Painting on the Walls

An elegant woman feeding the birds, a page on his way to becoming a knight, and a troll hiding beneath a bridge – these are just a few details in the new mural at John H. Castle Elementary School.

Michael Smith’s murals can be seen at every school in Warrick County except three. This new mural at Castle Elementary is located in the library and was inspired by the school’s name. Every wall has been transformed into stone castle walls that include three picture windows in a magical world and a dragon and talking tree.

“I wanted the kids to feel the breeze, hear the birds chirp, and feel the sun’s warmth,” says Smith, who spent roughly three weeks working on the mural with a lot of help from his wife, Amanda.

“My wife and I have a nice system worked out,” Smith says. “She goes through and base coats the walls, and I come through and do the detail work. I wanted the mural to represent a magical environment where it helps the kids’ imaginations flow.”

Originally from Chandler, Ind., Smith has been painting professionally since the age of 17. His artwork can be seen in Chicago and Houston from his early days working as a commission artist in the late 1990s. In 2006, Smith returned to Chandler to settle down in this area. He owns Orange Moon Arts Studio in Newburgh.

“One thing that is really important to me about this area is that my family is located here,” he says. “They are able to see the artwork in person.”

Smith also has done murals at both YMCAs in Evansville and at the Behavior Networks’ Lifesong Academy. While not his only artwork, murals are his favorite because “with murals, you can change environments,” says Smith. Ranging from automobiles to body art, Smith’s passion is reflected in his work. “The art I create is not mine; it belongs to everyone,” he says.

For more information on Michael Smith’s work, call 812-449-7833 or visit

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