Smith Walker is an artist, a missionary, and a businessman. “I have been painting for about 10 years. My kids moved out, and I had serious empty nest syndrome. I started painting, but wasn’t pleased with the results. Then I got to spend a couple of hours with Scotty Parsons (late local artist). She was kind enough to work with me for a couple of hours. She explained painting your feelings. So, I went home and started painting and I enjoyed them. Things started to happen. Now there is no subject matter. It is painting my feelings,” he explained.
A few years ago, Smith had his very first art show at The Maplewood. “That was 3 Februarys ago. Then I had another one at The Maplewood the next February, and last year I had a show at the Kemp Center for the Arts. It was fun,” Smith said.
He has taken an art break because he has been building a ranch house. “Building it was kind of my creative outlet. The ranch is on one of the coolest pieces of land in this area. It is on a hill overlooking trees and a pond on the Wichita River in Clay County. The whole west side and north side are glass, and I get to paint in that corner. I recently started the first painting I have done in a year there. You get to see wildlife, deer and turkeys. I don’t know how to put it into words. It is too good to be true, and I just don’t want to come back to town. I spend about half my time out there and will spend more when the weather gets better,” Smith explained.
This past January, Smith went to India on a mission trip. He is associated with Orbie for Orphans, and will go back in October to meet with 1,500 local church leaders who work with orphanages. Orbie for Orphans was founded to bring the light of Christ into the dark world of orphans and foster children in that area. It is run by Carl and Jill Toth, according to their website orbiefororphans.org.
“Carl Toth was a youth minister at First Baptist Church here in Wichita Falls for 5 years. He and his wife adopted a girl from China, and they realized the orphans were fed and clothed, but received no spiritual feeding. Orbie for Orphans is like a Sunday school curriculum for orphans involving animation and arts and crafts. It is all over the world, and my ministry is to help the men that are in the ministries,” Smith said.
Smith is also a businessman owning and renovating several properties downtown. “Actually, I have been renovating 911 and 913 Indiana. I finished them and have several new tenants. Dodie’s Closet, Golden Bee Consignment, and the Pecan Creek Artists have moved in. Trying to keep downtown alive, that has been my passion. I just got a building ready for the Antique Mall at 1503 and 1505 Lamar, and the 2011 Bistro building on Indiana as just renovated for Gypsy Uncorked,” Smith said. He also has a building at 809 Indiana that will be renovated for an incoming tenant.
Smith also has 3 children and 2 grandkids. “I stay busy—downtown renovations and kids and grandkids and ministry and going out to my ranch and painting—I am very busy,” he said with a smile.