'World Famous on ArterNet Art' - Featured Guest Artist - Kellie Spence.

“Jetty in Fiji" commission”
Oil on 
canvas 1200 x 600mm

Kellie Spence

Today's guest artist hails from our very own country - New Zealand. Such a talented, up and coming young artist and you'll soon see why I say this!
Kellie was born in Livingston, Scotland in 1992.
Her parents brought her over to New Zealand in 1993, where she currently lives. 
Kellie was always passionate about art and often sketched throughout her school days. She has never studied Art but while at The University of Waikato studying Primary School Teaching, she purchased her first oil paints. Kellie describes herself as a self-taught painter, who learns through practice.
Her inspiration comes from the beautiful landscapes across New Zealand. 

ArterNet Art: Hi Kellie, it's great to chat with you today and I find it incredible that you haven't studied art at school. You will be a great inspiration to all our artist readers. 
So, if not through art school, then what was your route to becoming an artist?

Kellie:  As a child I always loved drawing, but it never occurred to me throughout school that I could become an artist!
So after high school, I studied primary school teaching. 
decided to give painting a go after seeing some of Tim Wilson’s work in person and I absolutely loved it. I now teach part-time to spend more hours of the week painting and I hope to one day be able to paint full-time.

ANA: What difficulties or major hurdles have you had to overcome, if any, on your journey to becoming the successful, established artist we see today?

Kellie: I feel a successful and established artist is someone who can cover all their living costs through selling their art. I’m not there yet but hopefully I am on my way!
A big hurdle has been trying to teach myself the skills of painting and selling my
own art (which I find very difficult) while teaching. 
It was far more difficult when I was teaching full-time and I have now tried to spend the extra couple of days a week researching and experimenting different styles and techniques.

“Mountains in Blue”
Oil on oil paper A4

ANA: What or who were your early influences?

I was originally inspired by Tim Wilson’s works and at a similar time, the
artist, Ross Lee, had a gallery in Whakatane and he allowed to me to hang around and watch him paint which was an incredible inspiration.

ANA: We can see by your art that your imagination was captured by the NZ landscapes.

  Yes, I have always loved landscapes and after finally visiting the South Island of New Zealand, I just had to paint the incredible mountains and rivers that felt like being in another world.

ANA: I see you use oils, what was it about the medium you've chosen that attracted you?

Kellie: There’s no comparison to the smooth blending that can be achieved with oil paints. I love that you can glaze colours on top of others to create some really cool effects.

“Evening at Aoraki”
Oil on canvas  
600 x 600mm

ANA: Kellie, can you explain to us a bit about your chosen techniques and how you use them.

I change my techniques depending on what subject I’m painting, the size of the painting, and how long it might take to paint. I tend to do an imprimatur and underpainting first then when that’s dry I’ll do a “block-in” of the main colours all prima/wet-on-wet. Then continue to to add details until I’m happy with the overall result.

ANA: Can you share some insights into your process from conception to creation

Every painting starts with a small sketch to get my head around composition and mood. I chose the size the painting will be then draw or paint the outline of the subject. I’ll start with a simple “block-in” of colours wet-on-wet then add layers of details and glazing to bring the painting to life.

Step One

Step Two

These are the steps Kellie takes, through to completion.

ANA: Where does your inspiration come from mainly?

Kellie: Because I love painting landscapes and New Zealand is full of incredible
landscapes, most of my inspiration comes from the landscape around me. I’m also hugely inspired by lots of different types of art and artists, especially the Old Masters.

ANA: How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?

Kellie: Through reading lots of art books and watching lots of art videos, my
knowledge of colours and composition has definitely improved since I started a few years ago. 
I’m going to continue working on pieces that lean towards realism, but I’m planning on branching out and experimenting with some different subject matter and abstract - who knows how that will evolve! 
Not knowing is the most exciting part I think.

“Majestic Milford”
Oil on canvas 750 x 400mm

ANA: Give us an overview about a piece of your work that holds
particularly fond memories and why?

This piece might have to be the one that was asked to be in one of
Christchurch’s best galleries. I had it showing at an art show and the owner of
Bryce Gallery liked it enough to show at her gallery which was an absolute highlight of my art career so far.

ANA: Is there anything in particular that inspires you to create art?

The Old Masters’ works that hang in the galleries get me fired up to go home and paint every time I see them! It’s mind-blowing what some people could and can do with pigments and brushes.

ANA: What has been your favourite or most memorable art sale?

They’re all amazing! It’s always a great feeling knowing that someone enjoys looking at the time and effort you put into something enough that they are willing to give you their hard-earned cash for it to hang in their home.

ANA: Marketing your artwork: do you have any tips? Do you struggle with marketing and what areas could you use some guidance in?

I absolutely struggle with selling myself. 
If I could only paint and cut out the business/money side of it, I definitely would. 
A great tip I have learnt is to go out and show your art in public. It’s good to talk to random people about what they think of your art and to build the courage to sell yourself.

ANA: How has your arts business/career changed over the past 6 months or year?

Kellie: Last year I was working 5 days a week and painting on the weekends, now I’m working 3 days a week and painting every day if I can. 
Because of this extra time I have to paint I have pushed myself to try new things. I’m currently working on a self-portrait which is scary!

“Under the Crescent Moon”
Oil on canvas 550 x 450mm

ANA: Do you have any hobbies, sports or interests other than art?

Kellie: I love going outdoors and being active. My favourite thing to do besides painting is travelling.
I love being immersed in new surroundings and culture - it’s amazing inspiration for my painting. 
Lately it has been lots of travel around New Zealand - and I really can’t complain!

ANA: What plans and goals do you have for the future, both creatively and personal?

Kellie: My main goal is to be able to live off painting full-time. 
I’d love to set up a gallery with a few other artists and have my work in the public eye more often. I’m currently working on a YouTube channel that offers free painting tutorials and information so I’m planning on getting better at filming and editing videos.

ArterNet Art: What advice would you give to an aspiring new artist?

     Paint every day! The best teacher is practice!
The only way to get better is to show up everyday and give it your all.

“Farm commission” Oil on canvas
600 x 450mm

Well, Kellie, thanks so much for taking the time to talk and sharing your beautiful art 
with us today. We will follow you path with interest and we here at ArterNet Art wish you all the very best for the future

Find out more about Kellie here:

Follow her on Instagram:


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