Archive for the ‘M-J Kelley Studio’ Category

New painting: Stuffed Bunny Head on a Stick with Poison Mushroom Caps

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Stuffed Bunny Head on a Stick with Poison Mushroom Caps (detail, gouache on board) by M-J Kelley

What would ever make anyone draw, let alone paint such a thing? Experiences.

Stuffed Bunny Head on a Stick with Poison Mushroom Caps is about maintaining one’s goodness and humour in a toxic environment. How do we retain a level of childhood innocence when we are constantly barraged with the evils of the world? Bad events and bad people try to drive the innocence from us — sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. Creating illustrative images such as this one helps me to retain the sweetness of childhood.

This painting will be on display until February 13th at the Hangman Gallery (756 Queen St. E., Toronto). For more information on the show: Red Envelope Show: What’s Your Rabbit?

Boxes Boxes … But Where Did I Put That?

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I think I take it back. In my last posting I casually said (obviously without thinking) that I find moving exciting. Really I meant “exhausting”. I am certain that I posted that comment prior to packing up my studio. Yup, I sure did. I cannot tell you how long it took me to pack up my precious scraps of paper. Each painting was gently wrapped and carefully slipped into an appropriately sized box and labeled accordingly. And this went on and on until all was boxed.

And about my new studio that I mentioned in my last posting – well it’s not winterized. It’s not that this major issue slipped my attention; it’s just that I like to see potential instead of problem. And so here I am with a non-useful sub-zero studio. Fortunately, there’s a warm 2nd bedroom where I have crammed all of my art boxes.

And though I have tons of art materials, I have to say nothing is more useful or comforting than a sketchbook and pencil which I smartly packed in my knapsack for easy finding.

Moving the Art Studio

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

If I wasn’t an artist I really wouldn’t have very many belongings; a few clothes, a few books, things to cook with, and things to live in. But enter the art supplies. I am amazed as to how many brushes, tubes of paint, canvas, paper, sketchbooks, paintings, art books, etc. I have acquired over the years. I am taking stock because I am moving home and studio – again.

My running joke about the studio is that by the time I get it all set up, it is time to move. So I don’t like to unpack everything. It only sets in motion the wheels for repacking.

Though I have moved many times, I can honestly say that I find moving exciting. This time though, it’s the most exciting because I’m moving to the country. There are horses, cows, chickens, and a sow with six piglets on the drive into town. Our new home is beautiful. The yard has tall trees and a huge garden. My studio is four times the size of my current studio. It has lots of windows and quiet time to think. I greatly look forward to the peacefulness and the creative work that it will bring.

But first I must find more boxes…

An Artist’s Fundraiser

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Beauty Flower and the Skull Mirror (gouache on board) by M-J Kelley

The Little Art Show is a local juried art auction offering original and limited edition works donated by established and emerging artists (and no bigger than 8” x 10”). Event proceeds fund the operations of the Artists’ Network, a dedicated member-driven not-for-profit with a mandate of supporting visual artists and their practice through a program of professional development, studio and exhibition opportunities. The Artists’ Network operates the Hang Man Gallery and the annual Riverdale Art Walk.

I have donated The Beauty Flower and the Skull Mirror to this auction. This work is an imaginative creation originating from a pencil drawing, and is part of a larger series on surreal landscapes that I create. This small piece is a contemporary “vanitas” piece, representing the transient nature of vanity but with a live for the moment flair that seemingly exists in today’s society. It is painted with gouache on recycled press board.

This event will take place at Saturday, November 13, 2010 at the Mercedes-Benz Downtown 761 Dundas St. E., Toronto (Dundas & River) from 7 – 11pm. For more information about the show: The Little Art Show.

Teaching Art

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Today I begin teaching at LucSculpture School & Studios. I will be teaching Art Portfolio and Cartooning, Comic Art and Sequential Storytelling.

Art Portfolio is a “one on one” class aimed at improving a student’s body of artwork for school submissions. Artistic portfolios should display “observational art” such as: landscapes, still-lifes, cityscapes, self-portrait and human form. It should also include work that speaks to your personal experiences and culture, and reflects your thoughts and concepts.

Cartooning, Comic Art and Sequential Storytelling is a seven week class series that focuses on the basic framework and components of cartoon and comic art. These will be put into play by learning how to tell and draw a story sequentially without the use of words.

