This week’s featured artist: Chris Kelsey, member since 2011:
ME: After growing up in various places as a Navy brat, I became a Virginian, graduating from Virginia Tech. We moved to Upper Marlboro in early 80’s to be near Andrews AFB where my husband was stationed. There were horses and cows when we moved there but not a lot else! We moved to Annapolis 4 1/2 yrs ago, and it was the best thing we ever did. I love being here and thinking about my Dad in the Academy class of 43. Our new house came with a full basement where I could finally spread out all my art supplies and set up permanent work stations; a big change from years of using my dining room. It has really allowed me to flourish as an artist.
MY ART: I first became entranced with the properties of melted wax many years ago while making batiks and I saw my first encaustic paintings. I couldn’t wait to try it. I love all the ways you can manipulate the wax with drawing in, scratching out, layering, adding in all kinds of objects. Most of my work has a link to the natural world, and contract it with the manmade world. I like using flowers that are past their prime – fading and ragged around the edges but still holding up. At 64 I can relate! The effects we are having on the environment is a theme I want to explore more in the future. Over the years I have tried many other mediums but know that encaustic was what I was waiting for. There is an immediacy to the techniques that is thrilling – the wax often has its own idea of what it wants to do, so complacency has no place and you need to be fully engaged when you are at work
MFA & ME: In 2011, I read of an open call at MFA, and set the goal of finishing a work, photographing it, figuring out how to upload it and completing the submission process. I never thought I might get in so I was utterly delighted when I was accepted into Small Wonders. I became a member, and since then have attempted to take full advantage of every opportunity to submit that MFA has to offer. As we all know, there are many, which is one of the best things about this gallery. The abundant spirit of inclusion is such a huge encouragement to artists everywhere. I have volunteered many times and always meet the best people – enthusiastic, informed and generous. I really enjoy the connections I am making and the people I am getting to know.
Spread the word about…YOU: Every week, we feature an MFA member for “Me & My Art Monday.” If you would like to be featured, please submit a photo and three paragraphs: one each about YOU, YOUR ART, and MFA & YOU totaling approximately 350 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org.