For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features visual artist Kelly Murray. Raised on a farm in southwest Manitoba, she attended school in Melita and then moved to Winnipeg, where she lived for twelve years. In 1994, she relocated to Powerview and, since 2005, she has lived near Stead.
Her favourite media include alcohol ink, watercolour paint, and acrylics. Other interests encompass many different forms and materials: sketching, sewing, cross-stitch, photography, scrapbooking, card making, creating and painting paper tole.
Murray says, “From my teenage years I always had a desire to make art, from coloring to fashion design. But, while I was raising our four daughters with my husband, my available time to create dwindled.”
Although she doesn’t have formal training, her art practice has progressed because she looks for different artistic experiences and workshops where she picks up tidbits of advice.
She says, “When I seek out a picture to sketch or paint, I look for images that speak to me or a design that will stretch my abilities. Also, to glean new methods, I love listening to and watching other artists.”
Despite her growing artistic expertise, she hasn’t yet participated in an exhibit. But she has shared her creativity by leading classes in card making and scrapbooking. Recently, the Manitoba Arts Network selected Murray as one of five artists chosen to take part in the Rural Arts Mentorship Program (RAMP) in Eastern Manitoba. Led by professional painter Brenna George, RAMP is a four-weekend intensive experience with studio visits, designed to meet the needs of rural artists. The program will culminate with a virtual showing next March, and a physical showing at a Brandon art gallery, in September of 2021.
For the last two-and-a-half years, Murray has developed her skills with a group called River Sketchcrawlers. Every week in the summer, these artists from around Eastman choose a location and then go to that place and draw or paint for the whole evening.
When asked what motivates her, Murray says, “I find art and creating to be a release. Time passes quickly when I’m working on a project. And we have a beautiful area with such variety to inspire us.”