Angela Gaffney Smith

Studio #30


I think of my cairns as pushpins on a map connected to a place, person or experience.  Inspiration comes from the Native American stone piles and serpentine walls found near my studio in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains of New York.  Cairns, found worldwide are traditionally built to mark trails, water sources or sacred sites.

I’m the daughter of an Irish stonemason with a lifelong familiarity with concrete, brick and stone.  For years I envisioned a monumental cairn on a hill with the mountains behind it near my studio.  This first cairn (2010) rose from a seven-foot base and is over six feet tall.  Hundreds of pieces of stone were hand-picked from the remains of an old quarry on our property.  The creation of smaller interior stone sculptures began in the winter of 2019 when I felt compelled to continue in winter and beyond.

Each sculpture is filled with stone and rubble.  Some contain mementos of people I have loved and are a vessel for thoughts and prayers. Each sculpture is created in a meditative state, begins with an infinite circle, and winds its way up towards a place of air and light.

I have been painting in watercolor for over thirty-five years.  The simple materials and the flowing, gemlike quality of transparent watercolor on paper create a colorful altered state. I do not push the paint around the paper but let the water and pigment join to create spontaneous sparks and formation of color.  Transparent watercolor is not controlled but coaxed into shades and shapes.  I paint in the studio and on location aiming to recreate a feeling of light and atmosphere while highlighting the drawing beneath.


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100 Brink Road
Saugerties, NY 12477


IG @angelagaffneysmith