Carol Kelly is a self taught oil painter. She trained in classical ballet at the Theatre School in Edinburgh and now lives in Dunbar, East Lothian where she owns Coast Gallery.
Kelly’s work stems from some of her experiences in ballet, the process of practise and work before the culmination into something wonderful. The initial process is that of impasto paint and primer, placed in a manner both haphazard and poised- this is the routine of repetition and overcoming, producing beauty in the end. Ballet is all about clean lines and seemingly effortless movement, making the labour immaterial. Behind this is the power of muscularity- practice becoming painstaking and tying everything together at the end to create the pristine. This practice reflects in her paintings too.
Kelly consistently has her subject- flowers- around her, though flowers which are not always alive. Her work situates itself in still life, between the moment of life and death, with a subject that is beautiful but nevertheless preserved in a certain time and place. The pieces are still life seen through the lens of memory and place, not reflective of reality- but a constructed one. Working with oil on board, the works have traditional means and subjects but transcend their primordial origins. Their smudged, smeared and areas of rough form appear and disappear as your eye drifts over the ostensibly ‘pretty’ subject matter. The appearance of sturdy robust strokes turn into fragile delicate wisps the more you look.