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  • Noel Smith

The Rebirth Of An Artist

Welcome to my first blog!

As you may or may not already know, I am a self-taught wildlife artist and photographer from South Africa. I have been drawing and painting since I was a child but somehow, I ended up working as an engineer instead. I continued to paint in my spare time and, when time allowed it, I would work on commissions and exhibitions for conservation initiatives, conservation being something very close to my heart. My ultimate goal was to retire to full time painting and potentially end up in the bush, but as I learnt: sometimes life has other plans for you.

In November of 2016, I was out for a Sunday morning surf, another love of mine and my way of keeping fit. I was no Kelly Slater but, as the photo below shows, to some extent I knew what I was doing (this line has been written by my daughter as my modesty would not allow it.) At the end of a long fast wave, I wiped out on a shallow sandbank (see no Kelly Slater) and as a result I broke my neck. I was surfing with a friend at the time and luckily, he saw me floating face down in the water and acted quick enough to save me from drowning.

So began the long road to recovery as an incomplete quadriplegic, incomplete as I regained some use of my limbs - mainly to my left side. It has been a slow and difficult process of rehabilitation and is still ongoing. I had to start from the beginning with my art and adapt to my new circumstances. My aim, with these blogs, is to track my progress one piece of artwork at a time and to inspire myself to continue with my recovery as well as those going through something similar.

Until the next time

Noel Smith



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