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Artist quit her day job to paint synchronous fireflies in the Smokies

She left her job as a graphic designer to be a volunteer resident artist in the National Park.

GATLINBURG — When Rosalie Haizlett heard she was chosen to be one of six annual resident artists at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, she decided to not let anything stand in her way, including her job.

“When I spoke with the coordinator she said I saw your proposal that you like tiny things and we have this amazing phenomenon with fireflies and I think you’d be the perfect fit," she said. “I was like oh man that sounds so cool, so I just put in my three weeks notice the next day!”

Haizlett takes pride in paying attention to small details. While most artists might paint the beautiful views and vast landscapes, she chose to focus on fireflies, mushrooms and other insects.

“The tiny little strange things are appealing to me. It kind of makes me unique," she said.

Haizlett plans to turn some of her paintings into GIFs and other graphically animated content.

She also spends part of her days in the park handing out booklets to children teaching them about the fireflies.

"I think that’s seeing things that other people don’t see sometimes and seeing beauty in little things that other people don’t notice," she said. “I’m at the beginning of my career so I don’t know what paths it will take me on.”

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