Heather Kelley is a member artist at Fifth Avenue Art Gallery. View her bio and a partial portfolio, HERE
I was born an artist but it didn’t exactly work out the way I intended. Be that as it may, that is not the story I am going to tell. I am going to fast forward to living outside of Boston, Ma where my husband and I raised our 2 daughters. A favorite pass time over the years was heading to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and going to the Contemporary Wing. I loved the imagery and color of Arthur Dove, a modernist who lived from 1880 to 1946. We even had this poster hanging in our family room.
I resumed taking art classes after a one year program in Honolulu while we lived there before children. In New England, I connected with a group of artists on Monhegan Island, Maine. I was in over my head but over time, I persisted in learning how to be a realist painter. That led to a somewhat impulsive one year painting trip around the world with my then 13 year old daughter. I came back with 70 paintings and wrote a book about our adventures.
Florida was next on my journey and when I got here, I didn’t relate to the scenery and remembered the Arthur Dove painting that hung in my old house. My search to find how to paint with wax emulsion which is the medium he used, led me to taking a 3 day course at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota. The only problem was, it was not wax emulsion it was wax encaustic, which I never heard of. But I had paid for the course and had a place to stay….. and that was 10 years ago. I took the exact same course 3 times over the course of year 1. After learning the ins and outs of encaustic, I was still stymied by how to make the transition from a realist to an abstract painter. My teacher in Maine, Don Stone, commented that any good abstract painter had to first be a good realist painter. So, I had that part under my belt. I was just afraid to do it.
One night in a dream, Arthur Dove came to me and told me I had everything in me that I needed and fear was the only thing preventing me from doing it. All I needed to do was walk through the fear, which I did.
I enjoy encaustic collage, the brilliance of encaustic alone and encaustic monotypes.
I recently added encaustic pigment sticks to my mix and they are luscious and brilliant.