Artist's Biographies

Welcom to our artist's biography page. This is your opportunity to get to know our artists at Smith Gallery. There are four artists along with their portraits. Just click on the artist's name below and it will show that artist's biography on this web page.

Vicki Asp

Steve Memering

Portrait of an Artist:  Vicki Asp

One of the marks of good art is an absence of apparent effort.   Whether watchingdance or viewing a painting, when we can lose ourselves in the magic of the creation without a distracting awareness of the mind-bending or backbreaking work involved in the making of it, we’re in the presence of a master.  Artist Vicki Asp’s sense of awe for the beauty of the world, a well-developed work ethic and twenty years of daily honoring her craft have brought that level of mastery to her vivid and luminous landscapes.  Vicki was always an artist, but only began to focus on her art in her early twenties.
            “My husband was in the military and he was gone a lot.  I was at home with the kids.  Painting was a great ‘out’ for me.  Art was my vacation.”  Wherever her husband’s career sent her, Vicki not only continued to paint, but seriously pursued an education in art.  She studied portraiture at Olympic Community College in Washington, oil painting and animal painting at the Tulsa Triangle Art Center in Oklahoma, watercolor, portraiture and drawing at Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College in Virginia and landscape, color theory and acrylic painting at American River Community College in Sacramento.  As a personal challenge, Vicki entered her work in art shows from Virginia to California, generating more than 75 awards in local, regional, and international competition. 
            At American River College, instructor Gary Pruner offered to help Vicki in refining her work.  “He’s a fabulous artist and a great teacher.  He gave me great encouragement, but never tried to change me.  He took me from where I was and pushed me further.”  It was her time at American River College that Vicki started working on her landscapes.
            “I was doing some surrealistic art then, and landscapes are king of surreal.  I got started, but I felt like I just couldn’t do it.  When I see things they just awe me.  Anything I looked at was just too grand for me to paint.  The world is so beautiful, and how could I ever convey all of that?  My paintings were always too dark.  But I kept going out into the open and painting.  It took me a couple of years, and then they started to get lighter.  I was starting to be able to show the color and light that I saw.”
            Light and color suffuse Vicki’s work.  Some artists can capture a picture of a place, creating a photorealistic image.  Vicki’s work has the magical quality of recalling not only the look but the feeling of a place, giving the sense that if you stepped closer to the canvas, you could smell the earth, and feel the warmth of the sunlight.  The effect maybe magical, but the actual process of creation is plain hard labor.
            Vicki specializes in plein air painting, creating small studies on location, and then recreating and enlarging them at home in her studio.  “There’s something that photographs can’t catch.  The light and feeling are different.  I have to paint on site to capture what is in front of me.   When I see something that awes me, I go out with the mission to paint it.  The actual work is non-thinking, taking in what’s coming in through my eyes and putting it on the canvas.  Sometimes I don’t get it right.  If I don’t get it right the first time, I have to go back and get it again.  Even when it doesn’t work, I have the experience of the attempt.  I think that if I can’t translate what I see, I have to learn more about it.  So I observe more.”
            “I have one piece that I worked on for three days of Sailor Bar on the American River.  I couldn’t get a riffle of water right.  I’m accustomed to doing still water, but on the first day the light kept shifting because clouds were passing over.  When the light changed, the whole aspect was different, and that just made me crazy.  I must have painted that a dozen times.  My friends kept saying ‘Oh, no!  She’s doing it again!’  But I told myself I wouldn’t let it beat me.  I kept going back until I got it right.”  Vick’s acute sense of place and observation, and her perseverance in conveying this in her art make her one of Northern California’s most impressive landscape painters.  Her work captures the essence of the rivers, hills and agricultural areas of the state, as well as the spots other painter’s overlook, where she sees beauty even in everyday things.  “There’s something about the feel of a place.  When you’re out there, you’re painting the spot, but you’re looking up, down, right, left and the feeling comes through on the canvas.  This world is such a beautiful place.  I’m in awe every day.”


The Artist: Steve Memering

Having grown up in Sacramento, Steve Memering is proud to be a River City native.  He received his education at CSUS, Berkeley and Carnegie-Mellon.  He, then, returned to Sacramento to live and work.  Steve has had a long career as a teacher and artist.  Today, he divides his time between painting several hours in the morning and working full-time as a middle school art teacher. During the summer, he also teaches adult painting workshops both here and abroad. For years, Steve had developed a reputation as an accomplished watercolor artist.  Gradually, he discovered, for him, each painting was becoming a kind of journey.  Opaque mediums, such as oil and acrylic gave him the freedom he needed to re-
evaluate and explore his ideas along the way.  Never really abandoning the demanding constraints of watercolor entirely, he now works predominantly in oil on canvas.
Sacramento subjects are a major theme in Steve’s current paintings and all of his latest work has acquired its own unique look.  The dramatic play of light and dark has become a persistent theme in his work along with bold, emotion-based color schemes.  Uncomfortable with photographic realism, Steve prefers to “interpret”, rather than “report”, a subject.  “I paint what I remember; not what I see” Steve explains.  “I try to edit out everything not essential and get to what is really there.”  He finds conventional photographic realism mundane and misleading.  “What a camera records is not what I see.”   
Steve’s work can be found in galleries, businesses and homes all over the state.  Sports fans might have seen several of his paintings hanging in the hallways of Raley field and in Skyline Restaurant at Arco Arena.  Downtown Sacramento is becoming increasingly peppered with his paintings and limited editions.  A prominent downtown restaurant, for example, has a wall of his large Sacramento scenes.  Recently, Steve entered the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition and won the People’s Choice award.
Steve Memering considers Smith Gallery - on 11th and K Street – his “home base” where his originals and limited editions can be seen, enjoyed and purchased.  For more information, or just to see further examples of Steve’s work, visit the gallery or get a quick overview at or