Saving The Earth Through Art

Kelly Keane

Kelly Keane with examples of her ‘Postcards Collection,’ featuring scenic Kaua‘i

Kelly Keane set out to save the world, but painting always called. She finally found a way to blend her passions, and the result is really nice art

Artist Kelly Keane’s oil paintings pull you into the natural landscapes they portray.

From the rich textures of autumn leaves to the vibrant colors of Kaua’i beaches, Keane’s art captures the realistic elements of nature.

“But the feeling and context evoke kind of this mystery,” she says of her style, which she calls subjective-realist.

Last month, Keane presented her first solo show on the island at Art Café Hemingway in Kapa’a.

“Hearing people’s responses to the art has been really inspiring,” she says.

The feedback was extremely positive.

In fact, her art was so well-received, she was asked to sell giclee prints of her work.

“Honestly, I resisted the whole idea because I wanted to be a fine artist,” she says. “But everyone was so into them, and the paintings sort of have a life of their own. I painted them, but now they exist and they want to be shared, and the point is to put beauty into the world. I had prints made so people can enjoy them.

“The art exists beyond me now, and the value is to share it. It puts a smile on people’s faces.”

Giclee is a high-quality print and, “it’s the closest you can get to an original,” she says.

It took awhile for Keane to realize her artistic passion.

Kelly Keane incorporates natural elements in her paintings. Coco Zickos photos

“I got distracted by saving the world,” she jokes.

Keane attended Fairhaven College in Washington, where she is from originally, and focused her studies on environmental issues.

“I thought, ‘I’ll save the world, that’s more important than art, right?'”

After graduating, she also thought she wanted to be a farmer, even though her primary passion was art, admitting that her first artistic endeavors were stick figures on the walls of her childhood home.

“It took me a couple of years to come back around to painting,” she says.

By the time she did, Keane already had plenty of photographs taken during her college years from which she could draw her ideas.

“That’s kind of where the composition and idea comes from – it starts with the photographs,” she says.

Now she is saving the world in a different way.

“Saving the world on a very basic level has to do with our relationship with nature,” she says. “To me, it’s very sacred. So that’s what I portray in my art, that feeling of being in nature.”

From waterfalls to a woman taking a nap on a bed of moss, Keane captures the essence of nature in each of her pieces.

Her most recent editions include the Postcards Collection, which entails vividly colored snapshots of places on Kaua’i like Polihale and Lumahai beaches.

“It’s so satisfying – the whole process,” she says regarding her work.

It brings her into a zone where she feels alive and inspired.

But what makes her feel most alive is when she gets to share the end product with others.

“This show has been so validating,” says Keane, who moved to the island two years ago. “Now I know from the response that this is definitely a good direction for me to continue in.

“I’m just going to keep going.”

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