Blaise Smith R.H.A. (b.1967) is one of Ireland’s leading Figurative painters. He is adept at Landscapes, Portraits and still-lives.

IN May 2019 his work was exhibited in Shaping Ireland in the National Gallery of Ireland - a survey show of Irish Landscape since the 1700s. In June 2019 twenty of his portrait drawings of Children were exhibited in Dublin Castle as part of the Ark’s Put yourself in the picture Exhibition.

In August 2019 He will have a duo show of Landscapes with Eamon Colman in the Kilkenny Arts Festival. 

Also in August 2019 his suite of paintings WEAPONS will be exhibited as part of the Tipperary Heritage Festival.   

Last year his portrait “My Parents” was runner up in the National Gallery’s Zurich Portrait Prize and the previous year he won the Irish Arts Review Portrait Prize with his much celebrated group portrait “8 Scientists”, a portrait of leading Irish female Scientists for the Royal Irish Academy and Accenture’s “Women on Walls” Campaign. His most recent public portraits are of Dean William Morton for St. Patricks Cathedral, Dean Mary McCarron for TCD and the playwright Bernard Farrell for the Abbey. He has also completed several large scale State commissions during his career ; most recently a 5 metre panorama of Waterford City in 2016 and - SCHOOLWORK - twenty paintings portraying life in a Carlow School in 2011. He has had numerous solo shows and his work is held in many Public and Private Collections. 

He teaches advanced oil painting techniques and drawing and composition at the RHA Drawing School where he is vice-principal. 

He has given talks to accompany his exhibitions in the Crawford, The RHA, Visual in Carlow and (naturally) the Electric Picnic. 

He lives in County Kilkenny.


Selected Exhibitions and Awards


2012 Schoolwork, Visual, Carlow

2012 New Landscapes with Walter Verling HRHA, Molesworth Gallery Dublin

2010 Moving Pictures, Molesworth Gallery, November

2009 WEAPONS, The Molesworth Gallery, February

2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997 RHA Annual Exhibition

2008 WEAPONS, The Hunt Museum Limerick

2008 WEAPONS, Iontas, Castleblaney

2008 Blaise Smith, the Molesworth Gallery

2007 The F word, Contemporary figurative painting, The Molesworth Gallery

2007 RHA Banquet Show

2006 Blaise Smith, the Molesworth Gallery

2006 National Portrait Gallery, London, Bi-Centenary Exhibition

2005 Blaise Smith, the Molesworth Gallery

2005 RHA Banquet Show

2004 Blaise Smith, the Molesworth Gallery

2004 C2: 1995 - 2005. The Crawford Gallery, Cork

2004, 2003 BP National Portrait Award Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London

2001 Blaise Smith, The Molesworth Gallery

2000 Blaise Smith: The Millennium Landscape, Kilkenny County Hall

2000 Blaise Smith, The Molesworth Gallery

2000 The Crawford Open

2000 Roadworks, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen

1999 Roadworks, The Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh

1998 Blaise Smith, The Dolmen Gallery, Limerick

Awards and Commissions

2012 RUA Irish News Prize

2011 -2012 Schoolwork Commission, Presentation College Carlow

Roadworks: Cork County Council Centenary Commission 1999. 26 paintings

The Kilkenny Landscape. Kilkenny County Council Millennium Commission. 10 paintings.

Portrait of Seamus Pattison TD, LCC, for Dail Eireann

The RHA James Adam Salesroom Award 2003.

The James kenneth Kennedy Award for Portraiture 2002

The RHA Abbey Studio Award 2001

The Caracciolo RHA Medal 1999

The Arnott's Portrait Award 1999

The Fergus O'Ryan Memorial Award 1998

The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award


SCHOOLWORK, Blaise Smith

WEAPONS, Blaise Smith, Steve Grossman, Jane Tynan, 2008

Blaise Smith - the Molesworth Gallery 2004

New European Artists, Edited By Edward Lucie Smith

BP Portrait award Catalogue 2003, Foreword by A.S. Byatt

BP Portrait award Catalogue 2004, Foreword by Blake Morrison

Artist Statement

I have spent the last decade and a half painting various everyday subjects from life, as well as portraits. I believe it is important to make a first-hand observation of the things that may go unrecorded by cameras, both still and video, mainly because they are slow and uninteresting at a glance. This is the reason that they suit the process of painting rather well. I also believe that a painting lasts a very long time and, leaving “art” aside, also functions to show what the world looked like to the painter. When we look at a painting by say, Vermeer, apart from questions of ‘art”, it tells us a great deal about the lifestyle of 16th century Delft. I believe figurative paintings that I make now will have the same function in another 400 years. That is why I paint in oil on gesso, because this is the process that has already been proven to be colourfast and physically durable.


Working in this way, I have worked with both Cork County Council to produce a series of 26 paintings of their roads, machinery and roadworkers.; with Kilkenny County Council to produce a series of 10 Kilkenny Landscapes; with the Defence Forces to look at their weapons and soldiers and most recently the life and times of an Irish Secondary School. I have also spent a number of years painting contemporary Kilkenny farms. 


These projects are all linked by the conviction that they represent a way of life that will change long before the painting fades.

Bio And Statement ©Blaise Smith 2010

All text and images © Blaise Smith 2020