Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Art and Design from EIT Hawkes Bay in 2001, going on to exhibit in group exhibitions and showing work in galleries in Napier, Wellington, and Auckland.
In 2010, Smith and her husband Guillaume, a French winemaker, purchased land on the Waimarama road where they built a cottage and planted the gardens – providing endless inspiration for the painter, a self-confessed “lover of colour” and avid gardener. Soon after, in 2012, they welcomed their daughter Lilly and established their vineyard and label, Maison Noire. Smith now paints full time from her studio situated amongst the gardens, the vines, and birdsong.
Parnell Gallery has represented Esther Smith since 2023.