To Top

Meet Shelley Kolman Smith of Flying Paint Ranch Sculpture Studio in Terrell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelley Kolman Smith.

Shelley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started drawing and painting my own children and before long, my friends and neighbors asked if I would do their children’s portraits. I worked in graphite, watercolor and oil until I took a sculpting workshop from Creative Art Center and realized that sculpting was truly my calling. My first bronze won a competition for Liturgical art and ended up on the cover of Ministry and Liturgy Magazine. From there, I began exhibiting my sculptures at Catholic Conferences where I would meet building committees and Art and Environment groups. In less than 13 years I now have sculptures all over the country, from San Francisco to Washington, DC, and Rochester, NY to Lake Charles, LA. This year we installed a sculpture in Apex, NC of Jonah and the Fish, a grouping of three Wisemen and Mary with a child Jesus in Oklahoma City, and a St. Ignatius in Rochester, NY. I can truly say that my journey was one that could not be planned or anticipated.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been some interesting adventures associated with doing large life size sculptures, most of which involve the problem solving on how to get a large clay piece to the foundry without it falling apart. In this business, it’s also feast or famine. I’ve learned to be patient during the slow times and use that time to hone a skill or clean the house. I’d have to say the biggest challenge is in not knowing when the next job will come in. Two years ago, I was in a lull and received THREE commissions on the SAME day. When I started out, I was working in a small bonus room over the garage where I built a large sculpture to show at my first conference. We had to hire some muscle to get it down the stairs. It didn’t sell so, needless to say, it never made it back up the stairs and ultimately melted in the garage. After that we had a large studio built in the backyard.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Flying Paint Ranch Sculpture Studio – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m known for my delicate faces which show a glimpse of personality. The comment I get from most of my portraits is that they appear to be about to breathe. Now that’s a compliment! I love that people instantly recognize the subject. I try to create a sense of motion and joy within my work. My Liturgical pieces tell a story and I work to portray a sense of peace and tranquility within them.

I dearly love collaborating with clients, from the beginning concepts, to sketches, to maquettes, to the life size piece. My clients are always welcome to come out for a visit while I work. Their feedback is extremely important to me. A fresh set of eyes may notice something that’s not quite right, while I, after working so closely sometimes don’t see it. I also encourage my clients to follow me to the foundry and watch the process there. It’s really exciting to see the bronze being poured, or welded or patina’d. Many of my clients have the maquettes cast, too. For churches, this is a great fundraiser as I offer that for merely the foundry costs. It’s my way of letting the client know how much I appreciate them.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My next large commission is for a church in the Houston area, of course, due to the hurricane, that is delayed a bit, so in the meantime I’m planning to start to work on a large sculpture of St. Michael the Archangel. This is a piece I’ve thought about for quite some time. I’m quite excited about the intricate detail I have in mind for it. I also am planning to work on some terra cotta portraits.

I take each day one at a time. Whatever God needs me to do, I’ll do.

I hope to never retire. I would love to be sculpting on my last day.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 18730 FM 1565,
    Terrell, TX 75160
  • Website:
  • Phone: 214-734-9133
  • Email:
  • Instagram: flying_paint_ranch

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • VoyageDallas FAQs

    We’ve prepared this FAQ about VoyageDallas (run by Voyage Group of Magazines, LLC) (“Voyage”) in an effort to ensure that anyone...

    Local StoriesSeptember 23, 2018
  • The Influencers

    VoyageDallas owes a huge debt to the incredible local community of influencers – from fashion bloggers to foodies – who put...

    Local StoriesSeptember 19, 2018
  • The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative

    The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us...

    Local StoriesSeptember 19, 2018
  • The Most Inspiring Stories in Dallas

    Every neighborhood in Dallas has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what differentiates...

    Local StoriesSeptember 19, 2018
  • The Thought-Provokers: Celebrating Artists & Creatives

    Dallas has always had an artistic soul. The culture and heritage of our city, like most great cities, owes a tremendous...

    Local StoriesSeptember 19, 2018
  • Fun Things to do in Dallas

    The editorial team shares some of the most noteworthy events in Dallas over the next few weeks. Check them out below...

    Local StoriesSeptember 18, 2018
  • Makeover Monday’s: local beauty inspo that blew us away

    New week, new look.  Here’s some inspiration from some of our most gifted local beauty professionals.   View this post on...

    Local StoriesSeptember 17, 2018
  • An Artistic Voyage: exploring local creative and artistic works

    Raw, unfiltered creative expression – from stories and photographs to illustrations and paintings – is at the heart of VoyageDallas. In...

    Local StoriesSeptember 14, 2018
  • Flashes & Strokes: a Tale of Two Mediums

    The digital and traditional arts are thriving in Dallas. From newer, technology based media like photography and digital art to more...

    Local StoriesSeptember 13, 2018