At night in the flat Delta farmland of Northeast Arkansas the stars are incredibly bright. With no city lights and no lights on the horizon, except for perhaps the flashing lights atop a radio tower far off in the distance, it is dark. Very, very dark. In the summer the mosquitoes will eat you alive, but from autumn to early spring the cool nights are a wonderful time to go out with binoculars and look up at the stars.
As a kid I remember taking a notebook with me that I was trying to use as a journal. I wanted to fill it up with something, but I didn’t know what to write about. I think at the time I wanted to be poetic, or to at least record some type of memory, but as a child no words came out. I didn’t realize until later in life that I should have created a visual journal instead. I needed an art journal instead of a writing journal.
“Arkansas Telescope” is inspired from those childhood memories of the colorful celestial sky that I observed from my grandfather’s farm in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. The particular scene that it depicts is an imagined one. My grandfather didn’t have a grain silo, but there were others nearby. The frame for this painting was created by me using barn wood from my grandfather’s barn which I collected and saved after it had collapsed.
— Terry Smith, 21 June 2017