Lynn Christine Kelly

Lynn Christine kelly

I call my work “organic abstraction”. At first they are seemingly recognizable but then they’re not.  The abstractions that I make are my language for a conversation with nature; a visual language that denotes how we are all one, all reliant on each other, all connected.

I grew up in the interior of BC, with my father in the logging industry. He was a firm believer in the value of nature and being respectful of all you encounter out there and he passed those thoughts and beliefs on to us kids.  As kids we played in and around trees all the time. We built forts, stashed treasures, and even the nuts we gathered.

In high school I had a biology teacher that sent us out to catalogue each and every native tree, shrub, and flower that grew around us. I loved learning all that. Right away, after being taught by my father to care, I was excited to know more and to be able to identify and name our local natives species. I did up detailed drawings and carefully wrote descriptions and growth/life information of as many as I could find. To my surprise, and also to my great satisfaction, all three of those finished assignments spent many years in the reference section of the school library.

Much later on I realized how crucial they are to me and my own well-being. I have an ongoing sort of “love affair” with trees and will do whatever I can to protect and honour them. Discovering Dr Suzanne Simard and her lifelong work to study and understand the forest has been an excellent source of information and understanding. She discovered the “mother tree” concept many years ago and has worked tirelessly to get governments and the forestry industry to understand what we need to do there and how we need to nurture and support the trees even as they nurture and support us. Definitely a symbiotic relationship whether one likes it or not, and I love it.

I work on linen, using rabbit skin glue for sizing, and then an oil based primer. It seems to me that if I’m doing work about nature and trees and our connection with that world, then the last thing I want to use is plastic so I avoid acrylics. I do sometimes work with watercolours or ink on watercolour paper, but I am primarily oil on linen. I don’t know really why I’m drawn to the old ways and those traditional materials. Maybe it’s because our connection to the rest of nature is becoming a bygone ability and a lost love? And I want to bring people back to that, to get people to relate to trees and forests again.

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