Portia is me, Gwenda Kellett.
Portia is also my oldest cat, darling, noisy, naughty and adorable. I find myself shouting Portia, so many time a day, usually because she is doing something bad.
She is strong and demands what she wants and cares little for what anyone thinks. Something to aspire to. Not like me at all.
I build paintings in Salem Virginia, with my extremely supportive family Tony, Roxy, Tony and the girls (cool cats) Portia, Emma and Madison.
My work is usually in the Abstract Expressionism genre, although some of my paintings include nudes or flowers or other such subject matter. I experiement in different areas from time to time, but usually return to the expressionist areas.
I work in acrylics of all qualities. from the house paint store, the craft shop and the fine art supplier. Experimenting as much with the medium as with the subject or more accurate no subject at all. I love paint and texture and color. I very rarely have much of an idea about the direction the work will take.
I am very influenced by current color trends as I am an Interior decorator by day. I find myself using colors and color mixes that I am working with in fabrics or on walls. This is not deliberate, but I realise that it does help when a buyer is looking for that certain piece.
I believe the way you feel when you paint influences what you paint. This is why I make time each day to stroke paint with brush and knife.
I have always been involved in the Arts world in some capacity, most of my lfe, from studying Fabric Printing to chairing a regional Arts Association in the United Kingdom. I have had the opportunity to be exposed through my work in London, Paris and Milan, to be touched by the very greats, in architechture, painting and of course fashion. As I settle down into my later years I find that I am focused on Community Arts, working with my organisation Southwest Virginia Arts, I am touched by great artistic influences on a daily basic. I am happier than I have every been and it shows in my own work and I hope that I am of some inspiration or practical help to others..
My collectors (hard to write that as I am not used to thinking of myself in those term ) usually start buying my work before they know who work it is. They pleased to find out Portia is me and still they do come back. My biggest collectors now have approx 12 pieces – they married, both had some of my work and have since bought together. Had to share that little gem of a story.
I rarely do shows or competitions, although I am being encouraged to do this. I have shown in the UK, Roanoke and Salem over the past 30 years. I have post graduate qualifications, although not in the Fine Arts. I have studied Art History, Design, Human Engineering, Technology and Business Management at a number of Universities including Cambridge, Milton Keynes, UMIST, Lancaster and Huddersfield. I also have Royal Chartership in Purchasing and Supply Management. My education helps in all areas of my life. English Universities taught me to think in ways that attempt to see issues from all angles and to investigate deaply before reaching firm conclusions. I approach art in this way, my own work and the work of others.
Why do I paint? I do not really know. I just do. I just have to.
I was gifted with a handful of natural abilities at a young age: Not sure exactly what they are, but none of them are in sports or musical talents. I had a Grandmother that could draw anything by memory, I cannot draw, I am of the broad brush, the bigger the canvas the better. The thicker the paint the better. Well, usually, at the moment I am working on less texture with, I have to say some good results.
I have a complicated relationship with blank canvases. I am driven to fill them up with nonsense and such..Often times I do not know where the paint will take me or why. Everything else comes by practice or by accident.
I believe anyone can create art—but that we don’t need to produce it to be a part of it. We can talk, interview, answer questions, draw, sing along, probe, repurpose, react, besides face off against a blank canvas.
I believe that art should be accessibile to all, whether we know we are looking at, hearing, feeling… art or not. It touches us all everyday. It changes us, sometimes making us feel good, sometimes not.
I long to be understood and appreciated by everyone I meet, and to reciprocate by inviting them into my world. This is not an easy path.