Kelly is a painter and a regular participant of a live figure drawing session at the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville Virginia. Having studied art and illustration in college, family obligations and a career in advertising kept her away from her passion of painting. After a long hiatus, Kelly began painting again in 2010 is currently balancing her roles as a mother, full time art teacher, and a painter building her body of work.
Editor's note: The following story is in the artist's own words, excerpted from one-on-one interviews.
Calling yourself an artist
I would say because I finally realized that that’s my passion and that is what I need to do to be my actual self and that painting and drawing and being around artists is really what I’m meant to do. I paint enough now that I can call myself an artist and I guess people around me are starting to say ‘oh, my friend Kelly the Artist’, so it’s kind of hand-in-hand. I don’t know why it’s such a term that is hard for a lot of artists to use.
It was that way when I was nineteen years old and in school, it was my favorite class and that’s what I felt I was comfortable doing and it took a lot of practice because with the figure or even with the portrait, you really should know anatomy. It makes it a whole lot easier to understand what’s below the skin. I worked hard at that and once I understood that, it just comes a little more naturally and it’s just much more interesting to me.
It’s almost like the warmth of the body in front of you gives you a much clearer picture of what you’re drawing. Also I feel much more moved and I have a lot more in me to draw the person. I can see much more clearly when they’re in front of me because I can see their emotions, I feel like I can see their soul.
Starting with a blank page
First I usually look for some sort of a composition that goes with the gesture of the model so if the model is sitting what is the connection really between her sitting pose and her environment. I look a lot at the negative spaces to find that connection, that’s what I first do…a lot of lines to figure out if I can create a composition quickly. Then I try to figure out the light source and shadows – if there’s anything connected with the model and her environment.
What would you like them to say?
I guess that they could see the emotion of the model. That it is clear what the model is like personally; that they can see their soul or that they could see what they were feeling at the time. That and the composition that it’s pleasing to the eye. But it’s more than that, that would be what I’m striving for. was told, not too long ago, that my artwork was maybe too romanticized and I thought ‘well I don’t want it to be fake’ but I definitely want some emotion in there. I don’t want it just to be an anatomy lesson.