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Artists of the Outback Creative - Luke Kelly

Artists of the Outback Creative - Luke Kelly

Who are your Influences?

I’ve always loved the old botanical illustrations of Australian birds, like the work of John Cotton in the 1800’s, through to more contemporary work by artists like Nicky Shelton.

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Where in Australian do you find is your best source of inspiration?

I’m most inspired when I’m at home. We live on a large secluded property in the Hawkesbury, NSW. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty, bordering several national parks so wildlife is right at the door. We’re visited daily by many different parrots, so inspiration is never far away. As I’m originally from the UK and I’ve always been blown away by the colours, vibrancy and playfulness of parrots. They have such character and personality – which I try and capture in my paintings. For me – they represent what I love most about Australian wildlife.

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What do you find are the most difficult subjects to capture/ paint/ draw?

A lot of my work is quite detailed and close-up, this is where I’m most comfortable painting. I do find large vistas and landscapes much more challenging to paint.

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What makes you start to create a piece and how do you know when you are finished?

I have so many ideas written down for paintings, plus I always have at least one painting in progress at any time, so I’m already planning which painting to move onto next. I also do a lot of commissioned work, so that dictates to some degree what’s next on the list. As for finishing work, I realize that the last 20% of effort makes all the difference when adding detail, so when painting a parrot, there comes a point when it starts to feel alive and looks back at me from the canvas, at this point I know the painting is finished.

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Do you have an artwork you are most proud of and why?

My Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Portrait painting is probably my favourite to date. I’m proud of the light and shadow and the cheeky character of the bird. Plus – this painting won first prize out of 512 paintings in “Art Wars” - an online international art competition earlier this year.

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What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without?

As I paint with acrylics, my tools are all very simple, so there’s nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. Out of everything I use, my selection of brushes are the things I take care most care of, particularly all my fine brushes.

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What would you like to achieve out of your art? Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?

There’s still so much for me to explore with painting. I’d love to work my way through painting more species of Australian parrots, birds and other wildlife. I think this will keep me busy for quite some time! I think the next big step for me would be to organise an exhibition. So far, my work has been exhibited alongside other artists work, so I’d love to have an exhibition just on my own.

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If you would like to visit Luje's profile and purchase his images.

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