Artist of the Month

July Artist of the Month: Kelly Corbett

“As a realist painter, my motivation is to share my visual experiences…to create paintings that speak both to me and to others about the beauty that exists in British Columbia. My style invites the viewer to recall their own past adventures and relive the sights and scents of BC’s natural environment. Through my artwork, I attempt to bring the outside in, to pay tribute to the natural world and remind us how rewarding it can be to take the time to reconnect with nature.”

Since my recent move to Vancouver Island, I am especially passionate about west coast landscapes, particularly the ocean. I love landscapes because I am an outdoor adventurer and I see some very beautiful scenery on my adventures. I also use birds as my subject because no matter where you go adventuring you always see birds. You may not see a moose, bear, or otter, but you WILL see birds. My painting style is best described as realism and I paint with acrylics.

30″ x 40″

My guiding thought while creating art is: “Beautiful BC”. I am an active outdoor adventurer and I constantly marvel at all of the natural beauty that can be seen in British Columbia. Sharing my experiences through my paintings is a rewarding way to connect with others. While hiking mountains, paddling my kayak, or taking in the crisp air on a snowshoe trek I am often wondering, “Why isn’t everyone doing this?”

36″ x 48″

Since I was a child, I knew I wanted to create art. I have always been motivated by the reactions that come from people who see my work and connect with it. My family has been a constant source of encouragement throughout my career. 

After high school, I completed a Fine Art Diploma at UCFV, but a successful painting career did not seem like a possibility at that time. Photography, however, was an attractive option, so I completed a Diploma of Photography from Western Academy of Photography and became a part-time wedding and portrait photographer for 14 years. 

I hadn’t seriously considered focusing on painting until I moved to the Okanagan five years ago. I was hired at the Lloyd Gallery in Penticton as a sales assistant and I inquired into having my own art displayed there. The gallery manager questioned my ability to generate enough art to be a gallery artist and I took that as a challenge. After feeling quite successful in my first year of gallery sales I went on to approach a new gallery every year and I am now represented by six galleries.

Rathtrevor Beach
30″ x 48″

My mom has been a great influence in my life for encouraging my art and creativeness. She signed me up for art classes when I was eight years old and is constantly supporting me. I am also inspired and influenced by nature. I get to see so many beautiful scenes while I am out exploring nature, it gives me the desire to share my experiences with others through my art.

When painting, I am always looking for more natural light. My ideal studio would need to be flooded with natural light, hopefully from large windows and possibly a skylight. A view of nature, especially the ocean, would be great for inspiration. 

Many of my paintings are on very large canvases. This presents a problem for me in terms of storing an inventory of blank canvases and hanging finished paintings. Some sort of storage system (closet or rack) would be ideal.

Close access to a sink is important. And a truly perfect studio space would have a separate (dust free) room for varnishing.

30″ x 40″

To an aspiring artist, I would say that being a professional artist involves two major aspects: improving your skills as an artist, and improving your skills as a business person. In order to improve your skills as an artist, you need to paint as much as you possibly can. This will not only make your paintings better, but it will also make you a faster painter and allow you to get more art into the market. Be dedicated to your art.

Allow time for the business side of art. Many artists want to ignore this aspect, but there is no way to get around it if you want to be successful. Learn how to approach galleries and price your work. Learn and spend time on marketing strategies and social media. Treat your art like a business.

12″ x 36″

My main goal for the future is to paint as much as I possibly can! One of the best parts of my work is gathering reference images of scenic places. To paint a lot means that I will need to explore the backcountry of this beautiful island. My work is new on the island, so I also need to expand my exposure here. I am always looking for new places to display my paintings, so I am applying for a number of public gallery shows for next year. 

To see more of Kelly’s fabulous work, visit her website:

To contact Kelly, email her at:

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