Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
A tour through avery kelly’s body of work illuminates the artist’s passion for animals, nature and vibrant expression. “My work centers on the beauty and energy of the natural world,” reads her artist statement. “I strive to convey a sense of joy and mystery and portray each animal as a distinct individual. Within each piece, I am interested in the animal’s engagement with its fellow creatures, the surrounding environment and the viewer.”
Kelly’s paintings draw you in. A fox at the forest’s edge lifts his paw and holds your gaze. A roadrunner pauses in a field, his tail a ray of colors in a soft wind. Coneflowers at St. Mary’s garden pop under the bluest sky. The captivating images invite you to view the world through Kelly’s eyes, where she unites her affinity for the outdoors with animals, offering her perception of creatures’ curiosities and interactions with nature.
Kelly enjoys a lifelong love affair with the natural world and animals. Her foray into the art world blossomed organically. “I realized I wanted to share and express my enthusiasm about the outdoors and animals. I decided that I wanted to pursue art at a certain point along the way,” she says. She recalls visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with her grandparents and being inspired by the works of Romantic landscape painter J.M.W. Turner.
The Fort Worth native and resident earned her master’s and Master of Fine Arts in studio art from the University of Texas at Tyler, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Texas Christian University, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Redlands, California. Kelly specializes in oil and acrylic painting and relief printmaking. “I am so happy that I learned relief printing. It is an important part of what I am doing,” says Kelly, who adds that the black-and-white images created from linocuts and pulled by hand through a printing press were inspired by her affinity for the contrasts in Pueblo pottery. She is also working with fluid acrylics, which she finds “super interesting.”
One of Kelly’s favorite aspects of artistic expression is showing an animal’s personality, looking into its eyes and seeing something different than if you looked at a photograph. It’s a form of communication that the artist finds unique and interesting. “I never really know where I am going when I begin.
I am discovering as I go along,” says Kelly, who adores spending time outdoors running, biking, walking and seeing pets and birds.
Kelly’s work has been featured in more than 70 exhibits over the last decade. Most recently, her paintings were featured in the Yellowstone Art Auction at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana. Fort Worth residents and visitors can enjoy her Trinity Garden Mural at the Trinity Episcopal Church. “I’ve been lucky with commissions,” says Kelly. She finds tremendous joy in creating bespoke works of art and recently created notecards that are available in the Kimbell Art Museum.
Kelly also works as an art teacher and has enjoyed working with students of all ages and abilities. Currently, she is teaching at the elementary school level. “I see art as another way to make connections with people and the universe,” she says.
Kelly sees her process as an expression of love. She encourages her students to freely express themselves without judgment, saying, “There is room in art for everyone.” She also believes what makes art meaningful is an individual’s devotion to his or her craft. “We are all connected, and as we grow, we keep discovering new energy, mystery and beauty around us. Art can help us see and make these connections. All living things and our relationships are much more mysterious than we are aware. There is an energy, mystery and beauty that may not be initially visible,” says Kelly. *
Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston, Boston Common Magazine, Coastal Design Magazine, Charleston Style & Design, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.com, RD.com and many others. A lover of big words and little white dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found in life’s simple moments.