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Q-and-A with Karla: ‘Art is my voice’

I recently had the opportunity to paint in a garden of roses with Kamloops artist Kelly Perry. She is meticulous in her art and has a kind soul. She volunteers, teaching and helping others, and often works with children.

I recently had the opportunity to paint in a garden of roses with Kamloops artist Kelly Perry.

She is meticulous in her art and has a kind soul.

She volunteers,  teaching and helping others, and often works with children. I have been honoured to get to know her and sat down with her for a Q-and-A.                            

Karla Pearce: What is your professional background and artistic medium?

Kelly Perry: Today I am an artist. I graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in 2005.

Those years were the first years of experiencing art through painting, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking — there is just not enough time to do all the things I am passionate about.

I would classify myself as a multimedia artist always searching for new ways to create and sometimes work with other artists at my Saturday morning art workshops.

Pearce: What inspired you to become an artist?

Perry: Not sure what inspired me other than school and art was a case of survival. But, I have never regretted one moment of finding how being creative makes me feel.

Art is my voice

Pearce: How did you get your start?

Perry: I must have always been artsy — creating winning gardens, decorating my homes — but, beyond all that, when a life-altering event approached me and I needed something to survive and make it through the day, art became my therapy.

Today, I am fortunate to give the gift of art to others young, old, as well as adults and children with disabilities. It is now their voice.

Pearce: Describe your creative process.

Perry: If I have to choose one way, I would have to pick my painting style, I use the smallest brushes, even on my four-foot canvas.

I take my photos and see what talks to me, picking one out of the pile.

I proceed to draw only part of the subject or a small area, then add colour and tonal value.

Once this small section is done, I outline most of the colour changes in a black.

This process has a connection for me. You see, usually I am somewhat a bit of a scatterbrain and all over the place. I go with how I feel for colour at that moment. The black outlines protect me from the elements beyond and the fear of failure.

The lines keep me safe.

Pearce: What is your inspiration?

Perry: My inspiration is nature and life — what more could one ask for?

Pearce: What motivates you to create/ work?

Perry: My motivation to create is almost automatic. I sit down for a morning coffee and the next thing I am sitting on the couch with a brush in my hand. It’s almost like an addition that gives me the highest of highs. It allows me to get lost and the world just passes me by.

Pearce: What is the most difficult thing about creating/doing your work?

Perry: Can’t think of one at the moment, other than how my feelings control my painting.

I may start with a vibrant colour and, when I go into it the next day, it may totally change.

Just thought of one.

Plein air, the thought of it controlling me, it almost states the colours I need to use and the lines I need to make — what a challenge for me.

Pearce: What is the best thing about creating/doing your work?

Perry: The best thing for me is the peace it brings into my life and opportunity to be able to help others with disabilities create their voice and to see the smiles on their faces.

Art has no borders and there are no mistakes — it’s a feeling within us.

Pearce: What was the worst/best moment in your career?

Perry: This spring, being turned down for an exhibition when I was told my art wasn’t as good as in the past.

Funny, that person or persons had never seen my art before.

I was devastated. It made me feel like that child so many years ago. This decision in the end was positive as it allowed me to make important life changes.

Pearce: What are you working on now?

Perry: Right now I am finishing an acrylic painting for a plein air exhibition at Chazou in September and my prints as the Kamloops Printmakers have an exhibition at the Kamloops Arts Council until Aug. 29.

Pearce: What are your future plans/goals?

Perry: Every artist’s dream is to be a successful artist, sell a few pieces and make a difference to others.   

Think that’s probably every artist’s dream.

Pearce: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom you would like to share with the next generation of artists?

Perry: Don’t ever stop creating how you feel and, remember, the sky is the limit if you work hard.

Life is full of adventure. Let art be your voice.

Pearce: How do we find you?

Perry: I have created a Saturday morning art workshop at the Old Kamloops Cultural Centre every Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Drop in for an hour or three hours.

Everyone is welcome.

For more information on Kelly Perry or her workshops, email, call 250-372-2611  or go online to

Karla Pearce is a local artist who contributes a column to Kamloops This Week. For more information, go online to