I once taught a similar cartooning class at the Kansas City Art Institute. I am so looking forward to teaching it again!

The Dreamcatcher

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Dream Catcher (gouache on board) by M-J Kelley

I begin my paintings with full drawings. In the long run it makes my life a lot easier than trying to sort out tonal or structural issues on the canvas. What I found interesting about The Dreamcatcher was that I drew it with no real image in mind and no in-depth knowledge of what a dreamcatcher was – other than the basic premise. It just kind of came to life. So when I showed a friend of mine the drawing, she said, “what colour are you painting the feather?” I said that I didn’t know. “Well,” she continued, “it means something.” Oh, ok. So off I went in search of the meaning of the coloured feathers.

What I discovered was it wasn’t so much the colour of the feathers, but from whom the feather came. So if a dreamcatcher had crane feathers, then it represented wisdom and knowledge. Feathers from a dove represented the offer of love. Based on the design of the feathers in my drawing, I realized that I drew feathers similar to a hawk or an eagle. Both birds represent protection.

Then I continued my research. I found out that the size of the “sacred hoop” is the size of the dreamcatcher’s maker’s left hand. And sure enough my painting’s hoop is the size of my left hand. There are other iconographical symbols in the piece that were created by accident, but interesting to point out. These would be the seven spokes or Seven Sister (Pleiades) which is the nearest star cluster to Earth, a hole for the spirit guide, and the added fact that the feather is not tied in a downward fashion. A feather tied upside down is for children – so the good dreams slide gently into the child while they are sleeping. It strikes me that this dreamcatcher was intended for adults.

When I actually figured out that I was drawing a dreamcatcher, I asked myself what would happen if a dream was caught and what would or should one do with it once it was caught. I think the feather design solved the mystery for me. Protect it.

Silent Auction

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The Band (gouache on board) by M-J Kelley

The Band is a gouache piece that I painted a few weeks ago. I created it specifically as a donation to a jazz and blues silent auction. The proceeds from the auction are to fund art exhibit display fixtures for the Collingwood Library.

Social Commentary

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

M-J Kelley Studio's Hood Ornament

I begin each morning with a blank page, a sharp pencil and a cup of coffee. I never know what I will be drawing. So imagine my suprise when this turned up. Hood Ornament is a new piece that makes a visual comment about the connection between the brown pelicans, automobiles, and the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

I am finding that the greater the social commentary, the greater the animation or cartooning of a piece. It seems easier to comment in this manner. I now understand political cartoonists all the more.

New Prints

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The decision of whether or not to reproduce my artwork was not an easy one. I am a traditionalist at heart and therefore truly value original paintings and drawings. But with that said, I think it is also of value to listen to those who view your work and make suggestions such as “you should definitely sell prints”. So I have decided to meet somewhere in the middle. I am currently in the process of having five images scanned/printed for fine art reproductions. I picked the five pieces based on what my customers liked the most. One is traditional – The Blue Boat and the other four are surreal landscapes. They are The Clothesline, Crow’s Nest, Collecting Colour, and The Arch. All will be signed limited edition prints. With this I am planning on modifying my website to include the purchase of fine artwork and prints.

The Art Booth Rocks!

Monday, June 14th, 2010

M-J Kelley Studio - Art booth at night.

The display of artwork is just as important as the artwork itself. In an earlier posting I mentioned I was in the process of building an art booth with the help of my brother. Well it was completed and has now been on display at two art shows. The interest in my display booth was unbelievable. Mostly because it was a clean gallery-like way of displaying artwork with an easy set up and an easy, fast and compact tear down.

The walls are made with a thin wood panel strung up with cable ties. Each tie is able to support 50lbs of weight. My brother constructed a desk/box construction in similar fashion using cable ties to hold it together. At the end of the show we just snip the ties and lay everything flat. One of the newest features to be added to the booth display are the lights. They are true track lighting but with the wiring adapted to be plugged into a surge protector. It is super easy to set up and then with a twist, the lights are removed. The image above was taken recently at night. There are 12 track lights (35 watts each) illuminating the booth. It looks fantastic at night!

Besides being complimented on the booth design and display, the booth itself has withstood heavy winds and rain and best of all it fits into the Jeep for another show! Yay to the art booth!