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Red Bank siblings collaborate on novel

The library of Red Bank High School is currently dotted with the paintings and drawings of junior Jordan Smith.

The works span from the time Smith developed his love for art in the 10th grade, marked by simpler drawings, to his latest creations.

One painting, though, has special meaning to him. He said he took extra care with each stroke of his paintbrush.

It is the painting that graces his sister Morgan Smith’s book cover. A RBHS alumna, she graduated from the school in 2007.

“The fact that it was going to be displayed a lot more … I wanted it to be better than most of my work,” Jordan Smith said. “I wanted it to suit her desire for the illustration as well as satisfying my artistic desire.”

The painting displays a dark and foggy scene, including tombstones, an open grave and gnarled, looping tree branches. It’s exactly what Morgan Smith said she was looking for to match her latest writing endeavor, a mystery novel called “Lies Through the Grapevine.”

The brother-and-sister duo said they sat on their front porch last summer for a week, Morgan Smith writing and Jordan Smith painting. As Morgan Smith looked over her brother’s shoulder, her own writing was inspired by his work, she said.

“As we were working on the cover, the story actually got darker,” she explained. “I decided it needed more mystery, more suspenseful moments. Jordan even helped me at times make scenes more suspenseful. It really was a collaboration.”

Painting is a big passion for Jordan Smith, and both RBHS art teacher Michel Belknap and interim art teacher Lynn Starnes said they are proud of their student.

“He is a rare form of artist that has a very strong work ethic,” Starnes said. “He’s very driven.”

As for his future, Jordan Smith said he is weighing his options when it comes to college. He’s considering attending art school, but also wants to attend school for engineering.

“If I were to do that and have art on the side, it would be the best of both worlds,” he said.