KAWARTHA LAKES-After 30 years as a local teacher Kelly Whyte has returned to her first love-painting.
Whyte says after high school everyone just assumed she would go to art school. But she had different plans.
“I started off with five years of high school art and my parents fostered it when I was younger. ” Whyte told Kawartha 411 News. “I dabbled in it after high school but I never wanted my art to become my job, so I became a teacher.”
The plan was to teach for about 30 years and then return to art. She retired from teaching in 2020 and put her plan in motion.
“It feels pretty amazing. It puts a smile on my face, I wake up every day in the morning thinking what am I going to paint today?”
Whyte specializes in landscapes and a lot of her paintings are of local spots such as our fields and lakes in the Kawarthas and beyond. She recently pulled out some photos her dad took of Georgian Bay using them as reference photos for some of her paintings.
Then one day she decided to go out of her comfort zone and try painting flowers, specifically sunflowers. Whyte says she had never painted flowers before so she posted a photo of it online and the response was amazing. The painting is called Sunflowers For Ukraine. The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower and has become a symbol of resistance against the Russian invasion.
Whyte included the painting in a show at the Sheila Boyd Gallery in Bobcaygeon and decided to turn it into a fundraiser for the war-torn country.
“I had contacted Ruthann Wilson about the art room at Shelia Boyd Gallery to see if it would open this spring. I was the first one in there this year after two years of pandemic closures.”
Anyone who came to the opening could put their name into a draw to win the painting. Donations were accepted but not required. She raised $510 for the Red Cross Humanitarian Crisis Fund for Ukraine.
“It feels good, I feel like I am giving back and I try to always let people know I am a local artist. I have a lot of pride in my town and where I live.”
Whyte drew the winning ticket for the painting on Saturday. The winner was Carolyn Warren.
The show at the Shelia Boyd Gallery runs until April 29th. Whyte will be taking part in the Made in Kawartha Lakes show at Kawartha Settlers Village in Bobcaygeon on May 28 and 29.
“It’s a great time to come out and get some local art and meet local artists.”
For more information go to Originals By Kelly Whyte on Facebook or @originalsbykellywhyte on Instagram.