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Sinead's story

My artistic journey

My name is Sinéad Smyth. I am an artist, educator and counsellor. I am mum to three children.

Sparking creativity and encouraging everyone to get creative is my passion. I really looking forward to welcoming you to our Inishowen Artists' Retreat & Studio when we can, once again, move around freely!

I thought it was time that I told you more about myself, my approach to painting and a little about how I got where I am today.

Early years

When I was 16 I was offered a place at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. I was ecstatic. My parents had other ideas though! I was told I needed to study a science degree ,so I found a Geography course in Coleraine.

My first job after college was found by complete accident. After moving to Belfast in 1990, I walked into the Crescent Arts Centre and found some amazing people. Funny how things can work out!


Even after spending years in teaching and environmental education (which I loved) there was a creative need in me to return to making and painting.

It was during a very difficult and low point in my life when I began to paint more seriously. The focus on painting allowed my mind time to breathe, reprocess and reform ways of thinking about myself and my life. I understand completely why creativity and wellbeing are connected as a vital and natural part of our lives.  I went on to study for an MSc in Counselling and Therapeutic Communication which I found very interesting and insightful.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning… by myself and in the company of other artists.  I’ve been hugely encouraged by the generosity of artists who’ve taken the extra time to advise and critique my work along the way.

As an artist there is always an element of self-doubt and fear of the blank canvas, but with the support and recognition from other artists this becomes a lot less difficult.

More recently

I am a self-taught artist. Last year, one of my paintings was accepted for the Royal Ulster Academy of Art annual exhibition. I’ve been an invited artist to several national exhibitions, including the Boyle Arts Festival and I’m represented by Hambly & Hambly Gallery in Co. Fermanagh.

I’m currently showing my work in group exhibitions with international artists in Cyprus and Mumbai with plans for Paris and The Academy of Fine Art in Athens later in the year.

I worked with the Turner Prize on their education team when it was held in Derry - our nearest city.