Spotlight on the Arts: Kellie Day

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Spotlight on the Arts: Kellie Day

Ridgway artist Kellie Day has a new gallery series opening this week. An opening for her “Colorful Colorado” show is scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 2, at the 610 Arts Collective, 610 Clinton St., in Ridgway. Photo by Lizzie Tilles/Courtesy Kellie Day
By Katie Langford on Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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You can spot a piece of Kellie Day’s artwork long before you’re close enough to the canvas to see her signature.

Soft pastel shades and vibrant jewel tones come together to form lush bouquets, sweeping mountain vistas and striking portraits of animals.

“My northern light has always been creating art for me,” Day said. “There have been opportunities where companies asked me to start making art for their clients, and I could have earned a lot more money doing that, but I always had to make sure I was making art for me.”

That lesson took years to learn, Day said. Art was always a part of her life but not something Day seriously pursued, instead focusing on traveling the world and climbing, eventually landing in Ouray.

But after going through a divorce and becoming a single mom with a baby, Day started searching for more.

“I needed something meaningful in my life, so I started to rediscover fine art,” she said. “I discovered mixed media painting and was just on fire. I couldn’t stop painting.”

But even after she picked up a paintbrush, it took time for Day to discover how to create art that felt like it was for her first and foremost. She took classes, tried different mediums and kept painting.

“There are all sorts of ways you can be in the field and create for others, but your brain develops this skill of making things look nice and that is very different from painting for yourself,” she said. “It took me about a decade and involved finding a medium I loved and learning to trust myself.”

Facing criticism from patrons also deepened her belief in creating art for herself first and foremost, Day said. She recalled a couple who once walked into a gallery show and loudly criticized her use of cement in a painting.

“I had a couple of experiences like that and at first you are really taken aback, and then you can either run away and hide or you can laugh about it,” she said. “I know it’s a really great painting, and that’s all I have.”

The purpose Day discovered through her art also inspired her to start mentoring women who want to rediscover their own creativity. She designed a mentoring course and has worked with more than 200 women to help them find their creative spark.

“I feel people have a creative calling in them and a lot of times they don’t know how to get it out. It’s in there, don’t doubt that it’s in there. Start taking classes, because it’s incredibly rewarding to see what’s in us,” she said.

Day’s most recent series, “Colorful Colorado,” celebrates living in Ridgway for 25 years and is on display at 610 Arts Collective in June. An opening is scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 2, at the 610 Arts Collective, 610 Clinton St.

To learn about Kellie’s Art Mentoring click here

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