Gates of Joy
Stephanie Kellett, Nelson, BC, Canada
Hello my dear Substack readers!
I wanted to take this Wednesday to express my deep gratitude that you have subscribed to my Art, Wilderness, Mystic newsletter. THANK YOU for spending some of your finite time with my words and with these incredible, spirit-full artists. I am humbled and honored to have you here.
I also wanted to take this Wednesday to introduce myself, and offer you one of my newest paintings that I’m really quite enamored with. My name is Stephanie Kellett, and I am a visual artist living and working on traditional Sinixt Territory in the south-eastern corner of British Columbia, Canada. My work uses North American wildlife, strong composition, and drippy washes to convey rich emotion. The animals are almost entirely ones that I’ve spent a great deal of time with. They come to me in my waking life - around my home and on wilderness trips, and they come to me in my dreams and plant medicine ceremonies as well. Each creature has a different energy, attitude, and medicine. Over the years I’ve worked to create relationships with these energies, and hone my ability to convey their specific qualities. In the process the animals have become symbols to transmit emotional experiences that are so well known to humans, but sometimes difficult to speak to. They open a door to our hearts, and allow us to rest inside for a moment.
My work also works with themes of natural cycles. Seasons, weather, lunar cycles, and astrological transits are woven into many of my drawings and paintings. An entire body of work was dedicated to honoring the future ghosts of species that may be lost to us in coming years due to climate change (see After Eden here). Another body of work was devoted to twig bundles that I gathered on a six-week trip out on the Chilcotin Plateau. Heavy rain and winds created an strong need for firestarter, and the practice of making the bundles spoke to me of something ancient and close to the earth and the elements (see Rewilding: firestarter here).
The painting I want to share with you today is inspired by rain….
This spring, my part of the world received a lot of rain. It rained nearly everyday from March to June. Usually we have a warm, sunny May. T-shirt and sandals kind of warm. Not this year though. This year we got a damp, soggy, cold spring. I know, I know, it’s better than the heat dome we had last spring and summer. It’s also keeping wildfire season at bay. If I’m honest though, it brought me to an edge of tolerance. I was starting to dip my toes into depression, and I know better than to let myself linger there these days. My only solution was to paint the rain. Transmuting it into inspiration and motivation, I made a group of paintings that used the same palette of blues, and explored the life force humming below the saturated earth. I tapped into the energy of spring that was trying to emerge despite the cold, damp environment. This particular piece speaks to the ability animals have to thrive in adverse conditions. It speaks to the medicine of Fox - their playfulness and adaptability. The act of calling in the joyous life force of spring, the vitality and beauty of fox and hummingbird, sparked so many smiles for me. I titled it, Bursting Through the Gates of Joy, and I hope it sparks something sweet for you too.
Thank you again for your time and presence. If you’d like for me to intermittedly showcase a painting I’ve created, please feel free to comment and leave feedback below. For now I just wanted to say hello and share a creative tendril with you. I’m excited for the next artist I’ll be sharing with you. Think lush tropical colors meet outerspace….
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Images in the order they are posted:
Bursting Through the Gates of Joy, 2022, Stephanie Kellett
Artist with her kelpie - Flint, 2022, Robert E. Livingood