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Seth Smith Summer Paintings of Swimming Pools

seth smith summer paintings hero IIHIH

June has arrived and there’s no better time to introduce you to Seth Smith Summer paintings. Inviting depictions of swimming pools at Midcentury Modern hotels, motels and private homes by the talented 43 year old artist will make you want to don a swimming cap and jump on in.

Seth Smith Summer Paintings of Swimming Pools

midcentury modern pool paintings
Glide, 30″ x 48″, oil on panel

Seth Smith was born and raised in Kansas where he still lives. Having graduated from the University of Kansas City with a degree in painting and printmaking, his artworks of summer pool scenes caught my eye many years ago and I’m long overdue in introducing you to his aesthetically appealing work.

retro pool paintings
Brilliant, 39″ x 48″ , oil on panel

Now living and working in the Kansas City area, Seth has a repertoire of both abstract and representational work, but as is my known preference, his swimming pool paintings are what drew me to him.

summer paintings
Rube, 48″ x38″, oil on panel
seth smith pool paintings
top: Jest, 18″ x 48″, oil on panel. bottom: August, 18″ x 48″, oil on panel

His choices of subjects, the venues and his unusual color palette, all harken back to the 50s, 60s and 70s. Along with the swimming pools, his signage, motels, boxy little houses, drive-in cinemas, diners, airstreams and other Midcentury Modern icons are all depicted in a loose, painterly fashion that is both simultaneously calming and compelling.

motel pools
Float II, 38″ x 48″, oil on panel

The artist’s palette of sherbet-like pinks and oranges, pale blues and golden ochres feel like faded polaroids from the 60s and 70s, infusing his work with the nostalgia of childhood family vacations.

seth smith paintings
Left: Dog Days, 30″ x 48″ and right: Squint, 30″ x 48″, oil on panel
paintings of motels
left: Signs, 30 x 48, oil on panel. right: Classic, 30 x 48, oil on panel

His paintings of swimmers recall another artist’s famous “pool paintings”, those of David Hockney. Pinkie and Stripes, both shown below, are reminiscent of Hockney’s 1972 Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)

paintings of swimmers
left: Pinkie, 12″ x 24″. oil on panel and right: Stripes, 12″ x 24″, oil on panel

Imprecise and painterly, the works have a feeling of movement with the details implied by vigorous strokes.

motel pool paintings
Grace, 33″ x48″, oil on panel

Several of his paintings separate the viewer from the pool scene by placing them inside a diner, watching like an uninvited voyeur, such as is the case in Dined, Moonrise Kingdom and Graceland, all shown below.

retro diner paintings
Dined, 48″ x 38″, oil on panel
retro pool paintings
Moonrise Kingdom, 48″ x 38″, oil on panel
oil paintings
Graceland, 48″ x 38″, oil on panel

Seth has collectors, private and corporate, all over the world and pieces in the permanent collections of H&R Block World Headquarters and the University of Kansas Business School. I, too, hope to be amongst those who own one of his paintings someday.

Artist Seth Smith
Artist Seth Smith

Seth Smith Studio

Follow Seth on instagram here
all images courtesy of the artist

See more great pool paintings here