Nanoose Bay artist Kelly Corbett is an explorer of the outdoors and through her art she invites others to join her as she hikes, kayaks and snowshoes across B.C.
“I’m always outside adventuring and I see all these really beautiful, amazing scenes that I think, ‘Well, why isn’t everybody doing what I’m doing because this is just so amazing,’” she said. “So what I like to do is I capture the scenes with my camera and then I make paintings from them to share with the public.”
Her latest exhibition, Extent, comes to the Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach from Jan. 6 to Feb. 27. The exhibition features large landscape paintings mostly depicting places from across Vancouver Island and the show’s title alludes to the vast wilderness seen in her art.
One new work Corbett is unveiling is the result of an overnight backpacking trip on the Juan de Fuca Trail. It depicts a part of Payzant Creek that can only be found if one hikes “all the way out there.” Also represented in the exhibition is Corbett’s current geographical obsession, Ucluelet’s Florencia Bay.
“I love that beach so much,” she said. “It has all these huge boulders at the front of the beach with all these little streams that go off into the distance out into the ocean.”
Before moving to Nanoose Bay two years ago to become a full-time artist, Corbett spent 14 years working as as a wedding and portrait photographer. She brings a photographer’s eye to her paintings, as she considers factors like light and composition when taking her reference photographs.
Corbett brings her camera along on all her excursions and said her hiking companions are “very patient” to allow her to take pictures along the way. She said she’s accumulated “millions and millions” of photos.
“There’s tons of potential paintings in there so it is sometimes hard to pick out exactly which one is going to become a painting but I never run out of inspiration,” Corbett said. “I have a huge list of paintings I still need to create.”
WHAT’S ON … Kelly Corbett presents Extent at the Old School House Arts Centre, 122 Fern Rd. W., Qualicum Beach, from Jan. 6 to Feb. 27, 2021. Zoom opening reception on Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. Exhibition can be viewed online or in-person with an appointment.