Born in 1949, Norman Smith was brought up in Berkshire. As a student, he studied Art and Design in Bristol, which led to a teaching qualification, he and his wife travelled to India and the Far East, eventually arriving in Australia, where he taught for three years. He returned to teach in England, before deciding to paint full-time in 1987.
Norman lives and works in Oxfordshire with a studio on the edge of the Berkshire Downs. His work is predominantly pastel, a medium which is suited to the use of bold and gentle colour to depict the changing moods of the landscape. His technique is to apply solid patches of pure colour in thick layers that create a heavy textured effect, treating this medium much like oil paint.
He is greatly attracted to coastal and marine subjects as these offer different challenges, a tremendous variety of colour and constant movement. More recently, he has reassessed his approach by concentrating on new and restricted palettes, together with an attempt to develop a stronger more vibrant image. This has led to the greater use of oils as a medium to further this approach.
He is a regular exhibitor at the Pastel Society at the Mall Galleries in London, winning the Longley Prize in 1999. In 2000, he was the winner of the Inscribe Prize and in 2001 won the Thompsons Gallery Award.