‘Bringing the outside in’: Nanoose Bay landscape painter sees great success

Kelly Corbett has back-to-back shows booked in 2020

Kelly Corbett has been making waves since she moved to Vancouver Island to pursue her dream of living as a full-time artist.

Quite literally – the Nanoose Bay landscape painter’s upcoming exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre is called Aqueous, and revolves around the importance of water. That show will take place Feb. 4 to Feb. 29 at the Parksville arts hub.

“There is something about witnessing free-flowing bodies of water shifting in their natural course that is comforting, and in some way connects us to the bigger, universal picture,” reads her exhibition statement.

Corbett arrived in the community just over a year ago, and has made it a personal goal of hers to get as involved in the art community as possible.

Her New Year’s resolution was to get out and visit artists in their studio and talk art, which she says has been a great learning experience. She’s been inspired by the wealth of talent in the community.

READ MORE: ‘Nothing else feeds my soul like that’: Coombs artist makes whimsical, colourful paintings

“It is amazing, and kind of overwhelming because there are so many artists on the island. It’s like a mecca for artists to come here. Which is encouraging, but you also have a lot of competition out there too,” said Corbett.

Corbett is an avid outdoorsperson, and she draws inspiration from the scenery around B.C. She takes in the landscape while hiking, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing and backpacking throughout the province.

“I like going out into nature, taking reference images, and then coming back to the studio, painting all the cool places I get to check out on the island,” said Corbett.

“I like the aspect of combining my adventuring with my paintings. … I see these amazing scenes when I’m out exploring and stuff, and I just want to share it with everybody.”

Some of the destinations on her list for 2020 include a portion of the North Coast Trail, Telegraph Cove, Desolation Sound and Carmanah Valley.

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Corbett has been a full-time artist for two years now, after first exhibiting some of her work at the Lloyd Gallery in Penticton and achieving great success.

“It just kind of exploded – I never really had a dream of being a full time artist, but now that I’ve realized it can actually be a reality, I super love it,” said Corbett.

She tries to paint every day, sometimes for one hour, sometimes for six. Mornings are the most productive times for her. She went to art school but didn’t find it to be overly helpful, turning instead to wedding and portrait photography for 14 years.

“I feel like if somebody did want to pursue art in the future, I’d say go and learn from a professional artist directly, like take classes if you can. And just keep on painting – I mean, just from the act of painting every single day, you’re going to grow and progress from that, too,” said Corbett.

In addition to her show at the MAC, she’s a resident artist at TOSH every Wednesday until May. She’ll be showing at the Beach Club Resort in Parksville and in a gallery in Peachland in May, at The Village Gallery in Sidney in July and followed up by a solo show at TOSH in September.

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