About Linda's introduction to Artemisia. I became acquainted with the 17th Italian century painter Artemisia Gentleschi (1593-1653) 1998. My brief introduction to her story and her work imprinted itself in my mind and little did I know that this first encounter was just a glimpse of what was yet to come. In 2002 I began to delve deeply into this amazing woman's life and was awestruck and inspired by her talent as an artist and her relentless courage to be "Artemisia." Consequently I felt driven to write songs about this enigmatic painter. The album focuses on the following areas: her relationship with her father, renown artist, Orazio Gentleschi; her father's partner Agostino Tassi, who violated Artemisia at age 17; and later, an arranged marriage to Pietro Stiatessi; her role as a mother and of course her paintings. Artemisia captured the intense emotions of her favored subjects. She related closely to the mythological and Biblical heroines she painted for they, like herself, had to fiercely fight for independence and justice in a male dominated world. Artemisia's struggles and successes mirror many of my own life experiences. My journey with Artemisia has helped me confront my demons and has given me the courage to forgive and move forward in life. Old Town School of Folk Music Description Linda M. Smith, Chicago based singer-songwriter and co-producer of "Grapes of Wrath - A Folk Opera" debuts her most recent work about 17th century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Smith's passionate and soulful style weaves poetry and music to communicate the intriguing life story of the best known female artist in western art history before the modern era. Smith also presents a montage of Artemisia's paintings which serve as a visually captivating backdrop during the performance. The combined mediums of music and art tell a compelling story of struggle, perseverance and triumph of this enigmatic painter. About Linda M. Smith Linda M. Smith's singer-songwriter talents stem from a diverse personal background. Before Smith started performing at local bars and coffee houses in her early twenties, she was a budding classical pianist winning state-wide championships. Emulating her contemporary musical idols, Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell, she began crafting her own songs and delved into the local music scene. Further inspired by guitarists Bruce Cockburn and Richard Thompson, Smith picked up the guitar and has not put it down since. Experimenting with her voice, Smith developed the unique vocal style heard on her albums today - a sound that blends folk with rock and a little bit of country. Smith's music is romantic, soulful, earthy and mystical, and is best known for it's lyrical and melodic freshness. By listening to a wide range of artists and musical genres, she continuously opens herself to ideas she encounters in her auditory adventures. Her music has been compared to the likes of Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin and Natalie Merchant. No stranger to introspection, Smith tackles a range of personal issues in her music, from anger and frustration, to love and passion. She draws upon her own experiences as artist, wife, mother and woman. 'Life and the everyday is what drives my music," said Smith. As a songwriter, however, Smith's uniqueness comes in her search for resolution. Beyond just emotional expression, her stories - though song - look for hope and clarity in the midst of life's toughest struggles. "I think most people want to hear more than unresolved anger. They want to hear about answers, resolution, closure, the things that they look and hope for in their own lives. That's why people relate very strongly to my music," Smith said. "Many people tell me that my songs were written just for them. " Smith released her self-titled debut album in 1998, and in 2000, released her second album, "Blame it on the Moon," featuring renowned master guitarist Michael Smith. She will release her third album, "Artemisia," in January 2006. "Artemisia" is Smith's first concept album and explores the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, a revolutionary 17th century painter and the first female artist to achieve recognition in world of post-Renaissance art. Smith and her band have played numerous clubs in and around Chicago and have become favorites at annual festivals like Evanston First Night, Harold Washington Library Festival of Poets, Old Town Art Fair, Park Forest Summer Nights Concert Series, Long Grove Arts Festival and Lincoln Square Concert Series. They have also toured universities across the nation. Smith is proudly sponsored by the Illinois Arts Council in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts. A Chicago native, Linda lives with her husband and producer Robert Arendt and their son, Stephen. In addition to recording and performing, she teaches guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.