in my show “Life Captured” I have been able to celebrate life in its ever evolving state through the medium of charcoal and watercolor.

I look at my subject often as a dynamic landscape with peaks and valleys, canyons and crevices. One of my favorite things to do is to zoom in on a little tight passage of a subject and blow it up big. I then go in and really look at the surfaces, textures, shadows and where the light hits. I loosely lay in the structural line and then come back in to really hit hard with developing the softness and starkness of the contrasting surface. I smudge the charcoal softly, lay it and take it away and add it again. Often, I get a lot of charcoal down and then scratch it off to get the effect I am shooting for. Sometimes watercolor washes will come in to add some dimension. I am conservative with color because I tend to enjoy the mechanics and act of drawing. I am crazy for line work.

This is the way the world captures my attention every day. There are incredibly beautiful expressions of nature everywhere. This holds my attention and love, and all time stand still for me in this creative process. This is my passion!

Jen Smith


Jen Smith was born in Marshalltown, Iowa in 1967. When she was 3 her family moved west to the wide expanses of Wyoming.

Growing up with a family that spent a great deal of time outdoors sparked her interest in illustrating and documenting the natural world around her. Having drawn since before she could walk, she spent most of her time creating art. If she wasn't sketching she spent countless hours collecting bones, rocks, wood, and anything that captured her curiosity. 

Jen graduated from High School with a full ride scholarship in art to Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. There she received her Associate of Arts degree in drawing. She was trained classically in fine art and graduated with several honors, including the Northwest College Board of Trustees Purchase Award. During her college career she was also juried into several 8-State student competitions. Jen also worked for the National Park Service in collaboration with Northwest College and had the privilege of working on a project that had her creating interpretive signage for the Big Horn National Recreation Center in Lovell Wyoming. During the course of 2 years she researched, tracked and created drawings and paintings of wild horses, raptors, and big horn sheep that were later made into what are now considered to be some of the most innovative and artistic interpretive signs in the country. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing and painting from Montana State University in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. 

Her love of the natural world only grew as she got older and lived in different parts of the country. She taught drawing and painting continuing education courses through Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia. She donated drawings of birds of prey for the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Fairmont. Her return back to Bozeman, Montana had her busy with co-founding Bozeman Pass Printmakers which offered classes and an open studio to print makers in the region. 

Jen made the move to Portland, Oregon to experience and establish herself as a working professional artist. She was first represented by Exit 21 Gallery in SE Portland. Jen was also the resident artist at Paxton Gate in Portland and had the experience of an incredible year and a half of creating drawings on wood panels of the natural world and all of its curiosities and a very successful solo show. Many of Jen's current collectors found her work here and still follow her today. She was also represented by the fine art gallery Nebraska in northeast Portland. 

Jen's current ambitions have led her to constantly be exploring her new home in the little river town of Stevenson, Washington in the Colombia River Gorge.  Her interests lie in the natural beauty and diversity of the area.  With such a contrast in environments from living in the high deserts of Wyoming and Montana she finds so much to react to through her drawings.  When she misses where she grew up she simply drives a few short miles east and the environment changes!  She has a beautiful little studio that has a view of the river where often she will pull her easel out and work on her little deck.    

Her current works of art are done primarily on wood panels covered in a compound.When sanded down the surface is smooth like a chalk board and it takes paint and charcoal very naturally. The images are graphic but very soft and natural. Her medium of choice is charcoal, conte' stick, compressed charcoal, and occasionally watercolor and acrylic.